Speakers at a seminar on right to education on Monday urged the civil society, especially the parents, to play their role in effective working and improvement of education standard of public sector schools in Sindh and other parts of the country.
Seminar titled ‘Right to Education (Article 25-A): Effective Policy Framework for Inclusive Development’, organized by the Pakistan Institute of Labor Education and Research (PILER) in collaboration with UNICEF at a local hotel.
University of Karachi Pakistan Study Centre Director Dr Jafar Ahmed argued that setting up new universities is a big step, but in a country where hundreds of primary schools are closing down, what will be the purpose of opening up such a big number of higher education universities.
Many times this issue has been addressed that education access is not necessary but with such quality of students what’s the point of establishing new institutions for political point scoring just.
There are many new universities where only 300-350 students are enrolled, whereas only in Karachi many government colleges had more than 9,000 students at a time. One of the speaker of the event said that we are increasing the number of universities just to get more and more money from the World Bank.
He expressed concern over the deteriorating standard of education in the country. The situation of higher educational institutions is even worse. Dr, Jafar said, “You will be shocked to know that a student of MA in Karachi University does not know the difference between ‘nawasi and unasi’.” Our students in universities cannot take dictations.
The speakers also added that due to absence of social protection structure in Pakistan, education had become a burden for the poor people. The parents just want to send their children to work as child labor so that they can support the house financial needs. The education it’s meaning should be awarded socially, and will not be until each and every person from us, carry the duty to play a part in it.
The Sindh Education Foundation (SEF) is presently running more than 2000 schools in the province in the private sector, where students are not charged any fee. These are government schools run by the private sector. SEF wants to minimize state control over schools. About 224,104 children are studying in SEF-funded schools, where there are 5,113 teachers.
The SEF is planning to open up nearly 600 new schools, where about 100,000 new students would be enrolled in SEF schools. Even if government wants, it cannot cover the entire population and entire area. Some of SEF schools are located about 100km away from the district headquarters.
The SEF representative also briefed the audience that the provincial government spends Rs 2,000 per child per month in a school, whereas in an SEF school, expenditure on a child per month is Rs 897. Even with such heavy infrastructure, there is a question on the quality of the education with ghost schools, ghost teacher and those who exist have no basic facilities.