Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on Wednesday announced its six-point education policy.
It emphasised the education emergency in the country, the importance of an equal system for all, and the need to increase the education budget to 5% of GDP from the currently-pegged rate of 2.1%.
The policy was announced at a local hotel. PTI leader Shaukat Tarin gave an overview, while Chairperson Imran Khan, Secretary General Arif Alvi, Vice-Chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi, and Women’s Wing President Fauzia Kasuri were also present.
Tarin opened the session by painting a grim picture of current education system.
The overall literacy rate is only 58%, and even worse in rural areas, he said, adding that only 46% women are literate.
Jarringly still, out of a total 44 million children who fall into the 5-16 age bracket, only 25.7 million are enrolled in schools. Only 1.1 million out of the total population go on to university.
Tarin also discussed the poor infrastructure, ‘useless’ learning outcomes, and high dropout rates in government schools. Furthermore, he mentioned the 1.72 million students enrolled at madrassas, and how they are unfortunately not recognized for employment purposes.
He said that under the PTI, the Higher Education Commission would be made a fully autonomous body, absolutely de-linked from the government.
The six points the entire policy rests upon are: one education system for all; re-engineering governance-based complete decentralization; gradual increase in education budget; adult education; teacher training; information and communication technology.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 21st, 2013.
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