Education reforms | HEC Research network
July 31: With the present government having first stayed embroiled in dealing with the judicial
crisis and later with fighting the threats of the Taliban, the
mainstream development reforms have largely been ignored. The education
sector, which is critical for any brining any meaningful change, is yet
to receive any attention. The donor aid commitments to the education
sector in Pakistan have increased from as little as $14.51 million in
1999 to $316 million in 2007. However, it is difficult to see any
significant change on the ground. Pakistani children whose parents
cannot afford schools remain faced with the dual challenge of
inaccessibility of schools as well as poor quality of education.
is a myth that Pakistani parents from conservative families are not
keen to send their girls to school. However, in a recent round of field
visits to schools in many areas, it was interesting though also
saddening to see the high levels of unmet demand for education for
girls even in apparently conservative communities. One does not have to
go as far as the tribal belt or the Cholistan desert, even in such
central places as outskirts of Sheikhupura there were communities where
the mothers were desperately requesting the government agencies to
extend the existing primary government school to secondary level as
otherwise the girls had no option for further education, but there was
no positive response. Some of the families had gone to the extent of
hiring a teacher to teach the girls who have completed primary in a
room in one of the houses. However, as the mothers very convincingly
argued, this arrangement did not guarantee the girls a reliable access
to middle or secondary level education nor did it provide the girls the
grooming that comes by being part of a formal education system.
communities were actively lobbying the relevant government authorities
to secure the upgrading of their schools. They also had the support of
a prominent NGO. However, the support had not arrived to date. This was
not just one case but even in limited fieldwork one is repeatedly
confronted in Pakistan with a desperate demand on the part of the poor
and low-middle income communities to educate their children but the
state is failing to respond to it. The schools either do not exist or
the quality of education being imparted is so poor that the children
hardly learn anything meaningful in schools. The government in general,
as noted by an official in Punjab, has even adopted a policy to not to
establish new schools. It is only considering requests for upgrading a
selected number of primary and middle schools each year. For a country,
with a two percent population growth rate, this means that the already
inadequate number of state schools is expected to cater to this rapidly
expanding population. This means that the situation in future will be
even dire than now.
The expectations of some major donors and
the government of Pakistan that the private sector schools will be the
answer to the educational needs of the poor have already proven
exaggerated. Many poor and low-middle income communities might be
desperate to get education for their children but most of them don't
have the financial resources to send their children to private schools,
even if they have low fees. The challenge of education provision for
all cannot be brushed aside by setting unrealistic hopes from the
private sector. The state has to feel its responsibility to provide
education for all. And the public should make the state accountable.
The large inflows of aid to education sector since September 11 have
clearly not trickled down to the Pakistani schools.
same time, the government needs to seriously think about improving the
quality of its existing schools. The main challenge within the school
is good quality of teachers. However, the problem is not purely of
technical nature. True, the teacher training institutes need support to
train better teachers. However, the main challenge to improving quality
of education in state schools is the political appointments and
transfers of teachers. This problem is not linked to lack of resources;
it has all to do with the political commitment of the government. Why
cannot a government, if it is committed to education reforms, put in
place mechanisms that ensure merit-based rather than political basis of
appointment of teachers and head teachers? A lot can be done to reform
the education sector only if the state showed the political will.
Resources are for sure not the primary problem.
By Dr Masooda BanoThe writer is a research fellow at the Oxford University. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org (The News)
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HEC research network facility
Chairperson of the Higher Education Commission (HEC), Shahnaz Wazir Ali, has said
that so far 42 universities have been extended facility of the Pakistan
Education Research Network (PERN), adding that it will be launched in
76 universities of the country.
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'Education of 1m children threatened'
Islamabad: The United Nations warned on Thursday that one
million children could have their education interrupted in parts of
Pakistan, where conflict with the Taliban has damaged or turned schools
into civilian shelters.
Around 600,000 out of an estimated 2.2 million people displaced by
fighting between troops and the Taliban across the northwest have
returned home, a UN spokeswoman told a news conference.
is encouraging that some 600,000 people have returned but we are still
looking at a very large number who have not," said Stephanie Bunker.
Schools used as a temporary refuge for the displaced are scheduled to
reopen for the new academic year on Sept 1, but getting all children
back into education "poses a massive challenge," the UN warned.
"According to official sources, 187 schools are destroyed, 318 schools
are partially damaged – 313 of them for girls," said a UN statement. Afp
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FJWU students showcase theses and dissertations
Rawalpindi: The students of Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA), Fine Arts Department (FAD), Fatima Jinnah Women
University (FJWU), showcased their works here on Wednesday on FJWU
The works comprised theses and dissertations of the BFA final semester students as a part of their degree requirement.
FJWU Vice Chancellor (VC) Prof Dr Saeeda Asadullah Khan inaugurated the exhibition at the FAD.
80 art pieces related to photography, textile and graphic designing
were put on display. All the participating students who exhibited their
works will be graduating this year.
In the discipline of
photography, the works featured striking depictions of ancient
architecture of Taxila, in which the students captured historical sites
through their lenses.
The work done in the field of textile
designing was very unique and it attracted the viewers' attention. The
young artists showed colourful and fascinating designs ranging from
beautiful printed dresses to matching footwear. The students also
designed cushions, bed sheets, rugs, wall hangings, shawls, dresses,
shoes and curtains.
In the field of computer graphics, some
students created very appealing and attention-grabbing paintings, mugs
and calendars with different moral lessons for children. Daily Times
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Malakand students to get full security: PM
Islamabad: Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said on Thursday
that students would be provided security after the reopening of their
educational institutions in Malakand division.
"The government has taken strict measures to counter militancy in the
country," the prime minister told reporters after attending an award
distribution ceremony at the PM Secretariat for students who secured
top positions in the Federal Board of Intermediate and Secondary
He criticised the so-called ban
imposed by militants on girls' education in Malakand and said that
Islam had given equal rights of education to men and women. "There is a
need to improve the country's image and education can be of great help
in this regard."He said the government had decided to root out
militancy from the affected areas before establishing a cantonment
there. Police force would be strengthened and new recruits would be
provided life insurance.
In reply to a question about heavy
fee structure of private educational institutions, Mr Gilani said the
issue would be addressed in the new education policy.
the Ministry of Education had received proposals from the provinces and
these would be incorporated into the draft education policy.
He said that private sector was playing a vital role in providing
quality education and the government was encouraging it because it
could not handle the growing requirement on its own.
at the function, the prime minister described illiteracy as the root
cause of terrorism and extremism and said the government was focussing
on improving the quality of education. Dawn
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