Pakistan education United States funds
US to spend $200mn on education in Pakistan
Washington, Jan 18: The United States plans to spend $200 million this year to
revamp Pakistan's deteriorating public education system as it fears that the
present system has become a major barrier to the efforts to defeat militancy, a
major US newspaper reported on Sunday.
American policy planners
believe that the curriculum in some Pakistani schools glorifies violence in the
name of religion and ignores basic history, science and mathematics, The
Washington Post observed.
The $200 million education programme is the US
Agency for International Development's largest worldwide, the Post said.
The idea is to improve the capacity of the country's fledgling
civilian-led administration, and to promote trust between the US and Pakistan,
the report said.
The money comes from the Kerry-Lugar aid bill, which
was passed in late 2009 and promises Pakistan $7.5 billion in civilian
assistance over the next five years.
The funds are intended to signal a
substantial shift from earlier years, when US assistance to Pakistan was
overwhelmingly focussed on helping the military, which is battling the Taliban
and Al Qaeda in the NWFP.
The Post pointed out that while western
officials tended to blame madressahs for their role as feeders to militant
groups, Pakistani education experts believed the root of the problem was the
public schools in a nation in which half of adults could not sign their own
The United States is hoping an infusion of cash – under the
Kerry-Lugar aid package -- will begin to change that, and in the process alter
the widespread perception that Washington's only interest in Pakistan is in
bolstering its military.
The Post, however, warned that any effort to
improve the system faced the reality of intense institutional pressure to keep
the schools exactly the way they were.The report quotes education experts as
saying that for different reasons, the most powerful forces in Pakistan,
including the army, the religious establishment and the feudal landlords who
dominate civilian politics, have worked against improving an education system
that for decades has been in marked decline.
The report claimed that the
nature of the education system was reflected in popular attitudes toward the
Taliban, Al Qaeda and other Muslim extremist groups that in recent months had
carried out dozens of suicide bombings in Pakistan, many of them targeting
Although the groups in many cases have publicly asserted
responsibility for the attacks, a large percentage of the population refuses to
believe that Muslims could be responsible for such horrific crimes, choosing to
believe that India, Israel or the United States is behind the violence.
The Post also noted that while madressahs multiplied in Pakistan as
public education deteriorated. But madressahs still educate only about 1.5
million students a year, compared with more than 20 million in public schools.
The newspaper recommended that "if Pakistan is to improve its dismal
literacy rate and provide marketable skills to more of the estimated 90 million
Pakistanis under the age of 18, it will have to start in the public schools".
Under the proposed $200 million programme, the US is suggesting a
combination of reforms, including infrastructure improvements, teacher training
and updates to the curriculum. Unlike in past years, the money will not be
filtered through non-governmental organisations and contractors but will be
given directly to Pakistan's government.
"Pakistan's current spending on
education -- less than 3 per cent of its budget -- is anaemic, and far lower on
a relative basis than in India or even Bangladesh. Much of it never reaches
students," the Post observed.
The report pointed out that Pakistan's
public education system included thousands of "ghost schools", which existed on
paper only and yet received state funding.
Those schools that do operate
lack basic facilities -- a 2006 government study found that more than half do
not have electricity and 40 per cent have no bathrooms. About a third of
students drop out by the fifth grade. Teachers, meanwhile, earn as little as $50
a month, less in many cases than that of a domestic servant. The low pay
mirrored teachers' perceived value in Pakistani society, the report added.
Pervez Hoodbhoy, a noted nuclear physicist at Islamabad's Quaid-i-Azam
University and a long time proponent of education reform, told the Post that
Pakistan needed something more fundamental.
"I don't think it's a matter
of money. The more you throw at the system, the faster it leaks out," he said.
"There has to be a desire to improve. The US can't create that desire. When
Pakistanis feel they need a different kind of education system, that's when it
will improve." Dawn
"i m student of bsc computer science"
Name: Rahman ud din
City, Country: pakistan
"I feel that prior to planning for education the govt. needs to have an efficient communication system and appropriate health facilities in the rural sector which comprises of 70%of our population,Then only will people be tempted to go and deliver the educational goods there."
