Fateh Shah Arif
First time in history of Pakistan it has been little bit realized that without stability, peace and reducing poverty in Balochistan there could not be peace and stability in overall country. This situation compels the elite class of federation to take some positive initiatives in light of regional importance for betterment of governance and restoration of confidence of the local masses on state. But still it required extra ordinary attention for removal of last sixty years gaps through initiatives in different sectors of life especially in education and particularly in health.
Incumbent coalition government of Balochistan is the ally of the federal government in center, so this is the only opportunity where provincial government can take the full help of the center, especially for education sector plan, 2013-18, which is a guideline and roadmap for promotion of education in overall province which requires huge amount of resources. Although current government increased the budget for education in annual budget, from 5.6% to 23%, which seems huge in figure but practically insufficient for overcoming the issues of education sector in entire province.
The education sector plan 2013-18 for the first time highlighted the gray areas’ of the education sector and open the windows for intervention according to sector plan, although earlier these donor agencies and organizations were working in education sector in isolation since long. Recently education department initiated working on education policy in light of education sector plan, 2013-18 to in line with 2009 national education policy.
The consultation with sector’s stakeholders will help education department to get a sound policy for next couple of years before its finalization. This is very important to highlight few areas’ for incorporation and consideration for education policy, details areas;
- Education department need to establish a group of educationists comprising of, education department’s all directorates’, civil society members and all national and international NGOs and should be led by education.
- Education policy should bound education department for strategic planning to achieve the expected outcomes of designed policy within stipulated time line.
- Policy should describe that any political government at least for ten years will not be authorized to change the priorities of education sector plan 2013-18. In case of change requirements, the approval of the assembly should be obligatory for that.
- Data should be collected for those 12,000 settlements of Balochistan that don’t have proper schools, within specific time line, may be in first three years.
- Management issues in the existing schools system across the province should be resolved through proper policy with adoption of international standards of schools system, with separation of management and teaching cadres.
- Teaching staff should be deputed in schools across the province according to school’s enrollment.
- Deputation of teachers to other departments and development sectors should be banned for at least for ten years’ across the province.
- There should be equivalence among all type of institutions either its private, public or Madrassah, curriculum should same for all. Students of all institutions should get similar certificates which will be applicable for any opportunity in public or private sector.
- Education policy should well define the criteria of teacher’s selection in regular schools. Recently education department started hiring through NTS for regular public schools. Private schools as well should be bound to adopt same process for teacher’s appointment.
- In education policy, the monitoring of private schools for measuring their quality should be clears that how education department will measure the standard of teaching in private schools.
- All type of education institutions running with financial support of social Welfare or worker welfare board etc should be bound in terms of information sharing with education department through upcoming education policy.
- Policy should be clear about the mainstreaming of religious educational institutions (Madariss) and their registration with education department. The data of the enrolled students in religious seminaries should be incorporated in education data.
- A separate section under umbrella of directorate of education should plan a policy for registration of with education department, currently Madariss are registered with industries and commerce department.
- A separate budget within education budget should reflect in education policy for mainstreaming of Madariss and fulfilling of its basic necessities in terms of its learning environment, wash facilities and rest areas improvement.
- Provincial institute for teacher’s capacity building should be bound through policy to prepare the training module for capacity building of Madariss teachers.
- As per concerns of text book development, text books need to be reviewed according to context of Balochistan province, with special attention to its history and heroes.
- All the subjects should be designed with specific focus on environment in context of our seismic conditions. All subjects should be environment friendly with clear guidelines in policy.
- Policy should give guidelines for those settlements where schools do not exist and Madariss in those areas should be considered as schools.
- Education policy should constitute “Balochistan Advisory Council for Education” (BACE) committee, which should comprise of all education directors and key religious leaders for Madariss registration and mainstreaming.
- Current education policy is completely silent about the issue of Afghan refugee’s education. New policy should clearly allot EMIS numbers for refugee schools as well.
- Education policy should be in line with other sector’s proposed and developed policies especially with health, rural and urban development. This will help education department to compliment and supplement each other rather than wastage of resources.
Author is Manager Relief Operations BRSP.
Published in The Balochistan Point on October 22, 2015
Disclaimer: Views expressed in this article are those of the author and The Balochistan Point not necessarily agrees with them.