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Every 7th school in Sindh is non functional.

Every 7th school in Sindh is non functional.

Sindh is facing an education emergency: ILM-O-AGAHI Workshop.

Education sector is one of the most neglected area in Sindh, whereas ghost schools are the most crucial issue in Sindh”, this was the consensus at the ILM-o-AGAHI education journalism workshop in Karachi today.

According to the recent survey of non functional and ghost schools by Supreme Court of Pakistan, there are at least 6,164 non functional and ghost schools in Sindh, this means every 7th school in Sindh is non functional. “There is a dire need to address the education emergency in Sindh, as the future of the next generations depend on the quality of education”, this was discussed by renowned speakers from media, academia and civil society while addressing the participants of the workshop. 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.

Senior journalist, Mubashir Zaidi, while discussing about the current state of education and role of media, said that the government of Sind spends an estimated Rs. 573 million on schools that exist only on paper. The scope of problem of ghost teachers is crucial as there is no data available on that; however, media reports suggest that many teachers draw salaries from education department without showing up for their jobs.

“Education sector is the most neglected area in media, however with the help of civil society, media should play an active role in promoting education” he added. While discussing the role of media in policy development, Dr. Tahir Masood, Chairman, Department of Mass Communication, University of Karachi, said that learning outcome of children is also a big issue and requires the attention of education policy makers. Sindh’s children score poorly in reading and mathematics compared to children with the rest of the country. “59% of class 5 students in Sindh cannot read a story fluently in Urdu or Sindhi”, Dr. Masood said.

Senior journalist and media researcher Afia Salam, while talking on the role of media in a society’s evolution said, “Education plays significant role in development of a society, due to advancement in education sector, developed countries makes progress by leaps and bounds in all segments of life. Pakistan’s media can play an active role in creating a demand for quality education in the country”.

At the workshop, Asif Farooqui, Program Manager, ILM-o-AGAHI, said that, “Education spending in Sindh is not rationalized 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 the basic facility of toilet”. He further said, “to encourage journalists to create public debates on education, Mishal is also introducing special categories on education journalism in the upcoming annual journalism “AGAHI Awards 2014”.

Adnan Farooqui, senior communication expert, shared his experiences on the art of story-telling through social media. He briefed the participants about how social media is changing trends of journalism across the globe. How digital communication has made the entire news expression in 145 words. 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.

For more information please visit: www.ilmoagahi.org

 

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