International Literacy Day is marked on September 8th by the UNESCO. Various events were held, along with rallies taken out, to commemorate ILD, in Sindh and other parts of the country. During a rally, officers from the Sindh Education Foundation urged parents to send their children to schools.
In Islamabad, the NCHD held a walk to create awareness about the need for literacy and held a seminar to discuss upcoming projects for the promotion of literacy. At the seminar, the Federal Minister for Education and Professional Training spoke of plans of setting up 50 schools in Islamabad to make the capital 100% literate.
A seminar was also held at the Punjab University, where the university VC urged government to allocate at least 4% of the GDP to education spending. The Punjab Chief Minister also spoke of paying attention to literacy and education and has set an objective of reaching 100% school enrolment by the end of 2018.
The UN Global Education Monitor 2016 was released which shows that Pakistan is lagging behind the world by nearly 50 years in terms of meeting education goals. While the SDGs have set a target for all children to have access to free primary and secondary schooling by 2030, Pakistan still has 24million children out of school. According to the report, nearly a 1000 education related attacks took place in Pakistan between 2009 and 2012.
Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings for the year 2016-17 were also released last week, in which Pakistan failed to place any university with the world’s top 500 – only 6 made it to the top 800. NUST in Islamabad managed to be the top rated university in Pakistan, placing at number 501 in the world ranking, with Quaid-e-Azam following at the 651st place.
The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has decided to hold a census of out of school children in the upcoming year. The designed survey is expected to be carried across 3.5 million houses and has a budget of 227million rupees.
Students of the Government Postgraduate College in Khar, FATA, held a protest outside their schools because the federally funded scholarships had been suspended.
447 schools (347 boys’ and 130 girls’) have been shut down in Umerkot, Sindh. The reason being, that the staffs are yet to be provided with Sindh EMIS verification codes, along with other problems. This is causing trouble for nearly 13,000 students who were attending those schools. Also, for undisclosed reasons, 268 schools have closed in the Shikarpur district of Sindh, where already 55% of children were out of school.
In Islamabad, the hundreds of students who completed their Bachelors of Business Administration and Economics in 2014 from Quaid-e-Azam University have still not been issued their degrees.
The KP government spend a budget of 260million rupees to install smart boards in school classrooms in an effort to enhance students’ learning. However, 70 percent of the nearly 600 boards installed are not being used because teachers lack the technical skills or interest in the initiative.
The University of Peshawar has stopped degrees of afghan students who graduated from its’ affiliated institutions but do not own a Proof of Registration (PoR) card or passport.
Faisal Bari, a senior research fellow at IDEAS, published an article in the Dawn, titled “Picking up Where They Left Off.” The article spoke of the importance of providing students, who dropped out of schooling for some reason, opportunities to return to education.
The Express Tribune editorial section dwells on the UN Global Education Monitoring report of 2016 which was out last week.
Sehar Tariq, a policy analyst, wrote in the Dawn, expressing her thoughts on the Punjab government’s announcement of teaching female students about kitchen skills and raising poultry.
Ashraf Ali, who heads a research organisation, wrote about International Literacy Day in The News. He takes a look at the status of Pakistan’s neighbours and where we stand in meeting the MDG’s education targets.