Chamber of Education KP with the support of DFID arranged a Post Budget Seminar on Education the other day at a private hotel which was attended by a large number of parliamentarians and educational stakeholders from civil society. The Chief Guests on the occasion for the two sessions were Speaker KP Assembly, AsadQaisar and Minister for Elementary Education Muhammad Atif Khan.
The impressive event entitled “A consultative dialogue with civil society and parliamentarians on KP education governance and budget” was a continuation of a previous workshop on `Managing Change in Education’ held earlier in July.
The main purpose of the event was to stimulate expansive and innovative thinking amongst educationists, opinion leaders, parliamentarians and various stakeholders on bringing about a positive change in the education field. Many distinguished speakers shared their insight and later participants, which also included a large number of parliamentarians, engaged in a moderated consultative discussion.
Welcoming the guests, Mr Zafarullah Khan the General Secretary of Chamber of Education gave an overview about the state of education in KP and stressed on the need for better governance system in Education and increased role of private sector for change management. While he hailed the increase in budget allocation by six times as compared to the past, he also lamented that private sector had no representation in the Education Working Group set up by the Reform Implementation Cell.
Highlighting the role of Chamber of Education in KP he informed, “The Chamber is a registered representative body of educational institutions in KP, Pakistan. It represents almost 6000 different educational institutions under different boards and universities which are spread all over the province.”
He stated that Chamber of Education is the only credible, apolitical and autonomous platform with such a broad base of support that it could develop a consensus agenda on educational reforms. He said the body was mandated to employ a bottoms up approach by involving all the relevant stakeholders and use education as a vehicle for change in the society.
In his remarks, the chief guest for the first session Muhammad AtifKhan, appreciated the efforts of DFID and Chamber of Education for organising the event. He admitted that ever since had assumed the ministerial portfolio he had arrived at one conclusion that the present education system is in tatters, mostly owing to political interference, lack of governance and other issues during previous governments.
He outlined a number of challenges and reiterated that his government had resolved to take up all the challenges and address all the problems. He discussed contours of various interventions in education which were being deliberated upon. Most of the initiatives relied on innovative and technological interventions.
He called upon Chamber of Education and participants for supporting the governments reform agenda and said he would welcome their input at every level sincerely. He said their efforts were geared towards depoliticizing the education sector. The government was focusing on teachers training and teacher’s monitoring and evaluation so they could come to par with current acceptable quality standards.
The other chief guest Speaker Asad Qaisar in his remarks, outlined PTI government’s priorities in general. He said that PTI government had to encounter a number of challenges when it came into power at the outset, such as formation of a coalition government, developing consensus on education, presenting budget in a short time and so on. He urged public to be a bit patient and reassured that this government will meet their expectations. He said, the new government wanted a change in status quo. “One syllabus for all schools will be in place starting from Nursery class by March 2014, Slowly but surely we shall extend it to other classes as well” he said. He also mentioned that private sector will be involved in all policy matters. Moreover, services of Dr Ata urRehman, formerly of HEC will also be sought and he will be taken on board for education reforms in KP.