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For Education Revival, Sindh Looks Overseas
« on: July 22, 2013, 09:45:19 AM »
For Education Revival, Sindh Looks Overseas
Karachi :July 22: Have the politicians too lost faith in the Pakistani education system? Two successive education ministers in Sindh have now confessed to mulling over opening Cambridge schools across the province.
The mantra started off with Pir Mazharul Haq, the Sindh education minister in the previous government, claiming the education department would set up O- and A-Level schools in all districts.
We want to bring in modern expertise to improve the local education system,” he said during a meeting held on September 8, 2012, to discuss education development schemes for the 2012-13 fiscal year.
The idea was to open separate girls and boys school in the 23 districts of Sindh.
When Nisar Khuhro, the current provincial education minister, held his first press conference after assuming charge, he also repeated his predecessor’s dream. “In this time of competition, the government will set up Cambridge schools so that our children do not lag behind,” he avowed.
Exorbitant rates
In the May-June session of Cambridge International Examinations this year, the Pakistani students paid more than Rs720 million in fees to the UK-based examination board.

 

For a poor country like Pakistan, educationists say, this is an outrageous figure. Most believe that instead of launching such initiatives, the government should focus on improving the local education board.

 

“Improving the education boards is an expensive endeavour but it can be done,” said Abbas Hussain, the Teachers’ Development Centre chairperson. “Provided that we spend the money we give to the UK government in our own country.”

 

No need as such

 

Saadiqa Salahuddin, the head of Indus Resource Centre, a not-for-profit organisation running a network of schools in Sindh, believes such initiatives should be discouraged. “The government policy should be to educate more and more people or it will be exactly like Daanish Schools in Punjab, where one massive project provides quality education and the existing schools remain poorly managed.”

 

“Moreover, the curriculum and classroom set up of O- and A-Level schools is not suited, for say, a school in rural Sindh, where teacher absenteeism and student dropout are crucial issues,” she said:
Widening the gap
The Pakistan People’s Party in its election manifesto promised to take steps to reduce the gap between public and private sector schools. But initiatives like these, educationists believe, will in fact widen the gap.

 

“This will only make students in Sindh feel they are not educated just because they cannot speak English,” said Salahuddin. “Education does not have any language barriers and it is the student’s right to be taught in his mother tongue.”
After making education free and compulsory for children aged between five and 16 (article 25-A), the government must now focus on its implementation,” she said. “This can only be done when attention is paid on educating the masses rather than concentrating on expensive projects.The news.
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