Ministry of education renamed for fourth time in three years
For the fourth time in three years, the name of the education ministry has been changed after criticism from Sindh and senior legislators. The Council of Common Interest recently approved the renaming of the ministry after discussions in a committee formed to address issues emerging in the aftermath of the passage of the 18th Amendment and subsequent devolution of the education ministry, among others. On November 25, 2011, the Supreme Court maintained that under Article 25-A of the Constitution, the federal government could not absolve itself of the responsibility to provide education. On November 8, 2012 a committee was set up to ‘Rename the ministry of professional and technical training as ministry of education and trainings’. Finance Minister Ishaq Dar headed the committee and reached a consensus in March this year over a new name — Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training. The issue surfaced in 2012, when a meeting of the Council of Common Interests (CCI) saw stiff resistance from the provinces, especially the Sindh government. The federal government at the time promised to change the name of newly-created education ministry.
Uncertainty looms over future of 1,000 teachers
The principals of educational institutions in the capital city are unable to finalise timetables for the next academic session as the future of over 1,000 teachers hangs in the balance after a decision of the Islamabad High Court (IHC). On May 29, Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui of the IHC while hearing a petition ruled that the employees whose services were regularised by a committee during the pervious government had no legal standing as they were appointed without following the rules. After the court decision, rumours spread that the teachers were being sacked. Moreover, in some colleges, salaries could not be paid to the teachers. An Islamabad Model College for Girls (IMCG) principal requesting not to be identified said as per routine, timetables for the new classes were finalised about a month before the summer vacations and handed over to the teachers concerned.
PTU president sent on compulsory retirement
THE Punjab government has imposed major plenty of compulsory retirement against president of the Punjab Teachers Union (PTU) raising concerns among the schoolteachers across the province. PTU president Syed Sajjad Akbar Kazmi was proceeded under the Punjab Employees Efficiency, Discipline and Accountability (PEEDA) Act 2006. Sajjad Kazmi was serving as SST/Headmaster Government Muslim Elementary School, Gawala Colony Harbanspura in Aziz Bhatti Town. According to the compulsory retirement order, a copy available with The News, issued by the EDO Education Lahore Muhammad Pervaiz Akhtar Khan on June 04, Sajjad Akbar Kazmi (PTU president) did not appear for personal hearing on various occasions. It is pertinent to mention here that on various occasion in the recent past, the PTU organised protest campaigns against the Punjab government over issues faced by the schoolteachers, including assigning them non-academic duties, non-involvement of teachers in policy making and many other issues.
Teachers, clerks protest against inadequate pay raise
Dozens of teachers and clerks of Rawalpindi staged a protest, on Tuesday, against the meager increase in their salaries in proposed budget 2014-15. The teachers and clerks demonstrated in front of highways building near Kutchery Chowk, demanding an increase in salaries according to inflation. Addressing the protesters, Punjab Teachers’ Union (PTU) President Raja Shahid Mubarik and All-Pakistan Clerk Association (APCA) President Malik Adalat Hussain rejected the 10 per cent increase in salaries, saying this increase was negligible under the current inflation. Government employees find it hard to make both ends meet, they said. Carrying banners in their hands, the protesters chanted slogans against the government. They also raised slogans against Islamabad police for using rubber bullets and torture against the protesters on June 4 at Jinnah Avenue.
Complete Story: http://www.dawn.com/news/1111905
700 Municipal Schools will be annexed in provincial education department in Punjab
Education Department Punjab has issued the notification of annexing 700 municipal schools of Rawalpindi district. Teachers of these municipal schools will now report to Executive District Officers(Education) instead of DCOs. Teachers’ Unions welcomed this step of education department.