City, Country: islamabad
"I am from lahore and i have a project to be selected in lahore for the mentally retarded children in shape prof the shelter home and vocational training centre.I decided to work on the project because I have personally seen the centre for speciall children, there educational system is just for the children b/w 6-18 years. Above this age limit no one (Mentally retarded) children are trained for the vocational training. I appeal to u to consider my application on immediate basis because of the critical condition faced by the children above 18, not being trained properly."
City, Country: Lahore, Pakistan
"i am running a private school,i need funds to overcome financial problems.its useless to fund at government level becouse officials just waist this money.if you want to utilize your funds please donate.Thanks"
City, Country: sheikhupura
"I am educatioist and writer and have a great passion to work for deserving kids here in pakistan. if you help me in this regard it would be gtreat blessing for little sweet kids"
City, Country:lahore, pakistan
Post your comments
World level student assessment by year 2015
Islamabad: Ministry of Education envisages offering Pakistani students for
international level academic assessments by 2015, making them participate in
mathematics and science assessments, conducted under the umbrella of Trends in
International Mathematics & Science Study (TIMSS).
TIMSS is one of
the assessment systems and acts as a quality measure that caters to a number of
requirements of the education system. The assessment of students can be used to
measure the overall system efficiency as well as individual students'
performance for movement in the education system.
Officials in the
Education Ministry say that the recent work of the National Education Assessment
System and Punjab Examination Commission will be continued and furthered in
reforming the system across the country.
To encourage analytical thinking
in the assessment mechanism, student performance will be based on assessing
competence in a specialised area that requires a given skill set. There will be
periodic reviews of the assessment system, officials said.
comprehensive assessment design would provide feedback for improvements at all
tiers, starting from changes in the classroom to improvements in the national
The current assessment system has several deficiencies, which is
a hurdle in promoting quality education. One of the bad outcomes is the practice
of rote learning, which stops the mental growth of the child and blocks
innovative learning. Concerted efforts are needed to inculcate critical and
analytical thinking skills for producing lifelong independent
The new education policy sets the target to make the education
system internationally competitive. According to the policy, multiple assessment
tools in addition to traditional examinations will be explored to ensure the
right balance between the uses of formative assessment approaches combined with
the summative approach of high-stakes examinations.
will be developed to reduce the differences in quality across regions.
Assessment processes will be standardised and made uniform across the boards
over time, so that students appearing in examinations under different boards are
assessed against standardised benchmarks.
Post your comments
Preparing for exams without electricity
Islamabad: The capital residents, especially students preparing for
examinations, complain of unscheduled suspension of electric supply over the
last one week.
Most of such complaints come in from E-11, F-10, F-11, G-10, G-7,
G-6 and G-11. Lalarukh Farooq, a local university's student said on
Sunday that electric supply remained suspended for long hours without schedule
badly affecting her studies. She said load shedding inconvenienced much the
students whose examinations were imminent.
She also criticised Power Minister
Pervaiz Ashraf for setting one deadline after another for end to load shedding.
Some students complained they had to wait for long hours for having prints of
documents at Photostat shops due to unscheduled suspension of electric supply.
Kamran, who owns a Photostat shop in G-6, said he had three copying machines but
was unable to deliver orders on time due to hours long load shedding. He
confirmed frequent power cuts had really stressed out students preparing for
He also complained of bad business during this 'season of
examinations' and feared things would deteriorate if smooth electric supply
continued any longer. An F-10 shopkeeper made a similar complaint. He said his
business was running into losses due to load shedding for long hours. Women
earning livelihood by stitching clothes on electric sewing machines are also
badly hit by load shedding.
One such woman, Mehak, said frequent power outages
had made her work quite cumbersome. When contacted, Mohsin Gilani, a senior
IESCO official, said the electric supply company had been strictly following the
load shedding schedule. He claimed cold weather and fog prompted unscheduled
load shedding, especially during nighttime.
