Punjab govt blamed for low literacy
Representatives of public sector teachers’ associations criticizing the Punjab government, held it responsible for worsening state of education sector and low literacy. They also termed campaigns such as universal primary education (UPE) and universal secondary education (USE) mere public speaking in the absence of proper facilities and shortage of teachers at public schools.
The teachers and other educationists were speaking at a planned dialogue “Role of teachers’ unions in promoting right to education - Article 25-A” organized by Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi (ITA), Institute for Professional Learning (IPL) and United Nations Educational Science and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) at a local hotel here on Monday.
The legislative body of different teachers’ associations Allah Bakhsh Qaisar and Rana Atta Muhammad talked about missing facilities and additional non-academic duties assigned to schoolteachers and termed the same as contributing factors behind increasing drop-out rate. Talking about UPE and USE, Allah Bakhsh Qaisar said it was not teachers’ accountability to visit door-to-door to bring children to schools in order to increase enrollment. He suggested the government should establish a separate department for this purpose if it was sincere to bring children to schools.
He condemned Punjab government for taking action against teachers for students’ poor performance in Class-5 and Class-8 uniform examinations saying paradoxically the failed students were being promoted to next grades by the Punjab Examination Commission (PEC). Rana Atta said his association was representation full support to the government in the UPE and USE campaigns but lack of communications and missing facilities were biggest hurdles in retaining the students. He had spoken concern over lack of teachers and other facilities at public schools.
UNESCO’S director Dr KK Nagata appreciated Punjab government’s efforts for the promotion of literacy and education saying it was the only province in Pakistan having a better budgeted literacy department. She also talked about quality issues and learning outcome. UNESCO director termed literacy as basic requirement for survival in today’s world saying the countries winning today were winning not because of natural resources but because of human resource.
In the meantime, addressing a function held in connection with International Literacy Day 2013 Secretary Literacy and Non-Formal Basic Education Punjab Dr Pervez Ahmad Khan said that Rs 589 million Punjab Workplace Literacy Project has been approved in 10 districts of Punjab. He said non-formal occupational middle schools with the cooperation of Allama Iqbal Open University will be established in four districts this year.
Dr Pervez said Punjab government has launched a mega project named Punjab Accelerated Functional Literacy Project worth Rs 2,300 million. Punjab Education Minister Rana Mashhood was the chief guest on the occasion. Rana Mashhood said the successful holding of All Parties Conference (APC) has proved that the decisions regarding how to get rid of violence would be made in Pakistan and no foreign power would be allowed to decide the destiny of Pakistan now.
The PML-Q Punjab leaders, on the occasion of World Literacy Day, presented a information sheet about the performance of Punjab government in education sector and expressed anger, saying that due to unsuccessful experiments of the PML-N government, the goal of 100 percent literacy rate in Punjab could not be achieved by 2025 which was set for 2018.
According to a press release issued on Monday, the factsheet was presented by former Punjab Education Minister Mian Imran Masaud, Amir Sultan Cheema and Dr Muhammad Afzal. They termed the stint of Ch Pervaiz Elahi as a Punjab Chief Minister a golden period as far as promotion of education was concerned. They claimed that due to effective policies of Ch Pervaiz Elahi, literacy rate in Punjab went up from 47 to 62 percent.
According to the PML-Q legislators, around 40 percent of schools are without basic facilities in the province but the government, they said, on the other hand was spending billions of rupees on Daanish Schools.