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The News

Published Date: Jun 26, 2012

SHAHNAZ HIGHLIGHTS STEPS TO IMPROVE STATE OF EDUCATION

PPP MNA and Pakistan Education Task Force Co-Chair Shahnaz Wazir Ali has said that a single school system, improvement in structure of public schools, increase in education budget as well as its appropriate utilisation, school-based budgeting and creating a federal mechanism on Article 25-A of the Constitution are some of the necessary steps to improve the state of education in the country.

She was chairing a seminar on ‘Social accountability in education’ and launch of the Citizens Report Card (CRC)’ organised by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute here on Monday.

The MNA said that quality research on education is important and an organised civil society effort, along with media, is vital for engaging political leadership in political ownership of education and to bring this subject into public debate. She said that citizens’ engagement is vital for quality education and the only way to bring improvement in education sector in Pakistan is to hold public and political officials accountable.

She said that worsening state of education cannot be ignored as it is interlinked with socio-political state system including governance, democratic process, economic growth, health and human rights etc. She said, only educated and informed youth can ensure positive transformation of Pakistan into a stable progressive society.

Shahnaz Wazir Ali said that a watchdog group of civil society should actively work with political parties and their leadership to turn the education sector a political agenda in their election manifestos. She called for holding formal meeting with the minister for Capital Administration and Development Division to address the underlying gaps in federal education institutes identified in the Citizens Report Card.

Dr. Vaqar Ahmed of the SDPI said that social accountability by the public is a must because government’s accountability mechanisms failed to deliver. He said that social accountability can address a range of issues in education including identification of ghost schools, teachers’ absence and infrastructure unavailability.
Fayyaz Yaseen of the SDPI briefed participants on salient features of the report and said the study employed Citizens Report Card (CRC), one of the social accountability tools, to assess user’s satisfaction on provision of quality education in public schools in the target areas of two slums in federal capital. He said the study reveals that about 40 per cent of students and parents are not satisfied with the quality of education provided in public schools.

He said that the report is result of recent SDPI study conducted in collaboration with Affiliated Network for Social Accountability South Asia Region to improve education services in public schools by sensitising people on social accountability concept while holding the public officials accountable.

Zehra Arshad, national coordinator of the Pakistan Coalition for Education, observed that social accountability is a political process which relates to empowerment of communities. Stressing on vigilant citizenry, she said the civil society should sensitise and mobilise the marginalised and discriminated public for their rights and entitlements.