Allocation of public expenditure on education
Big jump in allocation of public expenditure on education
Islamabad, Oct 5: The education policy announced recently envisages a big jump in the
allocation of public expenditure on education from the current level of
two per cent of the GDP to seven per cent over the next five years.
Many well-meaning commentators, political leaders and external agencies
also believe that the problem of education deficiency in Pakistan can
be attributed to the lack of funding. However memories are short and we
have forgotten that a multi-donor, multi-million dollar project - the
Social Action Programme in the 1990s - was a failure. It did not
increase enrolment rates or achieve any other goal; in fact, it left
the government with a higher debt.
We should avoid making the
same mistake again and putting the economy in further jeopardy. The
total expenditure on education by all tiers of government would jump by
almost 50 per cent in one year if we raise it by one per cent of the
GDP only. As much as Rs400bn would become available for spending in one
year. Unless we pay attention to the serious governance problems facing
our education sector we will end up with more ghost schools, ghost
teachers, greater absenteeism, misuse of grants to private schools,
inflated building contracts and other leakages and waste.
availability of funds for education from donors is also not a
constraint as almost all external donors are vying with each other to
finance education projects. The duplication, overlap and competition
among the suppliers of funds would add to the already poor state of
governance in our schools, colleges, universities and educational
Does this mean that we should not pursue the
target of higher allocation for education? No, but there are some
prerequisite governance reforms that have to be undertaken before the
allocation is stepped up. The National Commission for Government
Reforms had carried out a two-year study, field visits and
consultations with stakeholders and produced practical recommendations
for improving the quality of governance in the education sector. There
are at least 10 critical reforms that have to be put in place.
First, there is a clear need for delineating responsibility for the
provision of education among the three tiers of government. The federal
government should deal with curriculum and higher education financing,
standards and regulations. The provincial governments should be
responsible for college education and technical and vocational training
while the district governments should take charge of primary, secondary
and high schools.
Second, to bring about coordination, ensure
uniformity in the standards of public, private and non-profit schools,
a district education board should be established in each district. The
board must consist of eminent persons enjoying a good reputation and
the district education officer act as the secretary of the board and
implement the decisions taken by it. The detailed terms of reference of
the board have been developed.
Third, like the Sindh and NWFP
governments, there should be separation between management and teaching
cadres in other provinces and the federal government. While the
selection to the management cadre would be open to teachers with the
requisite aptitude, all teachers could progress in their teaching
careers to higher grades without becoming headmaster, principal or
Fourth, teachers' cadres should be
de-linked from national pay scales. Educational levels in backward
districts will not improve unless the compensation package is aligned
with local market conditions. If, for example, a science teacher in
Musakhel has to be paid Rs15,000 per month to attract her to work in
this backward district, she should be given that package.
contrast if qualified science teachers in Karachi or Lahore are
available at a salary of Rs12,000 per month, they should be paid that
amount. Otherwise the present distortions - teachers appointed in
backward districts are transferred to big cities because of political
influence - will continue to persist.
Fifth, all teachers
should be appointed from among the candidates domiciled in a district
through a test conducted by the Public Service Commission on merit
alone. These posts should be non-transferable. Other posts for which
suitable candidates are not available locally can be filled from
outside the district. The powers of recruitment, transfer, promotion
and disciplinary action must reside with the district education board.
Sixth, the school management committees (SMCs) and/or parent-teacher
associations (PTAs) should be empowered to effectively oversee the
internal management of a school, i.e. keeping the school infrastructure
in good shape, ensuring teachers attend school and managing other
problems. Budgetary resources would have to be given to the SMCs but
they would be accountable to the district education board for results.
The head-teachers/principals would be given appropriate administrative
authority to carry out the day-to-day operations of the school. They
would also be given powers to initiate action against recalcitrant
Seventh, the district education board should be
allocated funds annually for carrying out the approved infrastructure
projects, operations and maintenance and training of teachers in all
schools. The training would be delivered by the provincial governments,
who would also test the competency of the teachers and the learning
achievements of the students on an annual basis. Funds allocated to the
district boards must be audited regularly.
from low-income families should be given the option of going to private
schools provided these schools meet prescribed eligibility criteria.
These schools must be given per capita grants for the students from
low-income families. The activities of the education foundations in the
provinces should be expanded and supported to find other suitable means
of fostering public-private partnerships.
decentralised and empowered education network can function efficiently
only if it is monitored continuously. A management information system
(MIS) should help the district boards in monitoring the performance of
the schools. For example, if a primary school is producing a constant
stream of pupils for enrolment in higher classes, the upgrade to
elementary school could take place immediately.
talented students from poor families and backward districts who secure
admissions to private schools, professional colleges, business
administration institutes and institutions of higher learning should be
awarded scholarships for pursuing their studies. Eligibility criteria
must be announced beforehand and advertisements placed inviting
applications for scholarships.
