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Parties fail to focus Education in General Elections 2018 manifestos

Report: By Safa Sagheer

Lahore (Wednesday July,18 2018) Three major political parties, Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N), Pakistan Tahreek-e-Insaaf (PTI), Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) unveiled their party manifesto for General Elections 2018 with almost no or least priority to the much needed education sector of the country. PML-N kept education on 12th number priority of their party agenda, while PTI mentioned education in the chapter 6th of their party manifesto, while PPP kept education at 7th number in their Election Manifesto 2018.

In PML-N manifesto for General Elections 2018 page (21-22), it is clearly stated that during the last tenure (2013-2018) of PML-N, about 5,000 new schools were opened in southern Punjab through the Punjab Education Foundation – an initiative globally recognized as one of most successful projects of its kind.

PML-N resolve going into the next tenure is to bring forth quality education and impart higher-order learning skills so that we are able to cultivate a skilled and globally competitive workforce, as it is mentioned in PML-N-Manifesto-Booklet-min. PML-N vision for 2023 is an education system that is capable of producing a citizen grounded in vales, driven by ambition and equipped with skills required to complete in the global marketplace through world-class education system. PML-N promise to Extend access beyond the basics, cultivate higher order learning, Higher education for all, ensure world class quality, bring about a pedagogical revolution and improve financing and governance.

PML-N promises to encourage private investment in education and to increase education spending to 4% of the GDP. PML-N vision is to make Pakistan a world class in Higher Education. PML-N want to establish top quality universities and academic institutions that innovate and carry out cutting-edge research. High quality home grown talent produced by these institutions will propel Pakistan into the league of developed nation.

PTI manifesto on page (44-46) reads that PTI will establish a National ministry /Commission for Human Capital Development to forecast future domestic and international labour force requirements to increase or decrease supply of different fields of education, evaluate the curricula based on needs and trends of the labour market and develop a National Human Development Strategy annually to propose the supply of any new fields of technical and professional education. PTI will launch a nationwide literacy Programme to engage 50,000 youth volunteers to teach literacy in exchange for university credits. PTI will create an Education Fund for young entrepreneurs to develop technology and communication-enabled solutions to provide access to education in remote areas. PTI will establish a National Commission for Education Standards to revise “Minimum Standards” list within 3 months of its constitution and initiate a National Dialogue and technical consultation to approve a policy on the teaching of languages at each level education.  PTI ensured to remove political influence and create an independent, transparent mechanism to select Vice Chancellors and senior administrators. PTI will establish at least 10 technical universities in Pakistan to provide skills to our youth. PTI will provide stipends to secondary school-going girls to reduce barriers to education access.

PPP in their manifesto on page 17 committed to fixing structural problems and modernizing education. The manifesto claims that in 2009, PPP launched the National Educational Policy (NEP) which recognized two key deficiencies at all levels of education: low access to educational opportunities and low quality of education. In 2010, PPP created the Right to Education Article 25-A which stated that “The state shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of five to sixteen years in such manner as may be determined by law.” PPP make sure the education system fosters harmony, and creates compassionate, confident, and creative individuals.

PPP says it will target education service delivery in districts with the lowest indicators of educational quality. At the classroom level, teachers will be trained in strategies and mindsets to focus not just on high performing students, but all students, especially those from marginalised groups. More teachers will be staffed on merit to reduce the teacher to student ratio in order to ensure greater focus on each child.

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