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5% Children in Azad Jammu & Kashmir still out of School with remaining 95% learning not satisfactory as well.

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5% Children in AJK still out of School with remaining 95% learning not satisfactory as well.

Pakistan’s education reporting in media fairly weak: ILM-O-AGAHI Workshop

Mirpur Azad Jammu & Kashmir – 14 March, 2014 – Pakistan’s education and academia reporting within the industry is fairly weak. Alarming factors contributing to the knowledge deficit is the media’s limited exposure to real challenges of education sector in Pakistan and lack of relevant trainings in the media sector.

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“Most of the issues related to education and literacy are being reported not in the right context; this not only undermines but also diminishes the importance of educational, training and child development challenges faced by the society.” This was stated by Prof. Dr. Muhammad Arif Khan, Principal Govt. Degree College Mirpur, at the inaugural session ILM-o-Agahi education journalism workshop held at Kasmir Press Club, Mirpur Azad Jammu and Kashmir today.

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The ILM-o-AGAHI, one day workshop was organized by Mishal Pakistan in collaboration with Ilm Ideas (a 3 year UKaid funded program). More than thirty education reporters participated in the workshop.

Speaking at the workshop, Syed Abid Hussain Shah, President, Kashmir Press Club, said that “the ILM-o-AGAHI initiative will help strengthen media institutions and create awareness on the education emergency. The initiative will facilitate sustainable literacy and educational development, providing children especially girls a better access to educational facilities.” He further said “It will encourage journalists to create narratives which enable equal access to education for all while analyzing the policy reforms within the education sector.” Media will play its role to safeguard the right of the citizens to education and better life, added Hussain.

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Senior Journalist, Mubashir Zaidi conducted the training workshop and shared with the participants that, “more awareness amongst the general public on issues concerning quality and quantum of education in Pakistan is required. It is important to create dialogue on such issues fetching immediate attention of concerned authorities and stakeholders.” Zaidi told the participants the according to article 25-A of the constitution of Pakistan, “The state shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of 5 to 16 years in such manner as may be determined by law”, however according to the Economic Survey of Pakistan (2011-12) only 59% of children have been enrolled in schools across Pakistan.

10001415_10151864134166362_2073638714_nAsif Farooqui, Program Manager, ILM-o-AGAHI, while discussing the salient features of the initiative said that, a learning platform for journalists on education would be developed as a ready reference for journalists working on education related issues. He further said, “Mishal is also introducing special categories on education journalism in the upcoming annual journalism “AGAHI Awards 2014” to promote education journalism in Pakistan.”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAZaheer Abbas, ASER Pakistan representative, discussed ASER’s findings on education in AJK with the Journalists during the session. He said according to the Annual Status of Education Report – ASER 2013 National Survey, fortunately, the percentage of out of school children, in AJK, is one of the lowest in the country, at 5%. However, despite this good news, the learning levels of the remaining 95% are not satisfactory.

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, 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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