Pakistani Education Minister acknowledges China’s support in educational sector
ISLAMABAD, Oct. 21 (Gwadar Pro) - Pakistani Federal Minister for Education, Professional Training, National Heritage and Culture Shafqat Mahmood on Wednesday afternoon acknowledged China’s support in the educational sector.
The minister launched ‘Covid-19 Learning Losses Report’ which was conducted by Idara-e-Taleem-o-Agahi (ITA) with support from UNICEF.
In his virtual address to the event, Shafqat Mahmood said that beside the development projects under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), China was also supporting Pakistan in the educational sector.
He pointed out that China was supporting establishing educational institutes in Pakistan as part of efforts to boost the education system.
Mahmood noted that China was also a favorite destination for Pakistani students who go there for higher education.
The minister stated that ‘Covid-19 Learning Losses Report’ had drawn “our attention towards serious educational issues and it will help us in our policy making.”
The minister mentioned that poverty - which according to World Bank study is almost 75 percent in Pakistan - was the real challenge for Pakistan. “The Covid-19 pandemic has further exacerbated the situation,” he added.
The federal education ministry, he informed, had started a dedicated TV channel ' TeleSchool' amid the Covid-19 pandemic and according to the ITA report 32 percent of children were watching this channel.
Mahmood indicated that his ministry in collaboration with Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) was working on content development to create a hybrid learning environment.
“We are introducing education technology in the sector and hiring specialists in the ministry. This will help improve learning levels of rural areas schools and low income educational institutions,” he elaborated.
The minister revealed that the government was establishing Pakistan Institute of Education (PIE) which will be a state of the art think tank for data gathering, research and assessment mechanism at the national level. “With the support of World Bank’s ＄250 million, the federal education ministry along with the provinces (provincial governments) will be launching a project for the disadvantaged districts to upgrade their infrastructure, to focus on out-of-school children and reduce learning poverty,” he underlined.
He reminded that during the pandemic, conducting the examinations was an uphill task but due to collective decision, “we successfully tackled the issue.”
Shafqat Mahmood underscored that the ministry was considering introducing remedial courses to cover the learning losses.
The minister also highlighted the teachers training program, Waseela-e-Taleem programme and enhancing the internet connectivity throughout the country by the government.
‘Covid-19 Learning Losses Report’ aims to assess the extent to which the constitutional right to education (Article 25-A) and Pakistan's commitment to education Sustainable Development Goals 4 (SDG-4) has been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
It evaluates learning losses incurred due to school closures using Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) assessment tool and identified the extent to which factors like parental education and wealth index of households and access to technology supporting children to continue learning.
Federal Minister Shafqat Mahmood thanked ITA and ASER for conducting this useful study and assured that the ministry will closely examine the report and its findings will be incorporated in policy making.