Parliamentarians of Sindh realize the fact that there are some loopholes, issues of mismanagement and policy gaps within the education system, which need to be addressed with the help of civil society actors. They were speaking at a meeting organized by Strengthening Participatory Organization (SPO) with parliamentarians on ‘Education and Strategy of Sindh’ on May 15, 2011. They asked the organizers to provide recommendations gleaned from the discussion, which would be preferably presented to the Chief Minister of Sindh. The issue will also be raised in the ongoing session of the Sindh Assembly.
Sindh Minister for Fisheries and Livestock Zahid Hussain Bhurgari chaired the meeting, while MNA Ameer Ali Shah Jamot, MPA Pitambar Shewani, Prof Zaffar Bugti, Zafar Zeeshan of SPO, Suleman G Abro of SAFWCO, Zulfiqar Halepoto, Sadiqa Sallahuddin, Noor Ahmed Nizamani, SPO Regional Manager Mustafa Baloch and community activist Rehmatullah Balal spoke on the occasion. They identified weaknesses within the system, irresponsible role of leaders of teachers’ organizations and gave their suggestions to improve the education system.
The meeting attracted a large number of civil society leaders, community activist and professional teachers.
The session passed resolutions in the light of overall discussion and demanded the provincial government that after the 18th Amendment the Sindh government should design ‘new education strategy’ after reviewing the last national education policy 2009. The new provincial strategy should mention all the things which the civil society actors and academia feel necessary in the better interest of the education. The meeting also demanded the government to take the findings of SPO’s study at the forum of Sindh Assembly. The study has been carried out in five districts with the help of SPO’s local partners.
The speakers said provincial Higher Education Commission should be established, comprising of educationists and academicians and not bureaucrats. They were of the view that administrative control of all the intermediate examination boards and universities should be shifted to the chief minister.
Sharing research findings Mustafa Baloch said that SPO has collected data from 52 union councils of the five districts Ghotki, Shikarpur, Tndo Mohammed Khan, Matiari and Hyderabad. They covered 2532 villages, where they found 1804 schools, out of which 291 schools were for girls. Total 276 schools both for boys and girls were non-functional. He also emphasized the need to review the national curriculum according to the indigenous need of the province.
Prof Zaffar Bugti portraying the world education scenario said Pakistan has to achieve set target of millennium development goals (MDGs) to assure 100 percent enrollment till 2015. He was of the opinion that only by abolishing school fees or ensuring more enrollment is not the solution, rather the government should take proper measures to achieve the MDGs. He said primary education is basic right of everybody.
Quoting government figures Noor Ahmed Nizamani said only 7000 schools out of total 49,000 schools, are fully functional. Out of those 7000 are functional schools, 4000 schools are located in the urban centers of the province. Sadiqa Sallahuddin said there is a need to assess how the existing education budget is being utilized. The speakers emphasized the need to constitute a monitoring committee to evaluate the situation and prepare recommendations, which should be presented to the provincial government to look into the same and resolve the problems.
It was also pointed out that the incentives, increments and promotions should be made as per the performance of teachers and administrative officials, instead of political basis. Others who also spoke on that occasion included Noor Muhammad Bajeer, Shazia Junejo, Khadim Sindh, Adrees Jatoi, Shafique Kandhro, Wahid Sangrasi, Mehbob Abro, Taj Muhammad Nahyion, DO Zianul Abddin Shah, Ammar Sindhu, Razzque Bhatti, Irfana Mallah, Mahesh Kumar, Jaffar Memon, Ali Nawaz Lund and Dr,Asho Thama .