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New curriculum to be introduced | Free education state obligation

Ahsan says new curriculum to be introduced next year
Islamabad, April 30, 2008: The coalition government will introduce a new curriculum next year to make it attuned to global challenges by focusing more on character building and at the same time imparting world class skills in different disciplines.

"The new curriculum should conform to the requirements of the new knowledge revolution era and should be benched mark against curriculum of other leading nations," Education Minister Ahsan Iqbal said while presiding over a meeting of all the provincial textbook boards here on Tuesday .

The meeting was called to review the progress in development of textbooks under the new curriculum.

Mr Iqbal, however, made a vague description of what the new curriculum should be and what was wrong with the existing one.

The plans to revise the curriculum becomes all the more significant as changes in it are always considered to be a major decision, as they affect the future generation of the country.

During the meeting, the participants were asked to give their expert opinion within three weeks on the draft of the education policy prepared by the Shaukat Aziz government.

Such opinion will be reflected in the coming education policy, which will also be placed before the parliament for debate before its implementation.

The education ministry was also asked to hand over a draft of the new curricula to the heads of the institutes of teachers training for their expert opinion.

Mr Iqbal also directed the heads of educational institutions to start leadership programme for the teachers, and the teachers prior to their appointment as head teachers must be sent for mandatory leadership programme of at least six months duration.

The development of the textbooks and the new curriculum are scheduled to be introduced in 2008, but due to the delay, it is expected to be implemented next year.

The minister asked the participants to create a network of researchers so as to benefit from the developments in letter and spirit.

While presiding over a separate meeting attended by the heads of the departments of institutes of education research of almost all the major universities, the minister said special emphasis should be laid on teachers' education as the standard of education was directly linked to quality teachers.

He announced that a two-day national conference on the teacher's education would soon be arranged that would aim at making teacher's education more productive and fruitful. The training institutes of teachers must impart best possible training to the teachers, he said, and called upon collaborated work among the teachers training institutes.

All the teacher training institutes should be linked together and must share their research with each other, he emphasised, and asked concerned persons to make a central platform of teachers training institutes so that the work done in one institute was also benefited by others.

"We do not need new education policies," the minister said, adding that "rather we need concrete action plans for building strong foundations of the education sector in Pakistan." Dawn

'Free education is obligation of state'
Islamabad: Education experts and civil society representatives on Tuesday emphasised that provision of free and quality education to people was the state's responsibility and no excuse was acceptable in this respect.

The emphasis was made during a seminar on "Quality Education for All: End Exclusion Now" by Pakistan Coalition for Education (PEC) at a local hotel.

Shehnaz Wazir Ali MNA said during the seminar that poor planning and lack of effective mechanism were the major reasons behind low literacy rate. She said absence of proper planning and effective implementation of policies, which were a basic ingredient to upgrade any infrastructure, also caused improper utilisation of funds.

She demanded funding up to four percent of the GDP for education and emphasised that proper use of the money should be monitored.

Ali said that there must be public private partnership and the government should devise a strategy to subsidise private educational institutions, operating in the areas where the government-run institutions had failed for deliver.

She objected to the discussions in the ruling circles to abolish private education system on the pretext that it's creating class difference. She said the government should decide per child education budget and the private sector should be patronised in the far-flung areas of the country to enhance literacy rate.

Dr AH Nayyar, an educationist, said the private sector had become a burden for the parents of students as it was comparatively providing education against high fee.

Citing a World Bank report, he said that the private sector was undoubtedly providing quality education but people in the country like Pakistan couldn't afford to send their children to private schools.

He said the government would have to improve quality of education and patronise private institutions, as 40 per cent students were enrolled in private schools. He said the government would be unable to accommodate the students getting education in the private sector if it collapsed.

Nayyar said poor standards of education at the government institutions compelled people to send their children to private schools.

Arshad Saeed Khan of UNESCO said that Pakistan should ratify UNESCO Convention, 1960, 95 other countries of the world. He said the convention declared education everyone's fundamental right. He said the convention helped people approach against a state if it denied them free and quality education. He said over 30 per cent children didn't go to schools and they were deprived of their fundamental right.

Baela Raza Jamil said that poor economic conditions of parents forced them to send their children to do labour instead of sending them to schools. She said inadequate number of educational institutions was another reason, which were discouraging people as far as education was concerned. She demanded an end to political interference in the government educational institutions. Daily Times

Locals, land mafia eat up 200 acres QAU land
Islamabad: Land mafia and locals have grabbed about 200 acres of Quaid-e-Azam University (QAU) land as the university administration is unable to erect boundary wall to save its land and provide security to students and staff, an official of QAU said on Tuesday.

He said Capital Development Authority (CDA) had allotted 1,710 acres of land to the university in 1965 against a heavy amount, which was paid to it at that time.

No boundary wall: He said QAU administration had made many requests to the district administration and CDA to demarcate the land allotted to the university so that it could erect boundary wall but none of the concerned authorities paid attention to the issue.

The official said delay in demarcation helped the locals and land mafia to encroach 200 acres of university land in its northeast side.

He said in the absence of any boundary wall miscreants were taking advantage of the situation and they had become a threat to students, especially living in hostels. The official said incidents of mobile phone snatching at the campus were on the rise with every passing day. About 1,200 male and 600 female students living in seven hostels of the university are feeling insecure, he said.

"Thick forest around the university has become a safe heaven for criminals to disappear after committing crimes," he added. He said the boarders had been confined to the walls of hostels, as the university administration had asked them not to move outside after sunset to avoid any untoward incident.

The official said an outsider misbehaved with a female faculty member in the daylight in the recent months and such incidents could recur if boundary walls were not constructed. He said due to security reasons students could not benefit from university library in the evening as the administration recently had reduced its timings. Now the library is open to students from 10am to 7pm, he said, adding, earlier students were able to use it for research purposes till late evening.

Sources said persistent delay in demarcation of land had posed a serious threat to QAU land, students and faculty members, as the university administration was not able to construct boundary wall to ensure security.

He said besides land mafia and locals, the government run organisations were also prowling to grab QAU land. The official said a security agency in a letter in 2000 had asked the university administration to cover the required area and leave rest of it for her. The sources said the then QAU vice chancellor smelling the rat, established departments of Pakistan Studies, Physics and American Studies to discourage those eying on the university land. Daily Times
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