Governments have badly stifled the growth of education
Islamabad, Oct 7: The deteriorating standard of education in Pakistan is cause enough to make any sensible countryman sweat with worry. The misplaced priorities of successive governments have badly stifled the growth of education. Admittedly, the present day edifice that includes both primary and higher education is in a shambles.
Although the Salam Teachers Day was celebrated around the country with much fanfare, the plight of the teachers' community beggars description. Except for a few elite centres of education in our urban areas, it would be safe to say that the professionals in the field, from schools to universities, represent mediocrity. The meagre amount of funds for the sector is one of the major causes of the decline. The best brains in the profession keep on fleeing abroad in pursuit of greener pastures. Consequently, those with bare minimum skills and knowledge are left to run the show.
Hardly do we seem to realize the fact that providing cheap education to all is one of the primary obligations of a state. In the developed world, education is the preserve of the state. In USA for example, education till the 12th grade is free. These nations indeed are aware of the role a sound education system can play in their overall development and progress. Our ruling elite on the contrary has put the issue on the backburner. While no Pakistani university is included in the 500 top universities of the world, a parallel system of education at home has greatly deepened class divisions.
The private sector, with skyrocketing fee structure and a seminary network, has stepped in to fill the void created by the state. Bothered by this dismal picture Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry has called for preventing the system from further chaos. He got it right when he touched on the issue of low salaries of teachers. It is no doubt heartening that the CJ has championed this cause. The executive, however, would have to think deep over its criminal neglect of a most basic duty.Your Comments
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Review on National Science & Technology Policy after 25 years
Islamabad: After a long period of 25 years, the Ministry of Science and Technology has woken up to review the National Science & Technology Policy 1984, which failed to achieve its objectives.
Unfortunately, the implementation of the policy and the National Technology Policy and Action Plan 1993 was hampered by financial constraints, so their enunciated objectives could not be fully achieved.
At present, Pakistan ranks low on the Human Development Index (HDI), ranking at 136 out of 177 countries, because of its poor social indicators. It also has a weak S & T image based on various S & T indicators such as the number of international research publications, number of researchers per million population, research and development expenditure as percentage of GDP, patents etc. Though the consultations from the stakeholders are in initial stage, the ministry has prepared a rough draft and set out some objectives for the promotion of science and technology in the country.
It has been learnt that special emphasis will be given to the close and productive interaction among academia, research and development institutions and industrial sector. Pakistan today has 84 major research organisations with over 239 laboratories, research centres and stations as well as 122 universities. In the new policy, the establishment of Advisory Council for Science and Technology with the Federal Minister for Science and Technology as its president has been recommended to provide independent advice to the government on science and technology programmes and policies for informed decision-making.
The draft underscore the need to set up Departments of Science and Technology in each province to serve as the focal points for coordination with the Federal government in the implementation of the policies and programmes approved by the National Commission for Science and Technology.
The adoption of a performance based service structure and pay scales for the organisations under the ministry have been recommended. The proposed system, which is designed along the lines of the Tenure Track System of the public sector universities, permits accelerated promotions based on performance rather than seniority-cum-fitness, upgradation of posts to avoid frustration of younger scientists due to lack of promotions.
Emphasising the scientific and technical education at the school level, the policy says a programme should be started by the Ministry of Education together with the provincial education departments for providing adequately equipped science laboratories in every high school.
And for the activity it has been suggested that the budget of Pakistan Science Foundation for supplying laboratory equipment to schools in rural areas needs to be increased. The nation
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SHRDC for enhanced spending on demand-driven education
Islamabad: Pakistan was taking great interest in strengthening, designing, financing, monitoring and evaluating vocational educational and skill development system to provide trained workforce to local and foreign industries in an era of modern technology.
Speaking at the concluding session of a two-day workshop on "Assessing the Needs for Vocational Education and Skill Development," organised by Saarc Human Resource Development Centre in Islamabad on Tuesday, the Chairman of National Vocational and Technical Education Commission (Navtec) Adnan A. Khawaja said that vocational education and skill development should play crucial role in improving the existing prosperity level in South Asia.
In the entire South Asian region, the governments were the main providers of vocational education and skill development both at school level and also outside the school system.
The private sector should significantly enhance its role in vocational education and skill development, he stressed.
Mr Khawaja said that although the Saarc states achieved considerable economic growth rate in the last few decades but still a lot needs to be done for poverty reduction in the region.
Speaking on the major challenges the States face, the Navtec Chairman said that the key economic challenges for the majority of the South Asian countries include high unemployment rate, large informal sector, high population growth, low comparative remittances and low human indicators. Hence, concerted efforts are needed to develop knowledge and skill through technical and vocational education and training (TVET), he remarked.
Similarly, the Navtec Chairman was of the opinion, that TVET challenges faced by Saarc region include supply-oriented rather than demand-driven TVET, unskilled and informally skilled workforce, ineffective industry training linkages, out-dated skills standards, inadequate participation of private sector, shortage of financial resources, defective national qualifications framework, review and updating existing TVET laws and regulations. Dawn
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Expo on environment attracted students
Islamabad: The international expo on environment titled "The Earth's Future in Our Hands" attracted large crowds of students, as more than 2,000 students from different public and private sectors schools and colleges of the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad visited the exhibition during the last two days.
Pakistan Science Foundation (PSF), Ministry of Science and Technology in collaboration with Federal Directorate of Education, Embassy of France in Islamabad and Scientific, Technical, Industrial and Cultural Centre, France organised the expo at Islamabad Model College for Girls, F-7/4. The exhibition will continue in Islamabad till October 16.
The expo is a part of PSF science promotion activities and celebration of National Year of Environment 2009. It is aimed at raising students' awareness of the urgency to act if we are to save our earth for our future generations. It offers solutions to problems as proposed by the scientists.
The exhibition is structured around three major themes including Living with Our Environment, Tomorrow's Consumption and Production and Responsible Sharing of Resources, said PSF Chairman Dr Syed Azhar Hasan in a statement.
The exhibition, which has already traveled to a number of countries in Europe, Africa, Asia and Latin America, will also be held in Abbottabad, Sukkur and Multan, said Dr Hasan.
He said "The Earth's Future on Our Hands" not only targeted children and youth between 12 to 20 years age group but also their parents and teachers.
PSF has designated alternate days for the boys and girl schools so that the students could make maximum use of this opportunity in a peaceful and secure atmosphere.
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Lecture on 'Gender Equality' held at FJWU
Rawalpindi: A lecture on gender equality was arranged by Fatima Jinnah Women University (FJWU) Rawalpindi at its premises on Tuesday.
Rizwana Waraich, senior gender coordinator at Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority (ERRA), was the guest speaker on the occasion. Farzana Akhtar, FJWU assistant registrar, conducted the proceedings.
Waraich briefed the audiences about the gender equality initiatives taken by ERRA in the earthquake-affected areas. She said a gender policy was developed for women, men, girls, and boys in the wake of October 2005 earthquake.
She said a number of projects, based on the issues, trends and needs of different population groups with special focus on women and girls, had been started leading to improved living conditions and equitable social and economic opportunities for affected populations.
Different strategies and follow-up actions, required to address the issues emerging at different levels, had been adopted in order to increase ERRA's effectiveness in addressing gender dimensions in the context of reconstruction and rehabilitation, she said.
A university souvenir was presented to the speaker as a token of appreciation by Dr Rukhsana Hasan, incharge of Department of Gender Studies at FJWU, at the closing of the programme. Daily times
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