Publication: Daily Business Recorder
Date: April 2, 2014
Web Address; http://www.brecorder.com/general-news/172/1168714/
“Pakistan today needs more emphasis on education sector and media should also follow suit. Education sector is one of the most neglecting areas in reporting in media. Journalists often find it boring to report or securitize the education sector. Lack of stakeholder’s interest and commitment to the education sector makes it different for reporters to do follow up on education policy or scrutinise education budget allocation. This was stated by Ex. Minister for Education, Punjab, Mian Imran Masood, at the ILM-o-AGAHI education journalism workshop held in Lahore, today.
The ILM-o-AGAHI, one day workshop was organised by Mishal Pakistan in collaboration with Ilm Ideas (3 year UK aid funded program). More than thirty education reporters from all leading media entities, from print, television, radio and online journalism, were selected for the workshop.
Award winning senior journalist, Mubashir Zaidi said that Pakistan’s media should play an active role inpromoting education for the marginalized segments of the society as it can help to eliminate economic disparity through the introduction of quality education. “New entrants in the field of journalism should therefore strive to sensitise the people on the importance of education, as education is the key to success for progress” he added.
Asif 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. “The objective of ILM-o-AGAHI initiative is to encourage journalists to create narratives which enable equal access to education for all while analysing the policy reforms within the education sector and aimed to strengthen institutions” he added.
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.”
Saad Hamid, social media expert, spoke on the art of story-telling through social media. He said in the age of social media, journalism has seen a paradigm shift with the advent of citizen journalism where everyone is in some way involved in spreading news around. Social Media has broken all social and cultural barriers and has extended the reach of a journalist globally. The role of social media in digital storytelling is crucial. Finding a news, verifying it and publishing has seen a revolutionary change and has helped take transparency to better levels.
Huma Zia, Research and Policy Analyst, Idara-e-Taleem-o-Agahi, discussed Annual Status of Education Report’s findings on education with the Journalists during the session. She said according to the Annual Status of Education Report – ASER 2013 National Survey that 16 % children have no access to school between the ages of 5-16 years.
Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) is a household based citizen led large scale assessment seeking evidence on learning and access. According to the Punjab findings 34 % children enrolled in class 5 cannot read a class 2 story in Urdu, 38% class 5 children cannot read English stories and 44% cannot do 2 digit division. “The government needs to shift its focus from ‘access’ to ‘access plus learning’ for sustainable growth” she added.
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.