Saba Saeed, Hamza Sarfraz
In the recent past, reform efforts and interventions in education sector have been underway across the country, particularly in Punjab. These interventions have achieved some progress in terms of education indicators but there is still a long way to go when it comes to fulfilling the constitutionally guaranteed Right to Education.
For the implementation of a uniform education system in Punjab, the provincial government has decided to formulate a curriculum authority, as per the sources. Under this new initiative, five subjects will be made compulsory up till matriculation, and all the government and private educational institutes will take exams of these compulsory subjects only.
Public schools in Punjab are having a hard time retaining students in classrooms, many of which lack proper furniture to seat students along with a general lack of toilets and boundary walls in schools. But despite the deplorable situation in many public schools, the authorities concerned have been unable to fully utilize the non-salary budget (NSB) during the outgoing quarter.
More and more girls might be enrolling in primary schools with each passing day, but the situation of these girls making it past the primary level and on to middle school remains abysmal across Punjab. According to new survey by Punjab Commission on Status of Women, middle school enrollment of girls was half of the same at primary level, meaning fewer girls were making it past the first few years of education.
Punjab University (PU) Vice Chancellor Prof Niaz Ahmad has reiterated his resolve to take Punjab University in the league of top 400 universities of the world, saying the upcoming QS Ranking of top universities will see PU gain significant ground in terms of its global stature. Addressing the 128th PU Convocation at Faisal Auditorium, the VC said the varsity administration was working round the clock to implement its vision of progress, and merit, transparency and good governance had been made the foundations of each decision.
The new Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government in Punjab has planned to turn the process of appointment of vice chancellors on its head, with the minister hinting at revamping the entire process to mimic the one in practice in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province.
Stakeholders higher education sector of Punjab have been taken by surprise by a news item published in an Urdu daily that claimed that the new PTI government, under Punjab Higher Education Minister Raja Yasir Humayun Sarfraz, has decided in principle to abolish the Punjab Higher Education Commission (PHEC). The news item, however, proved fake when a clarification was issued by the minister’s office and PHEC.
The new provincial government has decided to look into and alter the legislation governing Punjab’s private schools . The law for private schools in Punjab, The Punjab Private Educational Institutions (Promotion & Regulations) (Amendment) Act 2017, is likely to be altered to accommodate the PTI government’s agenda of reforms.
With ministers of the new Punjab cabinet beginning to take stock of their portfolios with briefings from officials and discussions about reforms, school teachers in the province have called upon Punjab Education Minister Dr Murad Raas to take them on board before making a decision on any major policy reform.
The Multan District Education Authority has directed a private school to remove social studies books taught across various grades from its curriculum. The ban has been placed as the books depict an incorrect map of Pakistan.