National education policy 2009 at a glance

Handsome rise in budgetary allocation for impoverished education sector
Islamabad, Sep 16: During the past few decades, several education policies launched with lofty objectives have met with failure that has made the common man quite cyical. The unmistakable impression is that these failures are mainly due to the government's lack of commitment. We hope and pray that this will not be repeated and the new policy will not end in fiasco.

A positive sign in the new policy is that it promises a handsome rise by 2015 in the budgetary allocation for the impoverished education sector to seven percent of the GDP. In case the target is achieved, it will be a befitting occasion to celebrate, as in the past even allocation of four percent did not materialise. However, unfortunately, the PPP government in the past was not able to deliver on this pledge.

Keeping in view the existing norms of governance, one is not sure if extraordinary commitment and honesty of purpose, which are exclusive arbiters of success, would be forthcoming. For instance, would madrassas be drawn into the mainstream? And the plan to induct qualified teaching staff at the school level will meet with success? With the meagre pay that is offered to the new inductees, it is unimaginable if talented persons would offer their services. The issue of teacher-training institutions would also warrant serious attention. Presently, it appears that these institutions are not in a position to produce trained teachers in required number and of required standard.

It will not be amiss to mention here that the new policy has instituted a forum of federal and provincial education ministers to remove the stumbling blocks to implementation. However, as things stand, this forum will, at best, tackle big issues of policy, finance and administration. And for the system of day-to-day running, it is the traditional institution of inspectorate, which alone will be able to deliver effectively. We feel that the new policy should have given the inspectorate due role to let schools function smoothly. However, all told, much will depend on how best the new education policy is executed. On the face of it, it presents a rosy picture as it promises free education up to Matric, substantial increase in education budget, enhancing enrolment, upgrading qualifications of primary and secondary teachers and overhauling the examination system, etc.

While the policy has generally been hailed, some educationists, who were part of the reform process, are not pleased, as a number of their suggestions have not been included. It appears the policymakers decided to adopt the political approach. They worked out the draft in a way that would satisfy government functionaries rather than professionals. The policy should, therefore, be revised. It has correctly identified most of the ills that beset this sector - inaccessibility, disparity, quality and so on. but has failed to find the right solution. Political expediency seems to have gained an upper hand.

Upgrading primary schools to middle level and transplanting classes XI and XII from colleges to high school is a bold and innovative step but it will entail a lot of spending. Yet, it is difficult to ignore the 'status quo' in the four provinces. Conditions in rural Sindh are extremely deplorable, while the cities have schools which will have to be built afresh. Punjab is comparatively in a better position but most schools are in a state of disrepair. The less said the better about Balochistan. It is yet to enter the education age. In NWFP, it appears the current turmoil has affected adversely.

Viewing things from another angle, its biggest flaw is the low priority to girls' education at the primary stage. Female literacy in Pakistan is shocking. The country will not reap incalculable dividends of 'civilisation', so long as half of its population remains deprived of educational facilities. -Ghulam Sarwar E-mail:

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PILPA chief targets experts for faulty education policy
Islamabad: President Islamabad Lecturers and Professors Association Professor Qasim Khan Masood has said that education policy has been prepared by the clerks but it is being claimed that the policy was drafted by the experts.

In an interview Qasim Khan Masood said that teachers and their representatives were not consulted about the new education policy and the policy makers were not aware of the problems of education sector.

"I do not know what will be a future of the policy if it is prepared without the consultations of the teachers," he said.

He said that Farah Hamid case will be recognised as shameful history of Education. "If the judges become dishonest, then what will they deliver to the nation," he asked.

He said that in Farah Doger case the real criminals were absolved but and lower level employees had been charged as criminals. He said that rich people don't want to send their children to government schools and send their children to upper level private schools. "What will be the future of government schools in such a situation," he questioned.

About the low standard of the education, he said that officers and judges are appointed after a thorough check but the teachers are appointed at recommendations. He called for a proper system to appoint a teacher.

He suggested formation of an Education Commission Services for the appointments of teachers like other institutions. He also called for 10 per cent increase in educational budget.

He also proposed 100 percent increase in the allowances of teachers, saying it will enable teachers to work honestly because the current package of teachers is very low and teachers are not satisfied with the package.

To a question about the up-gradation of schools, he said that it is a good step by the Federal Government and it will solve students' problems. The nation

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Orientation session held at FJWU
Rawalpindi: The Fatima Jinnah Women University (FJWU) held an orientation session for its newly admitted students (session 2009-13) here on Tuesday.

FJWU Registrar Maryam Rab, welcoming the new students on behalf of Vice Chancellor Professor Dr. Saeeda Asadullah Khan, said that only a few women in the country make it to higher education and the new students are among those lucky ones. She advised the newcomers to take the opportunity to use their maximum potential and achieve academic excellence.

Professor Dr. Naheed Zia Khan, dean of the Faculty of Law, Commerce and Management & Administrative Sciences, briefed the newly-enrolled students on the university's environment and its activities.

Deputy Director Admissions Nighat Reza informed the newcomers about different scholarships available for students.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Shamim Zaidi, chairperson of the Department of Communication Sciences, told the students about the university's radio station - Voice of Women (FM 96.6 MHz) - and asked them to discover their hidden talent by participating in its different programmes. Later, the newly-inducted students were given a round of the university. The news

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