Mishal in Media

Call to restructure Provincial Education Department

Publication: Daily Baluchistan Express
Date: June 27, 2014
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QUETTA: Speakers at seminar on the current status of education in Balochistan said that the post 18th amendment

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devolution made education a provincial subject, forcing provinces to take charge and be responsible to improve the state of education for their populace.

“However, the capacity to deliver still lags behind as compared to the current situation and challenges,” this was the consensus at editors’ and reporters during a round table meeting organized by ILM-O-AGAHI here in the provincial capital on Thursday.

“The need to restructure and build capacity of provincial Education Departments is badly felt. Baluchistan is the most neglected province in terms of education and the situation still further continues to deteriorate not only in terms of physical infrastructure but also in human capital as well”, said the speakers during the discussion which was attended by a number of senior journalists, bureau-chiefs and editors from leading national and regional newspapers, radio broadcasters and television channels also participated in the roundtable.

The round table was organized by Mishal Pakistan in collaboration with Ilm Ideas. Earlier in the day a training workshop on education journalism was also organized and attended by more than 30 journalists reporting on education from various news organizations.

Addressing the participants, Mubashir Zaidi, senior journalist and the lead trainer for the education journalism workshop said that quality stories are crucial in journalism but both journalists and policy makers should start using data on education to improve the state of education in Baluchistan. “Journalists identify community’s needs and can play a key role in setting the priorities of governments,” he added.

While sharing his views, ILM-o-AGAHI program manager, Asif Farooqui said the Pakistani media lacks a framework to appreciate quality journalism on education, adding that that this year the AGAHI Awards will have special categories on education.

“According to Alif Ailaan’s Pakistan District Education Rankings 2014, Baluchistan ranks lowest in education ranking among provinces and territories. There is an alarming situation of shortage of teachers in the province. 58% of the total government primary schools operate with only one teacher. The report also reveals that 62% girls between the ages 5-16 years are out of school in Baluchistan,” he said.

He said that the objective of ILM-O-AGAHI initiative is to improve accountability and media coverage of priority education issues and build consensus on education policies by engaging various stakeholders, including media and policy makers.

“Through the ILM-O-AGAHI initiative, 18 education journalism workshops have been held across Pakistan in the last two months. In each workshop, more than 30 education reporters participated in daylong sessions. These workshops were aimed to engage the journalists reporting on education. The journalists participated in these workshops through interactive sessions, role playing exercises and peer review of their news content development skills,” he said.

Underlining the objectives of Mishal, Asif Farooqui said that 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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