Media should expose political interference in education: ILM-O-AGAHI Workshop
Hyderabad, PK – 10 April 2014 – “Education should be the first priority of government in Sindh, whereas 3 out of every four non functional or ghost schools in Pakistan are in Sindh; media should expose any political interference in the education sector”, this was the consensus at the ILM-o-AGAHI education journalism workshop in Hyderabad today.
President, Hyderabad Press Club, Ishaq Mangrio, while addressing to the participants’ queries said, “Focus on education reporting can put the system back on track and journalists specifically should expose political interference in the education sector”. “Women should be encouraged to report on education. Pakistan’s media can play an active role in creating a demand for quality education in the country,” he added.
Sharing views with participants about current state and challenges of education sector, former regional deputy director, Private Institutions, Dr. Shahida Parveen Abro said that according to the article 37(b) of the constitution, the state should remove illiteracy and provide free and compulsory secondary education within minimum possible period. Mangrio further said “providing education rights to the children and citizen of Sindh should be the benchmark of success of governance of any government.
Senior journalist and lead trainer for the ILM-o-AGAHI education journalism workshop, Mubashir Zaidi, while discussing about the role of media, said that journalists covering education reporting should focus on more field reporting. He further said unfortunately the news managers and editors do not give priority to education reporting in the country. Reporting on education can drive reader’s interest only when journalists report the complete picture on the state of education.
Mumtaz Ali Pirzada, a representative of Idara Taleem-o-Agahi, while sharing the findings of Annual Status of Education Report 2013 about Hyderabad said, “Only one in four children in Hyderabad can read sentence in English. While learning levels of children between the age of 6-16 years are quite weak in Hyderabad, 70% boys and 30% girls are enrolled in government schools, this ratio changes to 49% boys and 51% girls in the private sector-led schools.
Asif Farooqui, Program Manager, ILM-o-AGAHI, said that, “Education spending in Sindh is not rationalised and resources are not allocated according to the needs. Across Sindh, 77% of government school buildings are in an unsatisfactory condition, almost half of the government schools in Sindh are missing basic toilet facility.” He further said, according to Human Development Report 2013 by UNDP “Pakistan ranks 177th out of 187 countries globally in terms of public spending. Pakistan spends 2% of total GDP on education.
According to the recent survey on non-functional and ghost schools by the Supreme Court of Pakistan, Thatta and Tharparkar have the highest number of non-functional or ghost schools in the country. “All sectors of community, work collectively for the betterment of education sector in Sindh, as the quality of education will decide the fate of the nation” renowned speakers discussed this at the ILM-o-AGAHI education journalism workshop. The participants consisted of thirty leading education journalists from Hyderabad and its peri-urban areas. A large number of participants from academia, civil society and media attended the ILM-o-AGAHI education journalism workshop.
The ILM-o-AGAHI workshop was organized by Mishal Pakistan in collaboration with
Ilm Ideas (a 3 year UKaid funded program). More than thirty education reporters from leading media entities of print, television, radio and online journalism were selected for this workshop.
According to the Alif Ailaan education data, there are 12 million children in Sindh between the age of 5 and 16, of which 6.1 million or 50% are out of school. More than half of the children out of school are girls.
Adnan Farooqui, senior communication expert, shared his experiences on the art of story telling through social media. He said that, “the advancement in social media has brought about a radical change in journalism”.
Through the ILM-o-AGAHI initiative, 18 education journalism workshops will be held across Pakistan for education reporters to increase their capacity and improve the coverage on education issues in media. In each workshop, more than 30 education reporters will be selected to enhance their capacity to report on identified educational challenges and issues to improve understanding and skills among journalists to capture community’s perspective and voice including children’s voice.
Mishal Pakistan is the partner institute of the Center for International Media Ethics and the Global Competitiveness and Benchmarking Networks of the World Economic Forum. Mishal assists the forum in creating soft-data on Pakistan, identifying Pakistan’s competitiveness challenges including primary health & education and higher education.
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