BISEs to get optical mark reading technology
THE Punjab government has decided to make all the Boards of Intermediate and Secondary Education (BISEs) self-sufficient in Optical Mark Reading (OMR) technology. A meeting of all the BISEs in this regard held at BISE Lahore on Tuesday also gave an approval to create vacancy of Additional Controller IT in the nine examination boards of Punjab. These posts will be filled through deputation from the Punjab Information Technology Board (PITB). The meeting was presided over by Punjab Education Minister Rana Mashhood Ahmed Khan and attended by Secretary Higher Education Punjab Abdullah Khan Sumbal, Punjab Boards Committee of Chairmen (PBCC) Chairman Dr Muhammad Nasrullah Virk and Chairmen, Secretaries and Controllers of other BISEs.
HEC plans to place 60 Chinese teachers in Pakistani universities
Higher Education Commission (HEC) plans to place 60 teachers from China to teach Chinese language in Pakistani universities. Prospects of this collaboration between Pakistani and Chinese governments were discussed in a meeting held between Cultural Counsellor, Embassy of China, Zhang Yingbao, and Chairperson, Higher Education Commission Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed at HEC Secretariat on Tuesday. The two dignitaries also discussed to train 140 Pakistani teachers in China. In this regard, a group of 60 teachers from China is likely to visit Pakistan and 140 Pakistani teachers will visit China. It was decided that the Chinese Government would select Chinese teachers who will be placed by HEC in different universities of Pakistan to teach Chinese language whereas HEC would select 140 Pakistani teachers who will be trained in China. A formal MoU signing ceremony will be held in HEC after finalising details of the programme.
Lawmakers of Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) criticised the co-education system in place at the Karakoram International University (KIU) during Tuesday’s assembly session, and termed it against the cultural and religious values of G-B. Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) lawmaker Mirza Hussain raised the issue, triggering a debate in the 36th G-B Assembly session chaired by Speaker Wazir Baig, and earning appreciation from his peers. The lawmaker from Hunza-Nagar district said he had thought about raising the issue on the assembly floor many times in the past four years but could not do so. “It is neither ethically nor religiously permissible to us to allow young women to study with namehrams. In the recent past, unethical activities have been observed because of this,” said Hussain. The Hunza-Nagar representative went on to offer a financial contribution for the construction of a separate KIU campus for women from the development funds allocated to him, if the government considers the option.
Education myths by Zubeida Mustafa
IT is budget time in Pakistan and one issue of special concern to the people is the attention that the education sector will receive from those who hold the purse strings. In the federal budget for 2014-15 Finance Minister Ishaq Dar announced an allocation of Rs63bn for higher education. The true picture will emerge only when the provincial budgets are presented, as they address the bulk of the education sector.There are, however, a number of myths that surround this vital area of national life. One that has been perpetuated for long is that the more funds poured into education the more the latter will improve. For long the size of the education budget has been used as a yardstick to measure the government’s commitment to this sector. Hence the boast generally in budget speeches about the size of the education expenditure. But the fact is that unplanned boosts in education budgets can actually backfire. If the funds have to be tilized sensibly, there is a need to plan how the money will be spent and also increase the capacity accordingly.
Complete Story: http://www.dawn.com/news/1111822/education-myths
Gender disparity in educational institutes by Azam Khan
The current government had promised that the allocations for the education sector would be doubled. It is, however, not clear how this pledge will be honoured. After the announcement of the federal budget 2014-15, all eyes are now on provincial budgets, especially on how much is set aside for two key provincial subjects – education and health. These are two development areas that Pakistan is lagging behind in terms of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). In Pakistan, over 60 out of 1,000 children die before the age of one, putting the country right between Rwanda and Uganda in child mortality rankings. On the other hand, 50 per cent of Pakistani schoolchildren between the ages of six and 16 cannot read a sentence. Over five million children are out of school. Thousands of government-run schools even go without teachers. India is moving 10 times faster than Pakistan to reduce the number of out-of-school children.
The need to make education a priority by Rejah Khawar
The government do not allocate a decent budget for education which leads to further deterioration of the existing government schools. What is more, no new institutes are built. Teachers are underpaid, which is why they are compelled to quit their jobs, thus rendering the schools useless and unattended. Despite the recent government’s (PML-N) higher allocation of funds, education is still not a priority.
Complete Story: http://e.thenews.com.pk/pindi/6-11-2014/page55.asp