SDGs and Education
Last week, the UN celebrated one year of adopting the Sustainable Development Goals. Marking the occasion, the National Commission for Human Development (NCHD) held a seminar during which the chairperson expressed concerns regarding the 57million people of Pakistan who are still illiterate. The Dawn newspaper started a review of Pakistan’s progress on various goals of the SDGs and last week, Baela Raza Jamil wrote on the Right to Education. You can also read our blog on the latest Global Monitoring Report of Education for All, here.
Last week the Federal Government Teacher’s Association spoke up against the government’s plans to involve teachers in the anti-polio drive. They felt taking teachers out of school is unfair and would impact the quality of education in schools. Then on Friday, the KPK department of education issued charge sheets to 52 female school teachers for not attending to their duties on the polio vaccination campaign.
In other news, nearly 3,500 teachers from 48 branches of a school in KPK went on strike on Tuesday to protest the non-payment of salaries and lack of regularization.
Issues in education quality
An official audit of the federal government’s Basic Education Community Schools (BECS) programme revealed that nearly 800million PKR was illegally distributed for this project.
In efforts to regulate universities, the Higher Education Commission (HEC) shut down 57 programmes at various universities in the last 18 months because they were not abiding my minimum quality standards.
Low security levels remain a concern with schools across Pakistan; 80 schools in Sindh were declared has ‘highly sensitive’. Many schools in Punjab opened up for the fall semester without abiding by security regulation kept in place by the National Action Plan (NAP).
Protests were held last week in Bajaur Agency and in Karak where community members protested the lack of educational institutions. While in Upper Dir, schools wrecked by the 2006 earthquake are yet to be re-built and students are made to study within unsafe school buildings. Youth in Waziristan also made requests for the provision of basic educational facilities in their district.
A report by Alif Ailaan regarding missing amenities in schools showed that 48% of schools in Pakistan lack functioning toilets. In Punjab, primary school students and their principal and teachers also held a protest with banners reading, “we are forced to drink unclean water."
Involving Education Stakeholders
Last week, seminars were held to engage communities and parents in playing a role in education and for promoting better quality in the sector. At an event hosted by Alif Ailaan in KPK, the education minster spoke of the government’s efforts to empower parent-teacher councils to improve education standards. A National Convention of Parents was also held last week which focused on the role that the public can play to help Pakistan achieve the SDG education targets.
The 13th Time Higher Education World University rankings were launched last week in which no Pakistani universities were placed among the world’s top 500. Comsats (CIIT) was ranked as the top university in Pakistan and only a total of 7 made in to the top 980 universities.