KARACHI: Sindh will double its budget for education and literacy, declared the minister on the floor of the assembly on Monday.
It currently spends about seven billion rupees.
“We allocate around four per cent of the budget but only one per cent is spent on education,” said Education Minister Pir Mazharul Haq. “On the contrary, Malaysia allocates and spends around 23 per cent of its budget on education.” He did not give a specific figure.
As if a step in this direction, the Sindh Teacher Education Development Authority Bill 2012 was put to the house. The assembly unanimously passed it to establish the Sindh Teacher Education Development Authority.
The supplementary bill, which was not on the agenda, was moved by Education Minister Pir Mazharul Haq. The minister will chair the authority’s board, which will work under the government’s direction. On the board will be representatives from public and private universities, educationists, retired bureaucrats as well as representatives of NGOs. It will include three MPAs, including the chairman of the standing committee on education.
Other members will be former Karachi University vice-chancellor Dr Abdul Wahab, the ex-vice-chancellor the University of Sindh Mazharul Haq Siddiqui, SZABIST’s Suleman Shaikh, Sadiqa Salahuddin of the Indus Resources Centre and Captain Usman Issani, a former secretary.
This authority will make mandatory the training of teachers. Primary school teachers who complete the training will be given jobs as elementary school teachers at grade 16. The board will survey and study teacher education and create guidelines for minimum criteria.
Haq said that no credible institute existed for teacher training in Sindh where fake certified courses like Primary Teacher Certificate and the certificate of teaching were sold in the black market for Rs2,000. “No teacher should be able to teach in a public or private school without qualifying from the Sindh Teacher Education Development Authority,” he added.
A majority of MPAs endorsed the idea but complained they did not have enough time to study the content of the bill, which according to them was suddenly moved in the house without consultation.
Members of the PPP seemed upset with each other. When Imdad Pitafi suggested nominating five MPAs in each district as members of the education board, Haq responded by saying, “This is not the time for jokes. Please be serious.”
“I am not joking like you always do at the party parliamentary meetings,” retorted Pitafi. “As a lawmaker I am serious about my suggestion.”
Meanwhile, the PML-F continued its boycott of the proceedings over Shazia Marri’s remarks against Shah Mardan Shah Pir Pagara VII.
No debate took place on the law and order situation due to the absence of the chief minister. Marri said that the CM is likely to present their four-year performance today (Tuesday) and wind up the debate on law and order as well.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 8th, 2012.