NA education committee wants syllabus ‘normalised’

Curriculum was cut short during the pandemic


Our Correspondent January 12, 2021
Millions of students in Pakistan returned to classes on last Tuesday after Covid-19 was contained in the country. PHOTO: REUTERS

ISLAMABAD:

The National Assembly's Standing Committee on Federal Education and Professional Training on Monday called for including the syllabus in studies, which was earlier excluded due to courses being cut short in the pandemic.

The panel unanimously supported the government's decision to reopen educational institutions from January 18. The committee observed that reopening of the institutions would help overcome educational loss of students.

Ministry of Federal Education Secretary Farah Hamid informed the committee that the bill regarding provision of loans to small private schools was in the Finance Division and hoped that it would be approved in the next three days. The committee was informed that Rs0.5 million to Rs1 million budgets would be given to each school.

Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) Director General Dr Ikram Ali Malik shared that educational session of the schools, colleges have been extended. He further informed that the syllabus was also being reduced to facilitate students, adding that examinations would be held from the course in May.

Dr Ikram said that they did not have enough funds for Covid testing of teachers prior to their joining the schools. He also mentioned that there is no such tool to assess the ratio of students benefitting from online classes during the pandemic.

Higher Education Commission (HEC) Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) Director General Dr Nadia Tahir said that when the academic activities were online, the HEC had the online facility for only 23 courses while currently out of 118,331, around 113,617 courses are available online.

Another HEC official shared that they did not have enough funds to support the universities. He said universities were demanding grants from them but they were given a lower budget as compared to their requirements. He requested the committee to ask the government to provide a greater budget to HEC as per its needs.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 12th, 2021.

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