Education is one of the most underestimated and neglected department in Pakistan. The core reason is that leaders are not ready to pay the adequate attention. The dream of spending 4 % of GDP to education is still a nightmare. Current Government in the fiscal year 2015-16 designated 2.1 % of GDP to education. The other factor, which is the second cause for this degraded sector is; every Govt. tries to do experiment with his own style. Never ever in Pakistan history, this sector went into neutral hands with technical, fair and competent approach.
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Currently the literacy rate lies at 58 %. Nearly 0.6 million students are out of school. International organizations from last many years are threatening the Govt. with the consequences of such illiterate population in coming future. The Govt. tried at many occasion to address this issue but all in vain.
Now, the Minister of Planning, development and reforms Mr. Ahsan Iqbal has announced new educational campaign from 1st April. This new campaign will include all the provincial Governments and its mission is to enroll all the out of school children into school.
On Monday 7th March 2016, The Minister announced this plan in a news conference. The minister also reaffirms his Government’s vision to spend 4 % of GDP to education. He said that till 2018 gradually education spending will reach to 4 % of GDP. The minister told the journalists that framework will be prepared till 22 March and national enrollment drive will begin from 1st April. This time he added that campaign will not only held just by govt. itself but universities, higher education commission, civil society and media will also play their role.
The prime minister, Mr. Nawaz Sharif will hold the meeting regarding the successful launching and working of this campaign with all the chief ministers.
He also hints some framework strategies like students of Universities will go to rural areas to convince people, Nadra will provide all the necessary details. Non- formal schools for illiterate adults are also in agenda.
Mr. Ahsan Iqbal has recently come from USA where he held meeting with leading universities administrations and discuss the plans for cooperation of Pakistani and US universities.
Now there are few questions that should be answered before this new campaign.
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How the university students will go to rural areas of KPK and Baluchistan. The security problems in that areas are still not solved even just a by-road travel can cause a serious trouble. How will students access the parents? Will the parents of students allow them to go there?
Media has been included in the working plan. Media, let’s say plays its role by covering all education events and reporting importance. Mostly rural areas don’t have access to cable TV network? Will just some media news and reports will be enough to convince and beat regional customs?
Without proper and regular funding and fake teachers with ghost school, even if the students are enrolled, what’s the benefit? It will be just a paper work not human development.