ISLAMABAD: Although it will be a herculean task for the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) led government to bring about the promised reforms in the long-neglected education sector, the education ministry has taken a number of steps during the first 100 days to fix the problems, Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood briefed the premier during his presentation in the special cabinet meeting.
Well-placed sources told Pakistan Today that Federal Minister for Federal Education and Professional Training Shafqat Mahmood, during his performance review on Monday, informed Prime Minister Imran Khan that a number of steps have been taken in the education sector.
They said that the minister first informed the premier about the problems in the education sector and later briefed him about the strategy adopted by his ministry.
The premier was told that the standard of education could be judged from the fact that downslide trend has been witnessed in the literacy rate which went down from 60% to 58% and more than 41% of the enrolled children in primary school drop out before completing grade 5.
Besides, he said that there is a very low enrolment in middle and high schools which would be taken on a priority basis.
The minister informed that to tackle the most challenging issues, a national task force on education has been formed with the approval of the federal cabinet that identified key challenges in education sector such as to enroll 25 million out-of-school children, to ensure uniform education system, to ensure the quality of education and skill development for all.
During the 100 days, the national education policy framework 2018 document has been approved, published and launched which reflected the priority agenda of the present government for the education sector.
In line with the vision of the government, charter to convert the PM House into Islamabad National University (INU) has been prepared and under process for approval and a search committee has been notified by this ministry for the appointment of VC, they added.
Besides, they said that the PC-1 of the university has been prepared and processed for approval.
The sources said that an international conference on emerging challenges for Pakistan and region will be held on December 21-22, 2018, at the PM House, Islamabad.
The National Skill University (NSU) has been inaugurated which would be functional by fall 2019 and operationalised and a search committee for appointment of the vice-chancellor has been notified which will be made by the end of this month.
In line with the national education policy framework 2018 and the priorities of the present government, the federal minister for education has rolled out a campaign to bring all out of school children to schools at Islamabad capital territory (ICT) on November 27, 2018 and six children have been enrolled in various schools in the federal capital by the federal minister in which the community, civil society organisation and non-governmental organisations are partnering the cause.
A national curriculum council has been established with the mandate to introduce a uniform national curriculum for quality education in the country.
The government has made the biometric attendance system in FDE schools fully functional to ensure the presence of teaching and non-teaching staff in public schools of Islamabad through a centralised monitoring dashboard, and integration with Human Resource Management System (HRMS) for transfer/posting of staff.
He informed the premier that a new FDE DG has been appointed and the directors have been reshuffled to revamp the directorate.
Moreover, they said that a national skill forum has been established to provide a platform for all stakeholders to enhance coordination and uniformity of action, besides assigning the task to it of need assessment and ensuring quality.
He said that the private sector engagement cell has been established with National TVET policy launched. To build National consensus of Education priorities of the government, inter-provincial Education Minister’s Conference (IPEMC) held on November 12, 2018 at Islamabad, it was conveyed.
A steering committee has been constituted to ensure implementation of the e-office system that would be fully functional by February 15, 2019.
A policy for the Pakistan’s higher education institutions offering degree programs in collaboration with foreign universities has been announced and degree attestation process has been simplified for public convenience, the premier was told in the briefing.