Multiple curricula currently in use in educational institutions across Pakistan is hampering governments’ efforts to ensure national unity and unison, Federal Education and Professional Training  Minister Shafqat Mahmood said  on Wednesday.

The minister passed the remarks during the proceedings of Senate Standing Committee on Federal Education at Parliament House.

Efforts were underway by the Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training in order to bring uniform education system across the country, and for the purpose the government had allocated a hefty amount of Rs 10 billion.

Shafqat said that efforts were underway to bring different educational systems in uniform module by implementing Single National Curriculum.Currently, there were three different types of educational curricula, adopted by educational institutions including English medium, Urdu medium and Madaaris education system that were hampering the governments’ efforts to ensure national unity and unison.

Under a mega project launched for uniform education system, an international standard uniform curriculum was being prepared in consultation with all stakeholders including public, private and Madaaris schools which would be implemented till March 2021, he added.

Highlighting the additional measures taken by the education ministry, Shafqat said
that education ministry had signed a four-year agreement with the Wafaq-ul-Madaaris under which the Madaaris would send their children in public-private schools for formal education till intermediate level.

Emphasizing the steps taken for the promotion of skill education, Shafqat informed the committee that around 170,000 students will be provided vocational education during next twenty months. The total cost of this project of skill education was around Rs10 billion, he added.

“We had taken services of best 291 public and private sector institutions providing
skill education across the country for awarding of free opportunity to youth”, the minister said.

The education minister around 200,000 children had applied for admission in these 291 institutes for professional skills education so far. He said that 30 percent admissions would be allocated to the women. In phase I, he told, around 25000 students would be given skill education.

Sharing details of another mega scholarships project worth Rs 6.3 billion during first year, he said under the programme, the government would award merit and need-based undergraduate scholarships to as many as 50,000 students.

Under the initiative, around 50,000 scholarships had also been reserved for the  students of Balochistan and other less developed areas, he added.

On the directions of the committee, the minister held out the assurance to resolve the issue of pending fee of the students of Balochistan, enrolled in the public and private schools and colleges across the country under a scheme of the previous government.

To a question, Shafqat answered that University of Islamabad was a private sector project and good for the people. Chairman HEC also supported the University of Islamabad saying “we do not have any observation on the project.”

Rahila Magsi directed for ensuring 10 percent quota to be reserved for the poor and needy students in the university.

The Standing Committee also directed the Higher Education Commission (HEC) to investigate appointments sand merit of Vice Chancellors in the specific universities of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP).

Commenting on the issue, Chairman HEC Dr Tariq Banuri said “we cannot interfere in the provincial issue after 18th Amendment, however, HEC can give suggestions in that regard.” On the directions of Committee, HEC would look into the issue, he said.

The committee also unanimously supported and approved the Dyslexia Special Measures Bill 2019, moved by the Senator Samina Saeed. The bill related to a special issue, found among school-going children. The Dyslexia students were observed weak in understanding their lectures.

The committee asked the Federal Minister for Education Shafqat Mahmood to resolve long-standing issues of the employees of NCHD. The committee suggested increasing the salary of NCHD teacher from 8000 to 17000 at-least.

Senator Usman Kakar lauded the services of NCHD teachers who were performing duties in far flung areas.

In his reply, Shafqat Mahmood said that NCHD and BECS Schools project was launched for non-formal education in 2002 especially in less developed areas to raise literacy rate. These teachers were being paid through development budget, he added.

Shafqat said that after the 18th Amendment, education was now a provincial subject.

He said the issue was also discussed in the Inter-Provincial Ministers Conference (IPMC), adding provinces were reluctant to take charge of these schools.

The minister hoped the issue would be resolved in next two months.

On the directions of the Chairperson Committee Rahila Magsi, the federal minister vowed to take up the issue of NCHD with the Prime Minister for its early solution.

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