The first episode of the podcast was moderated by Hisham Khan while the guest speakers included, Zehra Arshad, National Coordinator at PCE, and Areebah Shahid, Executive Director at Pakistan Youth Change Advocates (PYCA).
This podcast series aims to have a dialogue around the current situation of education and to spread the message on the immediate need for the enhancement of education in Pakistan. It is also to create awareness in a manner that the masses are able to understand that the time to act is now!
1. Need-based budget for education
“There’s a dire need to increase the education budget for the children of Pakistan and make it need-based so that the money is carefully spent where it is actually needed,” said Ms. Arshad while speaking on ways to improve the declining health of education in the country. She further added that it is the need of the hour to bring schools to children and not make it the other way around.
Since COVID-19 is pretty much here to stay, Pakistan needs to reform its ways of providing education to school-going kids. Yes, the government took prompt initiatives to inculcate tele-education in schools for children on the onset of COVID, but with time the authorities did not bring reforms to the system, and their ways have now gotten stale.
2. Capacity building of teachers and school administrators to cope up with changing times
Since the education realm is deteriorating here in the country and more children are leaving schools due to various reasons, the government needs to work on ways to stop the number of out-of-school children from going up. It must work on the capacity building of teachers through teacher-training workshops. Moreover, to bring more children to schools while following the COVID sops, the government needs to build more schools or work on double shifts to accommodate each child.
To further enhance the education system, it is important to bring researchers, government officials, and educationists to one table to make them devise a crash course for children to clear their concepts. As we know how the students of each grade are not educated to the official standard, therefore it is the need of the hour to help them overcome their learning losses.
“We need to have an open discourse around the faltering education systems, we cannot just talk about it behind closed doors and expect a change to occur,” said Zehra Arshad at the podcast, Let’s Talk Education.
3. Prioritizing girls’ education
From allotting a specific budget on girls’ education to building more schools for them and to increasing enrollment campaigns, there’s a dire need to prioritize girls’ education in Pakistan. If the government doesn’t put in an effort at this point, then ten years down the line, the education system won’t be much different than what it is today.
It is the government only that can make informed and calculated steps that involve budgetary allowances because no private organization or an NGO on an individual level has as many resources as the government.
4. Unite as a nation to demand the right to free education
It has been eleven years to the day the 18th amendment was implemented in Pakistan. The amendment clearly indicates the right to free education for children between the ages of 5 and 16. However, to date, not much has been done in that area. Now is the time for Pakistanis to step up their game and ask for their right to free education. They need to come together as a nation to fight for what is rightfully theirs.
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