PUNJAB Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif recently presided over a meeting to review the progress of school reforms programme to improve their educational performance and convince parents to send their children to these institutions.
The programme is funded by the British government to ensure 100 per cent enrollment in the schools of Punjab.
The chief minister claimed that besides the provision of quality education other facilities were being provided to students at the school level.
In the curriculum nowadays in schools and colleges much of what students are learning is not important and is outdated. The majority of teachers is not capable of instilling curiosity and interest in students or simply motivating them to work by themselves or in a group.
A good competent teacher could help students through lectures to learn 20 to 25 per cent of the curriculum, the rest is entirely up to the student.
It is imperative that preferably women graduates teach at the primary school level. Unfortunately, more than three quarters of the population in Pakistan is still illiterate. Worse is the fact that the government is spending less than two per cent of the GDP on education when it should at least allocate four per cent of the GDP if we want to attain at least 75 per cent literacy by 2020.
Under the constitution it is the responsibility of the state and the government to ensure that every child at least has schooling for 10 years and it is the responsibility of the government to provide free-of-cost quality education up to the higher secondary level. Sadly, this is not being done.
Primary education is indeed in need of qualitative improvement. At present, one-third of the children in Punjab are going to seminaries as their parents can not afford uniforms and textbooks for them. Such children should be helped to attend government schools, and free board and lodging should be provided to them under the poverty alleviation programme from Zakat and Baitul Maal funds.
Without educating its people, Pakistan can never achieve the status of a developed country.
S. T. HUSSAIN Lahore