Monday October 18, 2021

‘Pandemic has threatened education system’

April 04, 2021

Islamabad: The education system and educational institutions are under serious threat after the outbreak of COVID-19, so there’s a need to review their relevant policies and rebuild the role of academic institutions and teachers to be better equipped in the new virtual world, improved learning process through innovative capacity building programmes and leadership development mechanisms.

This was the crux of the thoughts shared by experts in a webinar on ‘Role of institutions and teachers in shaping youth’ jointly organised by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) and Iqra University, Islamabad.

Vice-Chancellor of the AIOU Islamabad Prof Ziaul Qayyum, while covering various dynamics of the topic, said that the point to ponder for us should be why we are unable to produce global citizens that may have a complete comprehension of the world they lived in.

He said after the COVID-19 scenario, a holistic view was needed to analyse that what could be done beyond the teachers training as alternate to face to face teaching was not available in every aspect of learning.

Dr Nadia Tahir, former managing director (QAA) at the Higher Education Commission, said the standard of education in Pakistan was far below the par even before the arrival of COVID-19.

“We are spending less than 2% of GDP on education which is quite reflective of our priorities. Therefore, we need to change our priorities and the access to quality education must be ensured.

“Our youth is aware, but we are not imparting them informed education,” she said.

Dr Nadia said the quality of higher education in the country was dismal.

Dr Fatima Dar, director at the Centre for Teaching Excellence and Learning Innovation, Iqra University, said the education sector had been affected globally due to pandemic, so global cooperation should be enhanced to respond to emerging challenges, especially the challenges that are resulted by COVID-19.

Dr Shafqat Munir, director of the SDPI Resilient Development Programme, said education was no more a development issue and instead, it had become a humanitarian issue as well.

He said educational institutions had a critical role to play in developing new concept and shaping up youth in line with the new world that had emerged after the pandemic.

Quail, partridge poaching foiled: The Islamabad Wildlife Management Board (IWMB) raided an open field in sector G-16 and confiscated devices and material that were being used for illegal poaching of quails and partridges.

According to the details, the poachers were engaged in illegally hunting quails and partridges using nets and other material in the area.

The timely intervention of the staff workers of IWMB foiled their attempt and also highlighted the efforts currently being made to prevent illegal hunting of bird species in the capital city. There are also reports that some local landlords have set up game reserves in the vicinity of the Margalla Hills on their own land where they hunt birds like quails and partridges for fun.

But the conservationists are of the view that any kind of hunting without permission is illegal irrespective of it whether it is done on privately owned land.

The IWMB is not only preventing the hunting of birds but is also making efforts to stop their selling in different areas. It has also rescued two juveniles of Indian Kite from the Chak Shahzad area, where these were put on sale at a poultry shop.

There is a need to conduct a fresh survey about the population of quails and partridges especially in those areas where local people poach and hunt bird species. Naveed Ahmad, a young conservationist, said fresh survey would certainly reveal shocking figures about the population of birds so in my opinion, there should be a complete ban on hunting the birds for next few years.

The IWMB officials have asked the people that if they see any kind of poaching, hunting or sale of birds then they should inform them so that they can take immediate action and stop this illegal activity.