Education dismal picture | Literary festival

Education sector paints a dismal picture
Islamabad, Jan 30: A latest survey on education reveals how alarming the situation has become and how desperately the sector needs remedial reforms.

The survey report was launched by the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) Pakistan, on Monday, at the planning commission office.

According to the survey, as many as 75 per cent students in Class-I dropout before Class-X (Matric). Eighty-one per cent Class-III and 52 per cent Class-V students cannot read Class-II level English sentences.

Similarly, 56 per cent Class-V, 41.9 per cent Class-VI and 33 per cent Class-VII students cannot calculate Class-III level three-digit divisions.

Director programmes ASER Baela Raza Jamil, while briefing the participants, said that information was collected from 5,594 schools 3,934 government schools and 1,660 private schools.

The survey found that 30 per cent government schools and 88 per cent private schools were offering co-education, she added.

The survey further revealed that students of private schools had more access to tuition compared to government schools.

The report states that 25 per cent of all private school children were taking paid tuition compared to six per cent of students studying in government schools.

The survey explained that as many as 46 per cent of surveyed government high schools and 38 per cent private schools had functional computer labs.

While 57 per cent government high schools and 53 per cent private high schools had library books available for students to use in the schools premises.

The survey of government and private primary schools showed that 50 per cent public and 25 per cent private primary schools in the country had not provided functional toilet facilities to their students.

However, surprisingly, the survey reported that government schools across Pakistan had more qualified teachers than in private schools.

It also found that 78 per cent of 83,746 mothers and 53 per cent fathers of students had not completed even primary schooling.

However, Minister for Education and Professional Training Sheikh Waqas Akram said that the government is committed to devising policies according to ground realities.

"We will assure that all the commitments and announcements of the government regarding promotion of education would be implemented," he said.

While Chairperson of Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) Farzana Raja stated that 'Waseela-e-Taleem' programme had been initiated to provide education to those people who had been deprived because of financial reasons.

"BISP will provide educational facilities to every child who wants to get an education but the private sector should also come forward to contribute, as it is not an easy task," she said.

Member of the National Assembly, Tariq Fazal Chaudhry, who belongs to PML-N, said that the country cannot progress without reaching hundred per cent literacy rate.

"PML-N has given preference to education sector in Punjab and if the party forms government in the centre, the PML-N will promote educational sector all over the country," he claimed.

On the other hand, Deputy Chairman Planning Commission, Dr Nadeemul Haque, while talking to participants said that the survey helps the Planning Commission to set its priorities and release funds for the projects, according to requirements.

The survey was conducted in 136 districts of rural areas and six districts of urban areas.

Provincial ranking

Balochistan has the highest percentage of out-of-school children.

Punjab has the best and Fata the worst performance in terms of average assessment results for the three (English, Arithmetic and Language) assessments.

Punjab is the region with the highest percentage of primary schools with useable facilities.

Sindh has the highest percentage of children absent from school.

Fata has the highest percentage of teachers present in schools.

Balochistan has the highest percentage of young children (3 to 5 years) not attending pre-primary education.

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ASER Survey of 2012: Schools have long way to go
Lahore: Sindh and Balochistan provinces lag behind the other three provinces in terms of school-level education indicators that range from enrolment of 3-16 years of age children, their learning abilities and facilities in schools.

The Punjab province has topped in most of the indicators followed by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Gilgit-Baltistan (GB).

The school-level education indicators have been identified in Pakistan's largest-ever citizen-led household based Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) Survey of 2012 launched in Islamabad on Monday.

Sindh and Balochistan provinces have even lost the sight of meeting Millennium Development Goals, Universal Primary Education and the latest compulsory and free education for all under the Article 25-A of the 18th Constitutional Amendment with 32.4 per cent and 34.1 per cent 6-16 years of age out-of-school children. This ratio drastically grows to 61.2 per cent and 77.7 per cent in terms of 3-5 years of age out-of-school children in Sindh and Balochistan. Of those 6-16 years of age children, who are attending schools in Balochistan, some 5.6 per cent are attending madaris.

The schools' survey in the country shows that some 30 per cent government schools and 88 per cent private schools are offering co-education.

The ASER survey was conducted in 136 districts (rural areas) and six districts (urban areas) across Pakistan by the South Asia Forum for Education Development (SAFED) and managed by Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi (ITA) in collaboration with Foundation Open Society Institute, Department for International Development and other partner organisations in all five provinces as well as Azad Jammu and Kashmir, the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and Islamabad Capital Territory.