He said electric supply to the
city's each sector was suspended for five to six hours a day. "The load shedding
duration will decrease by the end of January," the official claimed.
Post your comments
NUML 2nd convocation
Islamabad: The National University of Modern Languages (NUML) students are upset
over long delay in the holding of the university's second
The convocation was originally scheduled for September last
year but delayed on security grounds.
Later, the university management
announced to hold the event in November but was again put off for an indefinite
period citing delicate law and order situation in the city.
management says the event will be held soon after security situation in the city
Students, who are to be awarded degrees in the convocation, say
the university has charged Rs 2,000 each from them. They demand early holding of
the convocation or refund of the fees charged from them. Daily times
Post your comments
Cultural exchange programmes
Islamabad: The Pakistan-India cultural exchange programmes would have a
positive impact on the education sector of the country while the campaign 'Aman
ki Asha' could play a significant role in promoting these
Vice Chancellor Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU) Professor Qasim
Jan said this while giving an exclusive interview. According to
him, peaceful relations between Pakistan and India would encourage collaboration
in the education sector and help to learn from the experiences of the Indians,
as they are far ahead than us in this field.
"The Indian government
realised the importance of education long ago and emphasised on science and
technology, which our government ignored. Our students can learn a lot from them
if scholarships are granted from Indian universities," he said.
the strained relationship between the two countries culminated in nothing but
three wars, which each time increased the defence budget for arms building,
hence, the social sectors were ever ignored. "A peaceful relationship means more
allocation for social sectors including education, which is inevitable for the
country's progress," he asserted.
Qasim maintained that at the time of
partition, Pakistan only had two major universities - Punjab University and
Sindh University - while now, there are more than 130 universities across the
country, but it is really not enough if we compare it to the level of
development in India's education sector.
"There are three main factors
due to which India managed to exceed in the field of education - Indian
resources, continuity of governance and stable policies - and our country is
lagging behind in all three," he said adding that it is time to learn from the
positive experiences of our neighbouring country, especially in the education
He said the overemphasis on education has lead India to gain
excellence in science and technology, which helped in the development of their
industrial sector. "Using their expertise in science and technology, Indians are
minting money despite the fact that they have nothing worthy to export," he
Qasim said there are two major issues that are the main reasons
behind the conflict between both the countries - 'Kashmir issue' and 'water
issue'. "The need is to draw consensus in such a way that people of either
country do not feel left out. There has to be give and take in order to resolve
the issues on a permanent basis," he added.
He said no other country
could influence or facilitate the peace process between Pakistan and India, so
they should not rely on any one except for bilateral dialogue. "The population
of the subcontinent comprises 20 per cent of the world population and if they
get united and collaborate in various field, it will result in a win-win
situation," he said.
Qasim said that peaceful relations could have a very
fruitful impact over the economy of both the countries, as they don't have to
pay extra money to import goods from far off places. Similarly, they could
benefit from each other's experiences in research, agriculture and industry.
"It is indeed commendable that 'Jang Group' and 'Times of India' has
taken the initiative, which is truly a depiction of people's aspirations," he
said and added that this thrilling initiative has stirred the people of both the
nations, who want bilateral peace.
"There should be continuity in the process
and the need is to raise the amount of discussion and debate over the issue in
order to make the decision makers realise the importance of peaceful relations
for the progress and stability of both the countries," he said.
Post your comments
Grants for special schools
Rawalpindi: Principal Hassan Academy for Special Children Dr Ahmad Hassan
has appealed to the government to patronise the educational institutions for
physically and hearing impaired children, being run by the private sector, and
allocate special grants for them.
Talking to teachers and parents at a
monthly meeting of Hassan Academy of Special Children, he said the financial
assistance from the government would help these institutions to educate the
special children in a better way.
He said the physically and hearing
impaired children at his institution are being imparted education in a conducive
and friendly environment.
Dr Ahmed Hassan said as many as 200 special
children are getting education along with normal children at his academy, which
is demonstrating best performance within very limited sources. The news
Post your comments