With the aim to ensure that quality education is imparted to students, the government has approved a set of minimum standards to be followed by every academic institution in the country.
The criteria were approved during the Inter-Provincial Education Ministers Conference (IPEMC) held at the Higher Education Commission on Thursday.
Among the attendees were education ministers from three provinces, Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu & Kashmir, along with experts and officers from across the country.
In 2014 the federal government activated the dormant IPEMC, in which all federating units represent themselves, but Sindh abstains from being a full-fledged member and participates only as an observer.
The minimum standards for education were being worked out for the past year and have been drafted for grades one to 12. The criteria include learning environment, content, assessment, teaching and textbooks.
“They will rejuvenate the years-old methods of educating students in schools and colleges. They had been outdated for a long time and needed review,” Minister of State for Federal Education and Professional Training Balighur Rehman, flanked by education ministers, later told a news conference.
Rehman said the standards would lead towards national conformity. “The provinces are free to include their local standards in them according to their culture, norms and languages.”
He informed the media that the government would establish a teacher training institute, for which funding and consultation would be started shortly.
“The literacy rate will have to be improved to meet the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030,” he said, adding that the country did not wish to be embarrassed again as it did when it fell short of the Millennium Development Goals.
The updated set of criteria promotes national harmony, unity and global citizenship based on religious, philosophical, cultural and
other foundations of the nation.
It also emphasises understanding and application of knowledge to make education relevant to the students, and promotion of peaceful coexistence, diversity and development of attitudes towards other human beings.
The booklet of minimum standards carries comprehensive details about standards in English, mathematics, social studies, general science, biology, chemistry and other subjects.
The federal government has yet to finalise the revised version of the National Education Policy 2009. “It is taking time because the provinces are dragging the process to finalise it,” said a senior official privy to the developments.
Meanwhile, Rehman had been saying since last year that the policy would be launched in January 2016, but so far nothing has materialised. “It seems it would take another few months,” he told The Express Tribune.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 12th, 2016