Candidates promise quality education in govt schools

LAHORE: Politicians from all major political parties said they will provide the children of Lahore with access to education, including all the basic facilities, as part of their commitment for winning the upcoming general elections.

Several candidates from major political parties gathered to speak at a multi-party convention to discuss the state of education in Lahore, while also committing to a list of citizen’s demands ensuring quality education in government schools.

The event was organised by Alif Ailaan and Ilm Dost in collaboration with Idara-e-Taleem-o-Agahi, Shaur Welfare and Kafka Welfare Organisation.

Lahore govt schools show poor performance

From Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N), Senator Dr Musadik Malik and Shaista Malik attended the event while Zulfiqar Ali Badr, Iftikhar Ahmed and Asim Bhatti from Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) were also there. From Awami National Party (ANP) Ameer Bahadur Khan Hoti and from Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf (PTI) Zubair Niazi and Dr Nausheen Hamid showed up. Meanwhile, from Pakistan Muslim League Quaid (PML-Q) Zeba Ahsan and from Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) Hafiz Salman, Jibran Butt, Zikr Ullah Mujahid and Ameer-ul-Azeem also showed up. Zaeem Qadri, an indenpendant candidate, was also present.

The event kicked off with a presentation, which gave a detailed analysis of the educational landscape in Lahore. It was revealed that the unavailability of secondary and higher schools, coupled with the poor quality of education were the two leading factors in Lahore’s failing standard of education.

Speaking at the session, Dr Musadik Malik promised to implement broad-based learning so that children may possess the necessary knowledge and disciplinary tools while in school.

Dr Nausheen Hamid stated that it was her party’s priority to prioritise scientific education, for which they will train teachers and upgrade the curriculum. PTI’s manifesto focuses exclusively on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education, she added.

Majority of the candidates spoke about increasing the budget allocated for education, while also highlighting the need to strictly regulate and monitor private and public schools.

The candidates also agreed to commit to a charter that was based on the demands of parents, teachers and community members in Lahore. The list outlined the need to upgrade schools from primary to middle, middle to high and high to higher-secondary, while also highlighting the need for constructing science and computer labs.

No promotion for college teachers without training

The charter also stipulated that more government schools be constructed at every level while also improving the quality of education. The charter added that libraries should also be established alongside science and computer labs, teachers are trained in modern teaching practices and that healthy co-curricular activities be made more popular.

According to the presentation, the approximately 0.3 million children in Lahore who are not currently enrolled in school, are the biggest challenge for the future representatives.

In the Pakistan District Education Rankings 2017, Lahore ranked 32 nationally and 19 provincially. Moreover, a learning assessment conducted by the Punjab Examination Commission showed that Lahore ranked the lowest in learning outcomes in English, math and science. Whereas, out of 1,202 total public schools in the district, there are only 234 middle schools against 610 primary schools that make up half of all public schools in Lahore.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 21st, 2018.

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