The survey targeted learning outcomes of 5-16 years age children, prevalence of early childhood education, volume of out-of-school children, mothers' education, role of private schools, private tuition incidence, medium of instruction, students and teachers' absenteeism, computer labs and libraries, missing facilities and government grants.

According to the ASER report, some 9,000-member volunteer team surveyed 80,209 households in 4,033 villages and collected detailed information on 3-16 years age group 251,444 children. While, 5-16 years age group 244,477 children were tested for language and arithmetic competencies.

ENROLMENT: In Punjab, 15.9 per cent of 6-16 years of age children are out-of-school and this ratio grows to 49.2 per cent when 3-5 years of age children are surveyed.

In the GB, 16.6 per cent of 6-16 years and 56.3 per cent of 3-5 years of age children are out-of-school. In the KP, these ratios stood at 16.2 per cent and 64.9 per cent, respectively.

LEARNING OUTCOMES: The survey focused 5-16 years age children's learning levels through specifically designed class-II level language and class-III level arithmetic tests.

Up to 93.2 per cent of Balochistan children of class-III cannot read a class-II story text in Urdu or their regional language Pashto. Up to 77.7 per cent of students cannot read sentences.

When class-V students were given the same test in Urdu/Pashto, some 63.9 per cent of the children could not read story and 27.6 per cent failed to read sentences.

In Sindh, class-II level story text in Urdu/Sindhi proved to be a nightmare for 84.3 per cent of class-III and 40.2 per cent of class-V students.
Only 66.1 per cent of class-III and 40.2 per cent of class-V students could read sentences in Urdu/Sindhi

In Punjab, the GB and the KP, the percentage of class-III students who failed to read story text in Urdu/Pashto/Sindhi stood at 68.7, 73.7 and 79.3. Among class-V students, this ratio dropped to 33.3 per cent, 44 per cent and 56.7 per cent.

ENGLISH: In the reading test of class-II level English sentences, Balochistan's 94.2 per cent of class-III and 68.1 per cent of class-V students failed. In Sindh, class-III and V's 91 per cent and 74.6 per cent of children failed to read English sentences.

Punjab, where all public schools had adopted English as medium of instruction a couple of years ago still lags behind the GB when it comes to reading Class-II level English sentences. The results show that only 26.7 per cent of class-III students could read English sentences as compared to 37.5 per cent of children in the GB. As many as 21.9 per cent children in KP were able to read the English reading test.

The same test given to Class-V students in Punjab, the GB and the KP shows that 61.3, 67.9 and 47.1 per cent of children could qualify.

ARITHMETIC: The mathematics assessment test covering up to class-III standard national curriculum, asked from class-V students, revealed that 73.1 per cent of students in Sindh and 66.3 per cent in Balochistan could not solve three-digit sums. The failure rations in Punjab, the GB and the KP stood at 44.4 per cent, 44.5 per cent and 55.9 per cent, respectively.

PHYSICAL FACILITIES: The Punjab is ahead of the KP, Sindh, the GB and Balochistan in terms of making available classrooms, useable drinking water and toilets in primary schools and computer labs in high schools.

Though a primary school should have six classrooms ideally, Punjab and the GB have 2.8 classrooms on an average. The KP, Sindh and Balochistan have 2.3, two and 1.4 classrooms on an average.

Punjab has useable drinking water in its 91.5 per cent of primary schools, the KP in 63.6 per cent, Sindh 55.6 per cent, the GB 36.6 per cent and Balochistan have water facility in 43.8 per cent of schools.

The functional toilets are available in 86.8 per cent of schools in Punjab, 59.7 per cent in the KP, 47.6 per cent in Sindh, 32.8 per cent in the GB and 21.7 per cent schools in Balochistan.

With regard to the availability of libraries in primary schools and functional computer labs in high schools, Punjab's 14.7 per cent and 69.3 per cent schools have these facilities.

The KP, Sindh, the GB and Balochistan's 30.7, two, 8.2 and 1.9 per cent of schools have libraries, while 17.3, 23, 37.7 and 9.6 per cent of schools have functional computer labs, respectively.

The ASER survey has also assessed children's enrolment in schools, their learning abilities and physical facilities in schools in ICT, AJK and FATA and ranked them as such, respectively.

