Prioritising education: Religious scholars ask govt to act swiftly

Published: April 24, 2014
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Call for streamlining policy, hike in education budget, accountability. PHOTO: FILE

Call for streamlining policy, hike in education budget, accountability. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: 

The delay in formulating an education policy, lack of political will and accountability, insufficient funding, declining standards and commercialisation are the major obstacles in education prosperity in Pakistan.

This was the consensus among participants of a seminar on obstacles in education prosperity jointly organised by Pak Institute for Peace Studies and Alif Ailaan here on Wednesday.

The speakers urged the government, policymakers and politicians to lay focus on the education sector to overcome the education emergency, said a press release.

They were of the view that local communities, civil society activists and clerics can play a vital role in accountability of the education system at district level.  They should urge parents to send their children to schools and create awareness among the people about education.

Religious scholars and the civil society activists urged the government and policymakers to take critical steps to improve the education system in Pakistan.

“The population of Pakistan is approaching 200 million and out of these, 50 millions are between the age of 5 and 16, and 27 million of these children are getting education while the rest attend no schools what so ever.”

These alarming statistics were shared by Mosharraf Zaidi, the campaign director for Alif Ailaan. While all segments of the society agree that quality education is the basic right of all children, its provision has not yet been made possible because of a lack of political will, he further added.

Maulana Yaseen Zafar, secretary general of Wafaqul Madaris Salfia, stressed upon the importance of creating a healthy learning environment in schools by appointing teachers who are passion about their jobs. He further stated that there should be a uniform education policy focused on achieving improved access and learning outcomes.

University of Peshawar Sheikh Zaid Islamic Center Director Dr Dost Muhammad Khan said the division of education and institutions and the lack of research and creation in our education are the major tragedies in Pakistan.

Salman Naveed Khan, head of Alif Ailan’s political campaign, stated that there is a need for religious scholars to give more importance to education as they have respect and influence.

Darul Aloom Karachi Professor Dr Ejaz Samdani criticised the commercialisation of education for transferring the goal from providing knowledge to profit maximisation. He said that with every government coming up with its own educational policy which is entirely different from the one before, it is hard to achieve long term results.

Former Senator and Madrassa Ariful Hussaini Peshawar Principal Allama Syed Jawad Hadi advised for providing education which is beneficial for society while stressing upon the importance of training and guidance to help students utilise the knowledge they gain.

Jamia Naeemia Principal Dr Raghib Hussain Naeemi hoped that the educational budget would be increased from 1.9% to 4% of GDP in line with UNDP suggested standards.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 24th, 2014.

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