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January 14, 2019

Afkar-e-Taza ThinkFest: Pakistan’s education system based on injustice: Shafqat


January 14, 2019

LAHORE: The government is trying to mobilise graduates across the country to improve literacy ratio from 58 per cent to 70 per cent and working to create national curriculum to remove the disparity in education system as the present education system is based on injustice.

Shafqat Mahmood Federal Minister for Education and National Heritage said this while opening the third edition of Information Technology University (ITU) Centre for Governance and Policy’s Afkar-e-Taza ThinkFest two-day conference here on Saturday.

The minister said, “Education provides frame of reference and perception while we practice different streams of educational institutes, including madrasas, government and private schools, which create different minds and classes, which never helped in the making of a nation.” Our society has decided that only English medium would go forward,” he added.

He stated that improving quality of education had been taken as a challenge by the government through broadening the pool and resolving serious economic issues. In his welcome message, read by ITU Registrar Zaheer Sarwar, ITU acting Vice-Chancellor Dr Niaz Ahmad Akhtar underlined the objectives of the conference initiated in 2016 and said that it provided creation of newer spaces and opportunities for flourishing new thoughts and ideas to bridge the gap between the academia and society, providing academic discourse in an accessible yet robust manner and to engage with leading scholars from around the world.

Discussing the topic of “Future of Democracy in Pakistan,” Aqil Shah from Oklahoma University, USA, said that democracy ensured freedom of expression. Hussain Nadim from Sydney discussed the Economists Democracy Index, which revealed that only 19 countries were considered democratic, 57 with flawed democracy, including US, 39 hybrid regimes and 52 authoritarian regimes.

Deliberating on the “Types of Populism Nationalism, Demography and Authoritarianism,” Dr Christophe Jaffrelot from Paris said that parliaments had lost their powers and the role of media was the only space for free media.

Najam Sethi, chairman of the organising committee of the conference, highlighted the areas of interest, including history, politics and international relations and said that Lahore was fertile with ideas.

Dr Yaqoob Khan Bangash appreciated the idea of organising such literature festivals. On Sunday, the second day of the ThinkFest, will have Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhary and Punjab Finance Minister Hashim Bakht.

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