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‘There’s a need for reforms within education system and in policies’

By Our Correspondent
February 04, 2019

While discussing Pakistan’s education emergency and out-of-school children, panelists at a session of the Adab Festival Pakistan on Sunday stressed that there a need for reforms within the education system as well as in the policies for education.

The panelists, including renowned singer and social worker Shehzad Roy, academician Faisal Mushtaq and Oxford University Press Pakistan former managing director Ameena Saiyid, opined that the current education system lacks quality, while tangible measures are required to uplift the entire system. Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi (ITA) Director Programs Baela Raza Jamil moderated the session.

The panelists discussed how the concerned authorities and civil society should address the challenges of access to education, equity, quality, and governance. They said that on one hand we have the successful launch of the government-financed Education Management Organizations (EMOs) in Sindh through the public-private partnership mode, seeking the support of non-state actors to manage new and old government schools and teacher-training facilities. But, on the other, there has been rising judicial activism to protect families from private-sector school fee increase.

They shed light on the efforts of the private sector in ensuring quality education, teaching methods, recruitment process, infrastructure, and school management. They also raised the question of whether there was a trend towards the expansion of private-public partnerships or shrinking space for the private sector in Pakistan.

During the session, Ameena Saiyid said that children in schools are not learning well. “We have to encourage children to study themselves by providing them supplementary readings. The examination system promoting rote learning should be discouraged,” she said.

Singer Shehzad Roy said that governance and mismanagement are the major issues at state-run schools and that the children who are out of school won’t be able to go to schools because there is no infrastructure, fixture and required facilities. “Until the concerned departments address such core problems, we can’t achieve the goals in education.”

Faisal Mushtaq was of the view that Pakistan needs a separate ministry for out-of-school children as there are 22.6 million such children in the country, as per government statistics. Accessible education is more important, he said, adding that it was our national responsibility to educate these children.