A COSULTATIVE seminar for a comprehensive educational policy was held on Tuesday in which the participants came up with various suggestions for uplift of the provincial education system. Seven different groups, assigned to give recommendations for the educational policy also presented their findings in the seminar.
Speaking on the occasion, School Education Department Secretary Nadeem Ashraf said unfortunately the education sector could not be prioritised in the past.
He said Pakistan was on the 147th position in the Human Development Index (HDI) in education, adding that it was a matter of concern. He said 11 such seminars had already been organised in different parts of the province, adding that the recommendations and proposals coming through such events would be utilised to chalk out a comprehensive educational policy.
The School Education secretary said Chief Minister Mian Shahbaz Sharif was giving top priority to education, adding that besides Rs 5 billion for provision of computer labs in over 4,500 schools, Rs 1 billion had been allocated to award performance-based incentives to teachers. He also talked about missing facilities in the government schools.
District Coordination Officer Lahore Sajjad Ahmad Bhutta said the consultative seminar was a meaningful exercise, which would provide a draft policy chapter from Lahore district like other parts of the province.
Presenting recommendations, Prof Dr Hafiz Muhammad Iqbal from the Punjab University’s Institute of Education and Research (IER) said it had been recommended that at least 6 to 7 per cent of the GNP should be allocated for education, adding that the provision of missing facilities, including qualified teachers, was also one of the recommendations. He also recommended appointment of at least two teachers in all the primary schools of the province, besides induction of teachers against the vacant posts. He recommended that professional qualifications should also be given preference at the time of recruitment. He also recommended the permanent appointment of teachers.
Representatives from other groups also presented their recommendations. In the end a question-answer session was held in which the participants expressed concerns over different recommendations and put forward their proposals for educational policy. Additional Secretary (Education Reforms) Nadeemur Rehman, Public Instructions (DPI) Secondary Education Director Mian Abdul Haq, Elementary Education DPI Chaudhry Abdul Rasheed, Executive District Officer Education, Lahore, Malik Abdul Rahman and some MPAs and a large number of people from different walks of life, including teachers and educationists, were present on the occasion.
It is pertinent to mention here that according to the invitation extended by the City District Government Lahore (CDGL) to media, the seminar was to be presided over by Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif at 1pm. However, neither the CM came to preside over the seminar nor it started on time. A large number of people, especially teachers, both male and female, had arrived before the scheduled time. The seminar, started around 2.30pm when the School Education secretary and DCO arrived.