Education top priority The convention organised by Alif Ailaan

Rawalpindi :05 July: A multi-party convention was held in Rawalpindi to discuss the failing state of education in District Rawalpindi, analyse the five-year education plans of contesting candidates and probe reasonable solutions to ensure quality education across the government-run schools. The convention was organised by Alif Ailaan and Sustainable Social Development Organisation (SSDO), and attended by Barrister Danyal (PML-N for NA-62), Sheikh Arsalan (PML-N for PP-16) Sumera Gul (PPP for NA-62), Col. Amjad Sabir (PTI for NA-59), Haji Rizwan Ahmad Awan (MMA-JI for NA-PP-14), Sheikh Rashid Ahmad (AML for NA-62) and Dr Azhar Aslam (Independent Candidate for NA-60) along with civil society members. Analysis of the educational landscape in Rawalpindi revealed that availability of schools beyond primary access, quality of education, missing facilities and poor school infrastructure are the three most important factors contributing to failing education standards in Rawalpindi. As per Annual School Census 2017 done by Punjab Government, 62% of all the schools in the district are primary schools. There are only 40 higher secondary schools in district Rawalpindi which make 2% of the total schools. The students graduating primary schools do not have enough schools to attend post primary. The middle and high or higher secondary schools are at greater distances from their households. Lack of schools beyond primary levels explains why there is a drop in the enrolment rates as we move up the higher classes. This trend can be observed as there is only 1 middle school for every 4 primary schools. There is only 1 higher secondary school for every 10 high schools in the district. Almost half of the schools in the district have unsatisfactory building condition. 57 schools have buildings which fall under the category “completely repairable”. 23 schools in the district have dangerous buildings. There are 120 schools in the district that do not have a boundary wall and 141 schools are not secured because of no main gate. Rawalpindi is ranked at the bottom of the province based on the learning outcomes demonstrated by the students in PEC assessments. The learning outcomes in Science are specifically low. One of the reasons is a shortage of science labs and subject specialist teachers in schools. Out of the 17,443 teachers appointed in the district, only 2,501 (14%) are subject specialist teachers and only 338 (2%) are senior subject specialists.282 of the 428 high and higher secondary schools in district Rawalpindi lack science labs. 83 schools lack physics lab, 86 schools lack biology lab, 89 schools lack chemistry lab. When asked about their 5-year plan to reform public school system in their constituencies, Barrister Danyal stressed upon investing more in early and primary years learning and teachers training, discounting the value in creating science labs and building school infrastructure. MMA-JI’s candidate Haji Rizwan announced to spend 5% of Pakistan’s GDP towards education if their party forms the government. PTI’s Col. Amjad Sabir promised to increase salaries for teachers and providing more research, instructional and learning tools and science labs in Rawalpindi’s schools and classrooms for improved student-teacher relationship. Dr Azhar Aslam spoke about introducing Speed Education programme, an accelerated learning programme for out-of-school children who can do their matriculation within four years of starting the programme.The news.

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