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Infrastructure of 76% Schools in Sukkur Unsatisfactory

Future of next generation depends on quality of education, Dr. Arshad Mughal, Advisor to CM Sindh.
Despite government’s pre election promise to increase the budget allocation on education to 4% of GDP over the next five years, Pakistan still spends a meager 1.9 % of the GDP on education. Due to such low expenditure, Pakistan is among the least spending countries on education. The situation has led to an emergency situation in the education sector”.  This was the consensus at the ILM-o-AGAHI education journalism workshop in Sukkur today.
“All the sectors of community have to work collectively for the to improve the socio-economic situation of the people”, this was stated by Dr. Arshad Mughal, Advisor to Chief Minister Sindh, 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.
According to Annual Status of Education Report 2013 (ASER Pakistan) there are 22% out of school children in Sukkur between the ages of 5 to 16 years. The 39% government schools in Sukkur have no boundary wall and 54% without electricity.
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 Sukkur 76% of government school buildings are in an unsatisfactory condition, almost half of the government schools in Sindh are missing the facility of electricity”, this is an alarming situation as Sukkur ranks 5th among 23 districts in Sindh on the Alif Ailaan’s District Education Rankings 2013 for schools and 8th on the quality of education in Sindh.
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.
Member PPP Sindh Council and former Tehsil Nazim, Mohammad Aslam Sheikh, shared his views with participants about the current state and challenges for female education in the region. He said, Evidence from around the world suggests that increasing investment in girls schooling is one of the most cost-effective way for socio economic development”.
Senior journalist and lead trainer for ILM-o-AGAHI, Mubashar Zaidi, while addressing to the participants said, “The situation is worst in rural Sindh as compared to other parts of the country. There is a dire need to address the issue of non-functional schools in Sindh. Education is one of the most neglected areas of reporting and media organizations should allocate sufficient space for education stories”, he added.
President, Sukkur Union of Journalist, Jan Mohammad Meher, while addressing the participants, stressed that journalists should focus more on field reporting. Reporting on education can drive reader’s interest only when journalists report the complete picture. The education story should be around facts and real life issues. He further said, according to Alif Ailaan Education District Rankings “Sukkur ranks 98thcountry wide in terms of enrollment, literacy rate and basic education standard out of 145 districts across Pakistan.”
Mumtaz Ali Pirzada, Regional Coordinator, Idara Taleem-o-Agahi, shared the findings of Annual Status of Education Report with participants. He said, ASER 2013 reflects that every single child among four school going children is out of school and remaining three are deprived of Quality Education. ASER 2013 states that out of four children studying in class five only ONE can read story in Sindhi/Urdu. Same is the case with learning levels of English and Arithmetic. Stakeholders are highly urged to take considerable actions to promote quality education in Sukkur.
Social media expert, Ahsan Mukhtar discussed the art of storytelling through social media and said that social media has become an integral part of day-to-day journalism and has catalyzed communication flow in today’s world. Journalist use social media to find and publish news throughout the world.
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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