60% schools remain without drinking water facility, 40% without electricity, and 35% without any boundary walls. Over 40,000 ghost teachers and 5,229 ghost schools loiter unaddressed in Sindh despite allocation of Rs. 145.02 billion budget for education.
The Provincial Meeting on Education Governance convened in Karachi today to discuss the current state of education in Sindh. The roundtable discussion took place among the key stakeholders of in the education sector. The participants highlighted the importance of government and media partnership to enhance accountability. The meeting was organized by Mishal Pakistan in collaboration with ILM Ideas (a 3 year UKaid funded program).
The objective of ILM-o-AGAHI initiative is to improve accountability and media coverage of priority education issues and build consensus on education policies by engaging stakeholders, including media and policy makers.
Fazlullah Pechuho, Secretary Education to the Government of Sindh, Aamir Latif, President Press Club Karachi, and representatives of the non-governmental organizations and the journalist community attended the roundtable dialogue.
Puruesh Chaudhary, Director Mishal Pakistan, facilitating the group discussion said that, “education is a neglected theme in Pakistan, while the government has not given education sector a priority, media has also failed to safeguard the rights of the citizen to universal education”. Education reporting lacks the accountability perspective, she further said.
‘During Pervez Musharraf’s tenure schools used to be constructed without any need assessment, this has resulted in an uneven distribution of institutions across the province’, said Dr. Fazlullah Pechehu, Secretary Education, Government of Sindh. He also stressed on the importance of constructive role of journalism in monitoring government’s work in the education sector. He further added that the system of accountability is there but it is defective. He also said that the merit-based recruitment of teachers is essential to improve the education sector. He also informed that his department has got the approval of the cabinet for public and private partnership for schools in Sindh.
Aamir Latif, senior journalist, while moderating the discussion highlighted that in past, the most incompetent individuals used to join police department or the teaching sector, which has led to the current state of education in Sindh.
Mishal Pakistan with academicians and researchers produced a literature review in 2014 assessing an overarching complexity and trivial underlying causes that has subjugated the communities to an idealistic narrative on education. The study witnesses “Education Governance and Accountability” as the most underreported area in media. While the literature reviewed does speak volume of increasing public spending on education little does it discuss the possible Educational Governance models. This underreporting further positions the growing need for a dialogue to essentially build mechanisms that streamlines the transparency and utility of existing budgetary allocation for primary and secondary education.
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. Agahi Awards, an annual series of awards for journalism in Pakistan, is another initiative of Mishal Pakistan, developed under the umbrella of the Credibility Lab at Mishal for creating an appreciation methodology for ethical and quality content. The theme of this year’s Agahi awards is also going to be ‘Education’.