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Education budget allocation two percent of GDP

'Enhance edu budget from 2 to 7 percent of GDP'
Islamabad, May 19: Pakistan Coalition for Education (PCE) on Tuesday demanded of the government to develop mechanisms and share their strategy to gradually increase the education allocation from two percent of GDP in 2009-2010 to seven percent by 2015. The demand was made in a convention on 'Rebounding Strong in 2010' here at a local hotel.

The convention was organized with the support of Open Society Institute (OSI), ASPBAE and ActionAid. Girls' education, adult literacy, education governance, public education budgeting, indigenous peoples' education, marginalization in education were some of the issues discussed.

Representatives of civil society on the occasion presented the Charter of Demands (CoD) for the government regarding the steps needed to improve educational standard in the country.

Members from across Pakistan, delegates from abroad, academics and education experts, representatives from government departments and different political parties participated in the consultative sessions leading to draft the Charter of Demands.

They recommended the government not to compromise with the IFI conditions that imply budget cuts on service sectors, especially on education. "Also the government shall develop strategies to gradually reduce foreign aid dependency in revenue budgeting, especially education," said the CoD.

It recommended that Pakistan Education Task Force should make its proceedings, plans, decisions public. Pakistan Education Task Force should also take civil society stakeholders on board in the decision-making process, it said.

It said the government should consider analyzing the gender based budgeting needs for enhancing girls' education and undertake awareness raising and sensitisation events to prevent girls' dropout.

"The government should introduce provision and space for community participation in girls' education. This particular issue needs to be redefined in terms of parents contributing in education of their girls as opposed to merely a provider or supporter of girls' education," it said.

The civil society also urged that government take immediate steps to address the disparity in spending on adult literacy and ensure balanced investment within education budget in line with the EFA goals. The spending should be proportionate and in accordance with international benchmark.

It said at least three percent of total education budget should be spent on adult literacy and education in accordance with the international benchmarks. In addition, spending on the adult literacy programmes should be $50 and $100 per learner per year for at least three years. A legislative framework needs to be developed by the government in wider consultation with civility society and adult literacy practitioner and managers.

It was recommended that to avoid future and ethnic conflicts, there is a need to address marginalization through curriculum reforms and through rights-based approach. "The government shall take measures to ensure that the curriculum is sensitive towards the contextual diversity (language, history, religion, sects, culture and climate) and therefore introduce localised curriculum while keeping a common standard as far as quality is concerned," it said.

The issue of indigenous/native education was also discussed and it was recommended that provisions are made at the policy level to adapt successful education models practiced in region and elsewhere in the world to initiate education for indigenous communities. Daily times

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Private sector in education
Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani's call to the private sector to invest in education to help boost literacy to 90 per cent by 2015 raises a number of questions. The message the government appears to be sending is that it cannot shoulder its responsibility in this vital sector any more. The fact is that the private sector has always played a role - and not always a positive one - in education since 1947. Since the 1980s the size of the private sector has grown with official encouragement, so much so that today it is said to be educating nearly one-third of those attending primary schools.

The problem in inviting the private sector to enhance its role is that it implies that the government is ready to give up its regulatory functions - inevitable if the private sector is allowed to squeeze out the government's presence in education. With more resources at its disposal than the private sector (the latter spends less than Rs500 monthly on a primary-school pupil compared to the Rs4,000 that the government spends), Mr Gilani should be looking into policy, school management and governance issues that lie at the root of the rot. Enhancing the private sector's share without improving the government's performance and tightening regulatory controls would lead to more profiteering by the upscale schools and further degrade the standard of low-fee private schools in under-developed areas.

It is time the government spruced up its own schools by improving monitoring, teachers' training, governance and the administration of schools, and by reforming the curricula, textbooks and the examination system. It is also time that corruption in the education department was checked with a firm hand to prevent the leakage of funds. This would help save money that could be used to give subsidies to low-fee schools that are already in great financial straits. Dawn

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IJT warns of march on US Embassy
Islamabad: Activists of Islami Jamiat Talaba (IJT) Tuesday held a protest demonstration against 'competition of blasphemous caricatures' organized by www.facebook.com, a social networking website, and warned to hold a march on US Embassy if it is not stopped.

Carrying banners and placards inscribed with slogans against the creator of this competition, dozen of activists of IJT from Federal Urdu University gathered on the road and protested.The protesters demanded of the government to ban functioning of this website in the country. Daily times

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Teachers launch campaign for demands
Peshawar, May 18: Teachers of government schools of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have called upon the government to implement recommendations of the Pay and Pension commission, announcement of their service structure by the provincial government and batch-wise appointments.

The teachers, under the banner of Tanzim-i-Asatiza, on Tuesday announced a series of protest programmes to put pressure on the government to accept their demands. On the first day, they set up a protest camp on the Sher Shah Suri Road, which was attended by teachers of different areas.

Speaking on the occasion, Tanzim-i-Asatiza president Khairullah Khawari and other teachers, including Shamshad Khan Jaghra, Abdul Latif, Mian Mohmmad Sajid, Sikandar Khan, Misbahul Islam, Sirj Mohammad Daudzai and Fazl Malik, said government employees had been hit hard by the increasing prices of daily-use items.

They said the protest camp was the last option left with them as the government was not paying attention to solving their problems. Another aim of the protest camp, they said, was taking the teachers community into confidence so that an effective strategy could be devised to press for acceptance of their demands. They said teachers would organise protest camps in all districts of the province and tribal agencies on May 20 and a demonstration would be held in the Government Higher Secondary School-1, Peshawar. Dawn

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Moot on HR management
Rawalpindi: University Institute of Management Sciences, Pir Mahar Ali Shah-Arid Agriculture University Tuesday organized a symposium on human resources management.

The seminar was addressed by speakers from different nationalities. They stressed the need to make a link between industry and academia.

The symposium was designed for students to learn from the experiences of senior executive human resource professionals. HR professionals including Taimur Aziz Bhatti, Imdadullah, Tariq Iqbal, Hammad Malik, Mehreen Rasheed and M Amir Qureshi spoke on the occasion. Daily times

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