Changing gears: Education seminar promotes reforms

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A seminar on education in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) was held by the Chamber of Education with support from the Department for International Development at a private hotel, according to a handout issued by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) media cell on Friday.

The event, held on Thursday, was attended by Assembly Speaker Asad Qaisar and Minister for Elementary Education Muhammad Atif Khan in addition to a number of parliamentarians and civil society members.

The handout stated the goal of the event titled ‘A Consultative Dialogue with Civil Society and Parliamentarians on K-P Education, Governance and Budget’ was to encourage innovative thinking among all stakeholders on educational matters.

According to the handout, chief guest Asad Qaisar claimed a uniform syllabus would be put in place for all schools by March 2014. He added this syllabus would be extended to all classes and the private sector would be involved in all policy matters in the future.

Meanwhile, Muhammad Atif Khan claimed the state of education was deteriorating in the province. He maintained this was mostly due to political interference and outlined a number of other issues faced in the education sector.

“We should support the government’s reform agenda, as the efforts are geared towards depoliticising the education sector,” claimed the minister, adding the government was paying particular attention to teacher training and evaluation in order to set standards that were acceptable.

The handout also stated Chamber of Education General Secretary Zafarullah Khan gave an overview of the state of education in the province and stressed on the need for a better system of governance. “While the increase in the education budget should be hailed, it should be mentioned the private sector has no representation in the education working group set up by the Reform Implementation Cell,” Khan was quoted as saying.

The general secretary also maintained the Chamber of Education was the only credible, apolitical and autonomous platform with a broad base of support which could achieve a consensus on education reforms.

The presentations were followed by an interactive discussion which was opened to the house.