Published Date: Feb 7, 2012
SPEAKERS STRESS FOR INCREASING INVESTMENT IN EDUCATION FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN PAKISTAN
February 2012) Investment in education is the key to sustainable human development, said speakers in the seminar on ‘education and human development’ organized by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) here on Monday. Dr Shaukat Farooq, President, Knowledge-Based Welfare Society (KBS) Islamabad spoke at the occasion while Arif Naveed, Senior Research Associate, SDPI moderated the proceedings.
Dr Farooq, speaking about the relationship between education and human development, said sustainable human and economic development can only be achieved by investing in education sector. He said poverty and ignorance are our biggest evils that led to the lack of national identity that can only be achieved by making quality, uniform, compulsory and free for all education. He said Pakistan must immediately increase its education budget from 1.5 to 5 percent of the GDP.
He said progress and development in the West occurred due to social and industrial development while knowledge played a central role in this process. These countries, he added, made compulsory education for all about hundred years ago which led today’s modern human and economical development in these countries.
Discussing reforms and improvement in education sector, Dr. Farooq suggested teachers training and establishing network of vocational centers, He made passionate appeal to create a national awareness drive towards educating future
generations to put Pakistan on path to progress.
Earlier he also presented a petition in house urging the government to provide free and quality basic education at par with international standards. He also urged the people to ask their political candidates about their priority agenda on education before casting votes in forthcoming parliamentary elections.
Arif Naveed said that education can foster human development by promoting democracy. However, for promoting democratic values, education needs to enhance the critical abilities of the students and build their reflective capacities
which in turn are dependent upon the contents of education and the way these are delivered to the students in the form of textbooks.
He further said, inculcating the concerns for social justice through education is also critical in promoting democracy but a deeper look into the curricula and textbooks in public schooling system finds an overwhelming emphasis upon religio-nationalism which constructs the notion of citizenship threatened around the national and religious identities. He also cited a recent study conducted by SDPI which has highlighted that education was promoting religious discrimination, through
negative portrayal of the religious diversity in the textbooks and pejorative attitudes of teachers.
Such an education system, he said, seriously threatens the pluralist values hence compromising the prospects for democracy. He suggested, Pakistan needs a complete overhaul of the education system by rewriting better textbooks
and promoting pedagogical techniques that enhance the analytical, critical and reflective capacities of the students.