These reforms would take some
time to take root and must be initiated before the spigot of money
for education is opened.
The writer was the chairman of the National Commission for Government Reforms. Dawn
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Government working on many policies to improve teacher quality
Islamabad: Federal Minister for Education Mir Hazar Khan Bijarani said the
government is working on a number of policy actions to improve teacher
quality and raise their social and economic status.
this during an exclusive talk with APP in connection with World
Teachers' Day, falling on October 5 (Monday). The minister said the
standard of education could only be raised if teachers are given their
due role in society.
The new education policy envisages concrete
steps to raise the morale of teachers, he said adding that the measures
include upgrading teacher salaries, creation of a separate teaching
cadre, teachers' professional development, and a reward system based on
The government is acutely aware that reforms are
required in all areas including pre-service training and the
standardisation of qualifications of teachers, teacher remuneration,
and governance and management of the teaching workforce. The minister
repeatedly stressed the need for elevating the status of teachers,
calling teaching a 'profession of prophets'.
government took an important step by making permanent the ad hoc
teachers in the schools and colleges of the federal territory, he
informed. The new policy contains measures, which if fully implemented
will go a long way in strengthening the role of teachers as an
important pillar of the educational system. Bijarani urged teachers to
fulfil their professional responsibilities and build up their image as
reformers of society.
Going through the policy, one notices that
it focuses on teacher training arrangements, accreditation and
certification procedures, which will be standardised and
The policy states that teacher education
curriculum will be adjusted to the needs of the school curriculum and
scheme of studies. The curriculum will include training for
student-centred teaching and cross-curricular competencies. A separate
cadre of specialised teacher trainers will be developed.
governments will take steps to ensure that teacher recruitment,
professional development, promotions and postings are based on merit
alone. All teachers will have opportunities for professional
development through a programme organised on a three-year cyclic basis.
Progress in career will be linked to such professional development.
service teachers training in mathematics will be given due attention to
develop conceptual understanding, procedural knowledge, problem solving
and practical reasoning skills, while in service teachers training in
science will be based on real life situations, use of science kits and
their provision to all primary and middle schools.
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American Studies conference concluded at QAU
Islamabad: The three-day 12th International American Studies Conference themed
'Media in America; American in the Media', organised by the Area Study
Centre (ASC) for Africa, North & South America at Quaid-i-Azam
University (QAU), concluded at Islamabad Club.
Qamber, director of the host centre and a former staffer of 'The
Muslim', a defunct newspaper, while addressing the closing session,
talked of her experience in the daily and recalled a letter published
in the paper and the tremendous response of the public.
said that her PhD supervisor had warned her that her thesis should not
appear journalistic. Dr Rukhsana called for feedback from the audience
to improve future American Studies conferences.
Dr Ghulam Taqi
Bangash of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science &
Technology said a CIA report stated that the daily 'The Muslim' gave a
'feel of fresh air' in the atmosphere of Islamabad, as it was a time
when many newspapers of today had not been launched.
Dr Hans Frey, who
chaired the last session, thanked the audience for their contribution.
on the first day of the conference on Friday, Director ASC for China
& Central Asia, University of Peshawar Dr Sarfaraz Khan read his
paper titled 'Good Versus Evil: Argument to Begin Global War on
Terror', while the title of a joint paper of Zainab Moin and Masooma
Batool from Fatima Jinnah Women's University (FJWU) was 'Responsibility
of Electronic Media During War: a Study of CNN', and that of Dr Safer
Awan from International Islamic University, Islamabad (IIUI), was 'War
of Words: Images of the Muslims Since 9/11 in American Media'.
the second day session, Roudaba Shuja of Humak College for Women,
Rawalpindi, spoke on 'Emergence of American Literatures' and Dr
Iftikhar Shafi of Karachi University read his paper on 'The Violence of
Literary Media(tion): Refracting Sufi Thought Through Literary
Criticism'. Shahid Waseem of US Embassy talked on 'Blogs &
Facebook: Transforming Global Media Culture from Americanisation to
Localisation', while Farima Mughal, an analyst, discussed 'Media in
America'. Dr Mansur Kundi of Balochistan University read his paper on
'US Veto Patterns & the Media', Dr Starr Ackley of University of
Bahrain presented her paper on 'Media Mixed Messages in DeLillo's
Libra', and Akbar Sajid of Bahauddin Zakaria University talked on
'Critical Othering: Muslims/Muslim Women in American Newspapers'.
