Concerns over implementation of new education policy voiced
           
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By Syeda Shehrbano Kazim | 10/2/2015 12:00:00 AM
ISLAMABAD: Experts and educationists at the Teachers` Literature Festival questioned the need for a new education policy in the presence of so many similar existing policies and appeared sceptical about its implementation.

Speaking at `Asaataza Kee Awaz: National Education Policy 2016`, Alif Ailaan`s Mosharraf Zaidi said he wondered what happened to earlier policies.

`A new education policy is being drafted yet we are not aware of what happened to earlier policies and why the government failed to implement them,` he said.

He said despite the promise made in the 2007 education policy: that 7 per cent of the GDP would be allocated to the education sector, this had never happened.

He said Pakistan was still spending just two per cent of its budget on education and questioned the need for a new education policy when they couldn`t follow the earlier one properly.Mr Zaidi said, `Issues regarding teachers are not being addressed properly but the teachers are part of the issue. A total of 37 registered public school teachers` unions exist, but they have split into several factions, which shows how united public schools are.

He said that private school teachers were suffering too, but had no unions where they could make their voices heard.

Nargis Sultana from the Open Society Foundations said there needed to be more accountability over the lack of policy implementation. She said, `Article 25-A has been approved but we don`t see it being implemented.

She said there was a need to change the public perception about the teaching profession so that more young people chose it as a career.

There was also support for the idea of devolution of powers for the educational sector to provincial governments.

Lok Virsa Director Dr Fauzia Saeed said, `The devolution process gives our provinces an opportunity to establish their own poli-Mr Zaidi said, `Issues regarding teachers are not being addressed properly but the teachers are part of the issue. A total of 37 registered public school teachers` unions exist, but they have split into several factions, which shows how united public schools are.

He said that private school teachers were suffering too, but had no unions where they could make their voices heard.

Nargis Sultana from the Open Society Foundations said there needed to be more accountability over the lack of policy implementation. She said, `Article 25-A has been approved but we don`t see it being implemented.

She said there was a need to change the public perception about the teaching profession so that more young people chose it as a career.

There was also support for the idea of devolution of powers for the educational sector to provincial governments.

Lok Virsa Director Dr Fauzia Saeed said, `The devolution process gives our provinces an opportunity to establish their own poli-cies regarding teaching in native languages and they should take these opportunities.

CLF Director Peter Jacob said provincial governments have serious concerns over the new educational policies and they should be resolved.

In other sessions, discussions were also held on how teacher`s voices could be brought to theforefront of the discourse around education.

In the morning, a consultative session titled `1nvolving Teachers in the Policymaking Process`, session moderator Izzah Meyer engaged with teachers to get their opinions on the education policy.

Ms Meyer said TLF was an excellent platform for understanding teachers` opinions about the current state of education. `Since they are the ones directly dealing with the students and problems with curriculums and administrative barriers, they are in a better position to know where the gaps are and what needs to be changed.

She said it was a very encouraging to see so many teachers had showed up and were committed improving the educational institute.
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