KARACHI: Former federal minister Javed Jabbar said it was high time the Education Department of provincial governments link up with academic reform initiatives of private sector so that their impact could be multiplied and expanded to cover large sections of teachers and students associated with the government-run school systems.
He was delivering the keynote address at the opening ceremony of the two-day “Badal Do Teachers’ Expo” at a local hotel in Karachi on Sunday. He recommended that Sindh Education Foundation being part of provincial government’s educational set-up should become part of the praiseworthy initiatives like “Badal Do” where a number of private sector’s like-minded organizations got together to inculcate values of tolerance, cultural diversity, pluralism and civic responsibility among teachers
Former Senator Jabbar urged the federal and provincial governments to link-up three parallel education systems that continue to produce three different sets of educated Pakistanis. “These three systems that are matriculation, Cambridge, and Madressah education don’t have any inter-connection with each other as they represent three different income groups in Pakistani society,” said the former federal minister and noted scholar.
“There should be an attempt to introduce a broadly singular education system in the country in place of these three lethal divisions in the society,” he said. “This kind of three parallel streams of education continues to reinforce negative phenomena of inequity, disparity, and lack of cohesion on massive scale in the society,” said the former Senator. He said that 20 million children were of out of schools in the country, which accounted for 10 per cent of 200 million total population of Pakistan.
Jabbar said that was a very alarming figure, which posed a daunting challenge for the government to educate all the countrymen. He said that recently the world renowned UK-based magazine the Economist had recently recognized and appreciated well educational reforms being observed to improve govt-run schooling systems in Pakistan especially in the provinces of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab.
Such an appreciation by a well-reputed international magazine showed well the promising nature of Pakistani education system where reforms could bring massive improvement in favour of both students and teachers, he said. Shahnaz Wazir Ali, former special assistant to prime minister and ex-chairperson of Higher Education Commission, appreciated that the “Badal Do” initiative had rightly targeted schoolteachers as the most effective agents of change in the society.
She said that schoolteachers should focus on their own cultural diversity and pluralistic nature of Pakistani society and the related values of tolerance and peaceful co-existence among different sections of population as the same set of values should be taught to the students. She said that there was a need to bring reforms and improvement in school curriculum to help inculcate such good social values among the teachers.
Senior journalist Zubeida Mustafa inaugurated exhibition of photographs taken by the trainee teachers of the Badal Do programme, reflecting on their perception of diversity and plurality in the city of Karachi, where the programme has been piloted. The audience of the ceremony were informed that the “Badal Do” conducted trainings for 400 teachers of 204 schools in low and middle income group areas of Karachi to educate them about good social values that would help them to understand and appreciate cultural, linguistic, ethnic, and religious diversity of Pakistani population and culture. The training sessions also taught teachers about important civic responsibilities and good social practices. The training sessions were spread over one year.
In the next phase, the” Badal Do” initiative plans to go for a broader community outreach by engaging the whole school, management teachers and students, as well as parents, guardians and other community members, through involvement of 5,000 teachers in 300 schools of the city. The Badal do team invited not just schools to join in but private sector citizens to help assist schools in implementing this programme.