Junaid Ahmad's paper was on an interesting topic of 'The Islam Industry
in America', while Dr Ghulam Taqi Bangash of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali
Bhutto Institute of Science & Technology spoke on 'America in the
Iranian Media: Iran in the American Media', and Dr Laura Mascarella of
University Vic, Catalonia, Spain, read her paper on 'America in the
The heads of Cuban, Mexican, Chilean and
Argentinean embassies also spoke on the occasion. The discussants
included Editor Daily 'The News' Muhammad Mallick, Dr Rubina Kamran, Dr
Lubna Abid, Dr M Islam, Director Centre for Media Studies, Maryland
University, USA Dr Susan Moeller, and Suhail Khan of Ministry of
Inaugurated by Federal Education Minister Mir
Hazar Khan Bijarani at the auditorium of Pakistan National Council of
the Arts on Friday, the second day sessions were held at the auditorium
of Earth Sciences Department of QAU while the closing session took
place at Islamabad Club. The reason behind this constant shifting of
venues was perhaps security and monetary considerations, as US Embassy
officials were also in attendance at the inaugural session.
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Tribute paid to Dr Faheem
Islamabad: Late Dr Faheem Hussain was a scholar, a scientist and a revolutionary
at the same time, said Dr AH Nayyar, former professor of physics at
He was speaking at a reference
organised in memory of Dr Faheem Hussain, who died on Tuesday last at
the Italian coastal city of Trieste at the age of 67. The reference was
organised at Fafen's office here on Saturday.
Dr Nayyar said
that in a video conferencing, despite knowing that cancer is at the
last stages, Faheem was rational, humorous and hopeful. The incurable
disease had penetrated deep in his bones but he was not worried and
bravely faced the fate by remaining rationalist till his last breath,
Prof Nayyar said his friendship with Faheem started in
1968 when Faheem joined QAU in mid-60s. Hippism was at the top at that
time and it was impossible for Faheem not to emulate it. He said that
the Vice-Chancellor seeing him shouted who is that hippy, shunt him out
and was told that he was a professor.
Dr Nayyar said that
anti-imperialism was his cardinal principle. Palestine was another of
his focal point. He also opposed US intervention in Iraq. Faheem used
to support any power which opposed USA. Women activist Tahira Abdullah
said that he was forceful supporter of women rights movement and his
first wife Jane was one of its founder members. She said that her first
meeting with Faheem was in a session of Women's Action Forum. He
remained loyal to the rights of women till his last breath, she
Dr Khalid Rasheed from Mathematics Department said
that Faheem used to play very good cricket, held study groups and
discussion sessions. He said that Faheem once in a discussion in 1979
preferred philosophy to physics.
Prof Ashfaq Saleem Mirza said
that a great army of students was crated by universities though no
revolution could be brought about by this. He said that Faheem's one
point agenda was anti-imperialism. Hajera Pervaiz Hoodbhoy said that
she was flabbergasted by his lecture at her college where he came in
his technical colour dress. He was hard-working and loving personality,
adding that he was fond of music and hiking.
and media consultant, Tax Ombudsman Office, Mahmood Hamdani said that
Faheem worked selflessly in PLF. One could see him in every demo with
his wife and son without making speeches. This developed romanticism in
labour leaders for him. One always felt happiness by meeting him as if
we knew each others for centuries, said Mr Hamdani. He said that when
during Zia period, a 'jagirdar' opposed his efforts to set up
dispensary and school in a Bhakkar area, Faheem with Riffat Baba came
there for his rescue.
Sarwar Bari who conducted the proceedings
said that his last meeting with Faheem was in front of KFC at Super
Market when he was in the forefront to stop all US-franchised food
outlets in a country when US was about to invade Iraq. He said that
Faheem and his friends wiped out the differentiation between social and
He said that Majeedabad (QAU huts) was
another gathering point of all progressives in the QAU and Dr Faheem,
his colleagues and students opposed all CDA efforts to demolish these
'khokas'. He said that all the persons who spearheaded the movement for
the restoration of independent judiciary were those and their disciples
who stood against military dictatorship from Ayub to Zia.
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Elders want forces to vacate school, hospital
Miranshah: The elders of Dattakhel tribe in North Waziristan have
demanded of the government to vacate a school and hospital, which had
been in use of security forces for the last three years.
to reporters on Sunday, the elders including Muhammad Noor, Walibat
Khan, Mir Jamal, Dawa Khan, Fazal Janan and Mushtaq Wazir said the
people had to visit private clinics for treatment, as the building of
the basic health unit was in use of security forces.
forces must vacate the Government High School and the building of basic
health unit (BHU) to save the people from problems," Muhammad Noor
said. The elders also demanded of NWFP Governor Owais Ahmed Ghani and
the corps commander to take notice of the issue and order the forces to
vacate the school and BHU buildings. The news
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