ISLAMABAD, Jan 25 (APP): About 20 parliamentarians from all the provinces and political parties of Pakistan, and civil society organizations on Tuesday extended support to the newly formed Education Parliamentary Caucus (EPC).
The EPC has been formed to address key bottlenecks as well as formulate suggestions for decision makers for improving in the prevailing education system. The key focus of its efforts would be to make sure that education policies and plans could bridge the implementation gaps and effectively cater to the diverse real needs of children, adolescents and adults for quality education in Pakistan, a press release said.
Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani at the EPC’s launch here endorsed the initiative and extended his support to ensure quality education for all the children in Pakistan as enshrined in Article 25-A of the Constitution of Pakistan.
Balochistan Assembly Speaker Mir Jan Muhammad Khan Jamali also joined the virtual launch of EPC. Addressing the meeting, he said it was the responsibility of parliamentarians to take the initiative, which they should have done long ago.
“The only way forward for Pakistan is education and skilled education for girls and boys,” he added. Other parliamentarians represented in the EPC included Wajiha Qammar, Parliamentary Secretary, Federal Education and Professional Training; Dr. Nausheen Hamid, Parliamentary Secretary, Federal Ministry of National Health Services and MPAs from Punjab Aisha Nawaz Chaudhary, Tahir Khalil Sandhu and Abbas Ali Shah; MPAs from Sindh Tanzeela Qambarani, Syeda Marvi Rashdi; MPAs from Balochistan Bushra Rind, Ahmed Umar Khan Kalat, Senator Sana Jamali; and MPA Shagufta Malik from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.
Speaking about the EPC, MPA Chaudhary said, “Education is above all of us, it is the right of our children and duty of the state. The EPC is a great across party across province initiative, and engaging stakeholders from all across is very important.” “Excited to work towards the common objective of promoting education in Pakistan, PPP MPA Rashdi said, “The EPC is a great initiative that will surely help, observe and scrutinize the work of the Department for Educations in the provinces.
This will definitely make a difference pertaining to the children’s social needs, schools and colleges based up to the higher education system in our country.” Senator Sana Jamali congratulated civil society and parliamentarians for taking the much needed initiative to forming a parliamentary caucus for education.
She ensured that the Balochistan Assembly would extend maximum support to the cause. MPA Bushra Rind termed it a milestone and a step in the right direction to improve education in Pakistan as it played a huge role in social welfare, especially in improving the life and learning of children with disabilities.
Meanwhile, a letter has also been written to the decision makers to take evidence-based urgent actions for education in Pakistan. Addressing the president, prime minister, parliamentarians, ministers and secretaries of education and literacy in Pakistan, the letter requested support for the EPC and also put forth six recommendations for making transformative decisions impacting millions of children, youth and teachers.
Sharing the evidence from recently launched ASER Pakistan Learning Losses report, the letter stated that that lower primary or grade 3 children need urgent attention, as do other grades. There is an urgency to reorganize school timetables-pedagogy and focus on engaging remedial learning without stigma and light touch assessments to gauge the learning level of the child.
“Girls’ education and learning has to be a priority with support in schools. The need for second chance programs with Life skills and EdTech skills urgently was highlighted, backed by resources and with better linkages with Waseela-e-Taleem/BISP for girls at risk or OOS.
” Addressing the lower learning levels in Madrassahs, the letter recommended to assess Madrassahs on the ASER Basic Tools and provided with immediate remedial support. The letter also pointed out the urgent need to integrate Katchi Abadis in policies, planning and budgets; there must be a section in the Department of Education on “Education and Skills” in Katchi Abadis catering to range of education needs: 2nd Chance Learning and TEVT for livelihoods.
Early Childhood Education (ECE) – the foundation of all learning and cognitive, social emotional wiring –needs core govt. budgets for holistic support to children, facilities and capacity for caregivers and teachers/assistants.
To achieve this all, a New Social Compact is needed across schools and homes; teachers, students and parents, for continuity of learning and support, not just for children but parents to learn about hybrid approaches.
They must be part of all solutions in EdTech and social protection options; SMCs must be activated as vital social capital. The EPC will be working concurrently upon these recommendations at provincial and national levels to vigorously mobilize required resources and create pressure on parliament for the enactment of all relevant policies particularly Article 25A and SDG-4 with the support of partner organizations, including Sightsavers,
Pakistan Institute for Parliamentary Affairs, KKAF, Teach for Pakistan, Pakistan Alliance for Early Childhood, Pakistan Coalition for Education, Save The Children, VSO, Care International, Unicef Pakistan, Taleemabad/Orenda, Centre for Social Justice and EdLab Pakistan.