Sindh PA legislates to reform education sector


The Sindh Assembly Monday enacted the law to set up the Sindh Teachers Educational Development Authority (STEDA) to provide for the training of the teachers, their educational progress and capacity enhancement.
During a reassembly at the Sindh Assembly Building under the chairmanship of Speaker Nisar Khuhro, the provincial legislature adopted the 29-clasue and 13-page Sindh Teachers Education Development Authority Bill, 2012 unanimously. To be set up under the Prime Minister’s Education Policy, the body would work as a sort of watchdog to monitor the standard of teachers’ training and the overall education system in the province. The bill envisages the constitution of a 13-member board that will consist of the education minister as a chairman and other members representing various figures ranging from the teachers’ education institutes to the civil society. Also, an amendment was inserted in the bill to induct three members of the provincial assembly, including the Standing Committee on Education chairman. The amended bill was tabled by Education Minister Pir Mazharul Haq who said the provincial government had decided to reform the long-neglected education sector on the grassroots level by providing incentives to the teachers. In addition to the formerly appointed 14,000 teachers, his government will also hire 19,000 more teachers across the province and allot them Grade 16. The new appointments will be made on the basis of MCQ-based tests to be conducted in a ‘foolproof’ manner under the criteria set by the World Bank. The project will be funded by the European Union, the minister said. The teachers in both the public and private education institutes will be issued licenses to teach, Pir Mazhar said while initiating a general discussion on the bill. The bill was formulated by the government with the help of a team of education experts, including Dr Abdul Wahab, Dr Arif Shah, Anwar Ahmedzai, Dr Suleman Sheikh, Sadiqa Salahuddin, Dr Muhammad Memon and other academicians from various varsities during a six- to seven-month period. “For first time in the 64-year history of Pakistan we invited the educationists to advise the government on teachers’ training,” the minister said when MQM’s Shoaib Bukhari questioned the competence of the educationists given the current poor state of education. MQM lawmaker Sardar Ahmed did not approve when Pir Mazhar said good news regarding education expenditure was expected in the forthcoming provincial budget. The MQM parliamentary party leader said during nine months of 2012 the government had spent on education Rs 30 billion, which he said would total at Rs 39 billion by end-June. “This is the largest allocation to education sector,” he added. The education minister was apologetic when lawmakers from the PPP and the MQM complained not to have received copies of the bill for reading. Those who spoke on the general principles of the bill included Sardar Ahmed, Shoaib Bukhari, Shazia Marri, Khwaja Izharul Hassan, Rafique Engineer, Dr Ahmed Ali Shah, Humera Alwani, Anwar Maher, Sharjeel Memon, Dr Sikandar Shoro, Kulsoom Chandio, Bachal Shah and Khalid Ahmed. Marri said the legislation was welcome as it was aimed at reforming the roots and not branches of a tree as has been the case in the past.