No changes in school syllabi | Corporal punishment
No changes made in school syllabi this year
Islamabad, May 01, 2008: Children of Pakistan will be studying the same old and stale
books during the next academic year beginning from September this year because
Punjab Textbook Board has not been able to revise and improve the syllabi due to
what it calls 'procedural delays'.
The federal government had directed
that syllabi of Class I, Class VI, Class IX and Class XI needs to be changed
from the new academic year. In a recent meeting presided over by the Federal
Minister for Education, a decision was taken to let children of all provinces
study the same syllabi and it asked relevant textbook boards, including the PTB,
to prepare new syllabi, which should be more comprehensive and all encompassing,
so that children study the subjects from a national perspective and gain wider
horizon of knowledge.
Prof Khalid Ali Bhatti, Director, Humanities,
Punjab Textbook Board told APP that the process of adding new chapters and
topics required a lengthy process and it would not be able to complete it on
time for the new classes. Students and teachers of schools and colleges have
been anxiously waiting for the new syllabi in order to plan their next academic
calendar but now the board says there will be no changes in syllabi and the same
books should be taught during the next year.
He said a decision has been
taken by the 'higher authorities' in this regard. About another perennial
problem of shortage of a number of text books in the market, Prof Bhatti says
that the board is already in the process of allocating the bulk of the printing
work to different publishers and hopes that the books short in the market will
be provided in time when the new session starts in September next.
Giving good news to parents, he disclosed that the publishing cost of
books has increased, though, the Board would charge the same old prices for the
new books and distribute them in the market at the previous rates.
However, the board is making more attractive titles of the books and
also improving the quality of binding. In all, the board publishes 178 books on
various topics of arts, sciences and vocational subjects from Prep Class to
Class XII during each academic year.
29,922 govt schools without electricity
Lahore: The provision of missing facilities in schools will be a
challenging task for the new government as there are still 29,922 government
schools without electricity, 19,304 without toilets, 33,632 with two or less
classrooms and 15,380 without boundary walls in different parts of the
According to the data collected, before the launch
of the Punjab Education Sector Reform Programme (PESRP) in 2003, out of over
60,000 schools, only 21,943 had electricity connections whereas the toilet
facility was available in 28,497 schools.
Some 33,312 schools have
boundary walls while the total number of classrooms in all government schools of
the Punjab was 213,502. An amount of Rs 22.8 billion was allocated for the first
phase of the PESRP (2004-06), with Rs 5 billion every year for the provision of
missing facilities in schools.
Sources said the World Bank (WB), under
the PESRP, had extended the budgetary support of around Rs 18 billion to the
Punjab government, through IDA credit, a soft loan.
Sources in the PESRP
said that during the previous government, owing to patchy selection of
schools for the provision of facilities, a sizable number of deserving schools
could not be included in the programme. They said as the selection of schools
for the provision of missing facilities was made by MPAs and MNAs of the ruling
party, therefore, opposition members had to face discrimination. They said the
first phase of the programme had completed while the second had started in 2007
and would end in 2009. According to a senior official associated with the PESRP,
an awareness campaign comprising advertisements and talk shows etc was also part
of the programme to highlight its achievements i.e free textbooks and Rs 200
stipend for girl students.
He, however, said the campaign had to be
stopped as the previous government used it for its political benefits. "An
amount of Rs 450 million was spent on the awareness campaign during the last
four years which, however, did not leave a positive impression on people," he
added. He said the name of the programme was the Punjab Education Sector Reform
Programme while "Parha Likha Punjab" was another programme run by the Literacy
However, when contacted, PESRP Director Ahmed Javed Qazi
said 9,339 schools had been provided with electricity under the programme during
the last four years, registering an increase of 16 percent. He said toilets were
built in 13,403 schools and boundary walls were constructed in 12,512
"Some 17,287 classrooms have been constructed in schools
during the last four years, but still a lot of work should be done," he added.
Mr Qazi said enrolment had increased in government schools because of the
provision of missing facilities, free textbooks, qualified teachers and Rs 200
stipend in 15 low literacy districts. "Infrastructural and HR requirements have
also gone up with the increase in enrolment," he added.
