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December 5, 2019

Call for a national response to educational challenges


December 5, 2019

Islamabad :December 4, 2019: The people’s representatives and experts brought together by the National Conference on Education here on Wednesday called for a collective, effective response to the country’s educational issues and challenges for desired outcomes.

The event was organised by the Institute of Social and Policy Sciences, a national public policy research organisation.

Minister for Federal Education and Professional Training Shafqat Mehmood said a national response was required for the issues and challenges existing and emerging in the education sector of Pakistan.

“There is a dire need for a national educational discourse to address the challenges at national and provincial levels,” he said.

The minister said the federal government was trying its level best to create a synergy between provincial and federal education.

“We are ready and keen to address educational challenges and will soon announce a universal curriculum for primary education,” he said.

The minister said efforts were under way to bring the seminary students to the mainstream educational system.

He said the role of the federal government was essential in bringing betterment to the educational system.

The minister said his ministry along with its provincial counterparts would do its best to implement the findings and recommendations from this conference.

National Assembly deputy speaker Qasim Suri discussed the poor educational indicators and magnitude of the challenge and called for a well-coordinated response to the challenge.

He asked the federal government to act as a coordinating vector for charting a course for addressing the education needs.

Mr Suri appreciated the government for making education a priority in its reform agenda.

Chairman of the National Assembly Standing Committee on Law and Convener of the Parliamentary Task Force on SDGs Riaz Fatyana appreciated I-SAPS for organising the national conference on educational issues.

He regretted that Pakistan was lagging behind other nations in achieving the SDG-4 targets, and called for collective efforts to address the issue.

Riaz Fatyana said efforts of the current government, particularly for education reforms, were laudable as they would improve educational indicators.

Parliamentary Secretary for Planning Development, Reforms and Special Initiatives and Convener for the National Caucus on Financing SDGs Kanwal Shauzab while appreciating the organisers outlined the government efforts for achieving SDG-4 targets.

She said the government had introduced exceptional reforms in the education sector, which would lead to substantial improvement in the education sector.

Earlier, expert Ahmad Ali laid out the objective of the conference.

He said the conference while deliberating on the diverse contours of the educational challenge would focus on generating a national response to educational challenges in Pakistan.

“This event is meant to initiate debate and explore the ways and means for synergizing federal-provincial interface for effectively meeting the obligations under Article 25-A of the Constitution and SDG-4,” he said.

I-SAPS Executive Director Dr. Salman Humayun said a national response to the educational challenge should be an aggregate of federal and provincial responses.

“The desired response needs to address the challenge of developing the minimum common educational standards, improving data structures, collecting regular data on international commitments, assessing student learning, and coordinating among the federating units,” he said.

Punjab education minister Murad Raas called for setting curriculum in line with international standards, holding teacher training programmes and putting a robust examination system in place to improve the educational system in the country.

“There is a need to create a consensus on a unified educational framework between the centre and provinces,” he said.

The minister said the Punjab school education department had been equipped with information technology for bringing about an equitable educational system.

He said the department would be fully digitised in making decisions related to education by 2020.

Among other speakers were Nargis Sultana of FOSI - Pakistan, Mohammad Ali Ibrahim of Jazz Pakistan, Javed Ahmed Malik of DRI, Pakistan, and Ambreen Arif of the Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training. A large number of education experts, foreign dignitaries, and academics attended the event.