The Blueprint of Pakistan’s New Educational Policy

Submitted by Shams Uddin on Sat, 2009-09-12 11:00.
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New Educational Policy Envisages Uniform System

The long awaited National Educational Policy (NEP) 2009, after facing many hiccups, has been finally approved the Federal Minister for Education Mir Hazar Khan Bijrani here on Wednesday.

The salient features of the policy, inter alia, are that 7% of GDP will be spent on education and efforts are afoot to introduce modern curriculum in madaris. There will be uniform system of education across the country.

The policy document which termed as “lining adaptable document” comprises of 11 chapters and includes overarching challenges and responses, filling the commitment gap, filling the implementation gap, Islamic education, broadening the base and achieving access, raising the quality of education, strengthening the skill development and innovation, higher education, implementation framework and the state of education in the country.

While addressing a press conference the minister highlighted the various clauses of the policy and also described policy actions. He said foremost priority in the policy has been given to the uniform system of education across the country.

“Common curriculum framework in general is as well as professional education will be applied to educational institutions in both the public and private sectors,” he said while adding that the government will take steps to bring the public and private sectors in harmony through common standards, quality and regulatory regimes. He said the students of madaris would be brought at par with the students of formal public secondary schools through introduction of formal subjects in madaris so that they could also contribute to the progress of the country,” he said.

He said they have been facing resistance from Wafaqul Madaris in this regard but hopefully they will reach some fruitful conclusion within two weeks. “Rehman Malik has been assigned the task to negotiate with the religious quarters in order to implement modern curriculum in madaris” he said.

While describing the purpose of behind the inclusion of the chapter “Islamic Education” in the policy, he said the objectives of teaching Islamiyat will be to ensure that all Muslim children are provided opportunities to learn, understand and apply the fundamental principles of Islam in their lives with the purpose of reformation and development of the society on the principles of Quran and Sunnah.

He said improvement in quality of Early Childhood Education (ECE) will be based on a concept of holistic development of the child that provides a stimulating, interactive environment, including play, rather than a focus on regimes requires rote learning and rigid achievement of standards.

“Provision of ECE shall be attached primary schools which will be provided with additional budget, teachers, and assistants for this purpose,” he said while adding that for ECE teachers a two-year specialized training in dealing with young children will be a necessary requirement.

Highlighting the chapter regarding the Secondary and Higher Secondary Education, he said grade XI and XII will not be part of the college level and will be merged into the school level forming part of existing secondary schools and where needed provision of necessary human resources shall be ensured.

A system for ranking of primary and secondary educational institutions across the country will be introduced with rankings based on results outcomes, extracurricular activities and facilities provided to the students, in order to encourage healthy competition between schools,” he said.

While point to steps regarding improvement in the quality of education, he said a Bachelors degree, with a B.Ed, will be the requirement for teaching at elementary level. “A Master level for the secondary and higher secondary, with a B.Ed, will be ensured by 2018,” he said while adding that PTC and CT will be phased out by encouraging the present set of teachers to improve their qualifications, while new hiring will be based on the advanced criteria.

The minister said that curriculum development and review process as well as textbooks review process will be standardized and institutionalized within the framework of the Federal Supervision of Curriculum, Textbooks and Maintenance of Standards of Education Act, 1976.

Professional Council like Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PM&DC) and Pakistan Engineering Council (PEC) shall be involved in consultations for relevant curriculum development,” he said.

Bijrani said steps will be taken to raise enrolment in higher educational sector from existing 4.7% to 10% by 2015 and 15% by 2020. “Investment in higher education shall be increased to 20% of the education budget along with an enhancement of the total education budget to 7% of GDP,” he said.

It is worth mentioning here that chapter number four “Islamic Education” had been added a month ago after consultation with Ittehad-e-Tanzeemat-e-Deeni Madaris and Ministry of Religion Affairs which declared Islamic Education as duty of the society and the state. It says ideology of the State of Islamic Republic of Pakistan and its fundamental principles were defined in the Objective Resolution 1949, which is part of the constitution.

The NEP has largely been agreed upon by all the federating units and has become a jointly owned national document. After the approval of the policy each province and area will develop implementation strategies and plans as per its won priorities including current ongoing activities.

At the Federal level, the Ministry of Education will collate the plans of the federating units to develop a national picture of educational progress for reporting to international for a and more importantly, presenting it to Inter-Provincial Education Ministers’ Conference—the highest body to oversee development of education in Pakistan.

The NEP 2009 analyses problems and issues hampering the development of education in Pakistan, and outlines a wide range of reforms and policy actions to be taken and pursued in a coordinated federal-inter-provincial process.

The NEP thus outlines what is to be done. The NEP does not deal with who will be what, how something will be done and when something is done?
Past national education policy documents, with some exceptions, largely remained declaration ofs of intent and were not followed up by an effective implementation. Even where implementation did take place, there was no complete process for monitoring and feedback.

To prevent failure of this policy and implementation framework, with a follow up and feedback mechanism will be developed. The basic principles agreed in the 13th Meeting Inter-Provincial Education Minister (IPEM) held on 9 th May, 2008 in Islamabad. The meeting decided and directed that “An Action Plan” will be developed by each Province/Area and collated at the Federal level”.

The purpose of the Action Plan will be to outline, create an understanding and achieve consensus across the federating units as well as within each province and areas, on who will be responsible and who will do what, how will it be done (implementation process, organizational set-up interaction of working groups and advisory panels), and when would be something done (priorities and time scheduling).

Courtesy: The News International, Thursday, September 10, 2009

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