Talking about the
launch of the PESRP, he said an assessment had been made in 2003 for facilities
in public sector schools across the province. "It revealed that primary schools
and female institutions had been neglected in the past and they required
immediate attention," he added. Mr Qazi said there was no credible database
available with the government before 2003, while now a school census was made
every year, which threw up ground realities for future planning.
have a better environment because of the management information system (MIS),"
he said, adding, "Along with the MIS, decision support systems have also been
developed under the PESRP and decisions, such as transfer of college teachers,
have been greatly facilitated because of it."
Commenting on the
monitoring mechanism, he said the system, in fact, worked as "eyes and ears" of
the government. "Now the government has direct access to schools, even those
situated in remoter areas, because of district monitoring officers (DMOs) and
monitoring and evaluation assistants," he added. He said the PESRP had a
sector-wide approach. "It took education as a whole and improving the quality of
education was a priority concern under phase II. The quality depended largely on
good books, better classroom environment and good teachers, besides factors,
like improved governance and community involvement," he added.
Corporal punishment 'behind high school dropout rate'
Islamabad: Terming corporal punishment in schools and homes a 'culturally
accepted form of child abuse,' speakers at a consultation with media
representatives said it had resulted in high dropout rate from schools and an
ever-growing population of runaway children.
The event titled 'Media
Consultation on Child Rights and Protection Issues' was organised by the Society
for the Protection of the Rights of Child (Sparc) in collaboration with Royal
Norwegian Embassy and Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.
speakers said Pakistan had one of the highest school dropout rates in the world
that was 50 per cent, while there were about 70,000 street children nationwide.
"It also adds to the army of child labourers because if 25 million children are
out of school, they either work as labourers or become potential child labour,"
they pointed out.
They demanded repeal of Section 89 of the Pakistan
Penal Code that allows parents, teachers and guardians to punish their child and
urged the government to prepare a code of ethics for teachers.
school administration policy should have a monitoring component to check
corporal punishment and the government should have its own monitoring mechanism
for at least public schools," the speakers demanded.
In his introductory
remarks, Sparc Executive Director Qindeel Shujaat said that society had a
contradictory approach towards children. "On one hand a marriage fails to work
if there are no children but on the other we observe extreme cases of corporal
punishments by parents and teachers," he said.
He regretted that last
year saw a new development of child suicide bombers in the country. "This trend
of violence is also a product of what has been taught and the way it had been
taught to our children," he added. He said that the legal system failed to
provide protection to children against the menace mainly due to poor
Qindeel suggested that all children of age group from
5-7 years be enrolled in schools and those who were dropouts between the ages of
8 to 12, should be offered fast track non-formal courses and be maintained in
regular education. He demanded that children, who were illiterate and above 13
years of age, should be educated in basic literacy and vocational training.
He said that union councils should be asked to ensure that every child
in their locality attended school. "The international experience suggests that
realistic development of countries became possible when education was accessible
to all children," he said.
Highlighting the causes and consequences of
corporal punishment, Sparc National Manager Promotion Fazila Gulzar said that it
promotes the culture of power and blind obedience to authority. "The act is made
lawful through Section 89 of the Pakistan Penal Code which empowers parents,
teachers and other guardians to use corporal punishment as a means to discipline
and correct the behaviour of under-12 children," she said.
that parents and teachers consider it a justified way to train a child but most
of the time they took out their frustration on the child for the kids were in
vulnerable position and could not retaliate.
"In addition to physical
harm, the corporal punishment leaves deep psychological scars on innocent minds
of children which are demonstrated in the form of violence when they grow up,"
she pointed out.
Discussing alternative ways to discipline a child
without injuring his or her self-respect, dignity and values, Sparc School
Project Coordinator Humaira Butt said that the difficult but correct way was to
develop communication with the child and involve him or her in some
responsibilities. "Setting a good example is another tried and tested formula,"
A documentary on child labour in connection with the
International Labour Day was also screened on the occasion. Producer Sajjad Gul
also showed clippings of his upcoming programme on kids' court that focuses on
empowering children by educating them about their rights. The News