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Literary festival from Feb 23
Lahore: Thel will will be held at the Alhamra Art Centre from Feb 23 to Feb 24

According to a press release issued on Monday, the two-day festival includes panel discussions on Urdu and English literature, and book reading. Scheduled panels include The Courtesan in Urdu Novels, Legacy of Political Autobiographies, Urdu Writing's Future in the Punjab, The Holy Warrior in Pakistani Cinema, Literature of Resistance, Discovering Pakistan's English-Language Poetry, Challenges of Language and Storytelling in the 21st Century.

"We are excited about the interest and goodwill the festival has generated and feel strongly about the programme and the panellists we have the privilege of hosting," said Nusrat Jamil, chairperson of the Lahore Literary Festival Advisory Board. She says: "This is a long-term initiative, which will enrich the cultural landscape of this unique city every year."

Ahmed Rashid, Ayesha Jalal, Bapsi Sidhwa, Daniyal Mueenuddin, Hameed Haroon, Intizar Hussain, Jeet Thayil, Linda Bird Francke, Mohsin Hamid, Nayyar Ali Dada, Salima Hashmi, Tariq Ali, Tehmina Durrani and Zehra Nigah will speak at the festival.

"The literary festival has been made possible with the generous assistance of individuals and foundations and support of the city district government," says Razi Ahmed, festival's founder and chief executive. "We are closely working with schools and colleges in and around Lahore to ensure youth participation in this event geared at promoting literature reading and critical thinking."

The Dawn Media Group is the official media partner of the Lahore Literary Festival 2013, which is incorporated under the Societies Registration Act 1860 with the objective of enriching the cultural experience of Lahore's residents by creating an institutional platform for fostering and furthering Lahore's literary traditions.

Tickets for the festival will be available in mid-February. Citizens and journalists who wish to attend can register on the spot at the venue or register online. Dawn

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GCUF Dr Abida awarded PhD
Faisalabad: The Government College University Faisalabad has awarded PhD degree to Dr Abida Kausar, lecturer Department of Botany. She worked on research project titled "Some Physiological and Genetic Determinants of Salt Tolerance in Sorghum", a joint venture of GCUF, and NIAB. Associate Professor Dr Mubashir Niaz and NIAB Deputy Chief Scientist Dr Yasin Ashraf supervised the research. This is the 3rd PhD work completed at the Department of Botany of this university. The news

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GIKI, Ukraine varsity to conduct joint research
Swabi: The Ghulam Ishaq Khan Institute of Engineering Sciences and Technology and the East-Ukrainian National University (EUN) on Monday signed a Memorandum of Understanding to collaborate and launch joint research programmes in the field of engineering education.

The MoU was signed thanks to efforts of Prof Mykola Bannikov of Ukraine, who is presently professor at the faculty of mechanical engineering (FME), GIK Institute.

The MoU was inked by Prof Mohammad Abid, dean FME, and Prof V Mogila, dean faculty of rail system communication. Under the programme, mutual international cooperation will be promoted in engineering education, research, and scholarship between FME of GIK Institute and department of internal combustion engines of Volodymyr Dahal East Ukrainian National University.

All programmes and activities shall be subject to availability of funds and the specific approval of the rectors of the respective universities.

Both the universities will encourage cooperation in mutually beneficial programmes and activities such as exchange of faculty and scholars to conduct research, technology transfer, promotion of collaborative research, cosponsoring of seminars, technical conferences and short-term academic programmes; exchange of scientific, technical, and teaching information on all forms such as printed documents, microfilms and microfiches, videotapes, and computer software.

The collaborative research includes heat-and-power engineering devices, energy saving technologies and improvement of performance and emissions of internal combustion engines and joint preparation and publication of research papers and textbooks.

Meanwhile, the institution of engineering and technology (IET), and the GIK Institute's students society organised a three-day All Pakistan Engineering Conference, comprising competitions of speed wiring, paper presentation, project exhibition, Matlab programming and engineering drawing and industry sessions. Students from various universities participated in the conference.

Renowned scientists Dr Pervez Hoodboy, Dr Jamel-ul-Nabi and Dr Momin Uppal also graced the conference.

The teams which displayed extraordinary performances were awarded prizes and trophies. The overall outstanding position was won by the team of University of Technology, Lahore. Dawn

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