Category Archives: education

Kiran Bir Sethi teaches kids to take charge

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Kiran Bir Sethi shows how her groundbreaking Riverside School in India teaches kids life’s most valuable lesson: “I can.” Watch her students take local issues into their own hands, lead other young people, even educate their parents. She is the founder of the Riverside School in Ahmedabad, Kiran Sethi has launched an initiative to make our cities more child-friendly. Full bio and more links

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Pakistan’s new education policy

Raza Rumi responds to the new education policy for Pakistan

Yet another educational policy has been announced for Pakistan and its hapless citizens. We should not cast aspersions on the motives of an elected government, for we have been bitten by endless rounds of authoritarian rule which have not only destroyed the institutions of civilian governance, but have also demolished the integrity of our curriculum and mode of instruction. Decade after decade, dictators chose to glorify martial rule and later legitimized the abuse of jihad and violence. Even those who have studied at elite, expensive schools have somehow been doctored by the same curse of malicious textbooks. The surreal curricula have glorified looters and plunderers like Mahmud Ghaznavi only because they happened to be Muslims by a sheer coincidence of birth. Not to mention the Hindus, with whom we have coexisted for nearly a thousand years; they have been painted as treacherous, villainous and vile creatures ready to destroy the Muslims.
One would have expected that a legitimately elected government, representing the aspirations and pluralism of Pakistan’s small provinces would take a strong stance on the revision of pernicious curricula. Alas, this is now a distant, buried dream for all. The policy is silent on that. This is a government that is waging wars on terrorism rather successfully and with clarity of purpose, but the educational policy makes little mention of the madrassa reform which is now an imperative for the very survival of Pakistan as a viable state. Thousands of madrassas scattered all over the place, funded by external powers preach hatred, bigotry and a reversion to the Dark Ages. Who will reform these madrassas if the national education policy does not even bother to lay out a strategy and provide resources? The new policy promises that by 2015, the budgetary allocation for education would increase to seven percent of the GDP from the current 2.1 percent of the GDP. This is surely promising but how can a policy not envision the need or the strategy to mobilize such resources? Have we not heard such sanguine proclamations in the past?

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Educational breakdown in Pakistan

by Fareeha Zafar

Proliferation of private schools and tuition/coaching centres shows public response to system failure. In comparison with other countries, private basic education in Pakistan enrols more students than in all countries in the region

The EFA Global Monitoring Report 2008 — ‘Education for All by 2015: Will we make it?’ — is an eye opener. Pakistan missed the gender parity goal set for 2005 and continues to trail behind. We have the lowest scores in South Asia in primary net enrolment and in the net enrolment of girls. And the literacy gender gap has widened since 1972 from 19 percent to 25 percent. At 120, we are at the bottom in the EFA Development Index, ranking not surprisingly with the lowest allocations to education as a percentage of the GNP in terms of the public expenditure on education.

Gender inequalities and geographic disparities epitomise Pakistan’s global standing in education. Claims of overall literacy rate increase from 65 to 67 percent (10 years and above population) are overshadowed by the fact that Pakistan has failed to increase the literacy rate among females, today stagnant at 42 percent. Continue reading

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Pakistan’s education performance poorest in Asia

Mohsin Babbar (The POST)

ISLAMABAD: Despite getting ample funding from International Financial Institutions (IFIs) for education sector reforms in the country, Pakistan is rated as poorest performer among all the Asian countries receiving funding from Asian Development Bank (ADB).

Ranked at 120 as a whole, Pakistan has shown an extremely poor performance in almost all indicators of education sector, suggest an ADB report entitled “Education and Skills: Strategies for Accelerated Development in Asia and the Pacific”.

According to the EFA Development Index and its Components in ADB developing member countries, Pakistan’s EDI rate was 0.64, the lowest in the region, while Kazakhstan was leading with 0.992. Even India, Bangladesh, Nepal has better rates with 0.797, 0.759 and 0.734, respectively. Continue reading

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PAKISTAN: Literacy ratio still at 50 percent

“Literacy ratio in Pakistan still remains at 50 percent, mainly because of small budgetary allocations, lack of political will and delays in disbursement of funds, according to Unesco. In the region, Pakistan has been ranked higher only than Nepal and Bangladesh, which have literacy rates of 49 and 43 percent, respectively. Other countries have far better ratios: the Maldives, 96 percent; Sri Lanka, 91 percent; and India, 61 percent.

Sindh has the highest percentage in education which stands at 54 percent followed by Punjab (52 percent) and the NWFP (40 percent). Balochistan has the lowest ratio — 33 percent. Unesco attributed the low level of literacy rate to factors like weak organizational infrastructure, low professional capacity, lack of research, non-availability of proper training institutes, low public awareness and lack of evaluation and monitoring system.”

Source: muslimnews.co.uk – full story here

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Differentiation, Development, (Dis)Integration: education in Nepal’s ‘People’s War’

 An excellent article by ROBIN SHIELDS, (University of California, Los Angeles, USA) and JEREMY RAPPLEYE, (University of Oxford, United Kingdom)

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A violent conflict between Maoist insurgents and the national government has engulfed Nepal for most of the last decade, a situation that has been complicated by deep-seated instability at the highest levels of the government itself. Even with the declaration of a ceasefire in 2006, violence endures in pockets of lawless banditry and unrest at the hands of separatist groups. During the conflict, education and schools played a central role, with issues such as the neglect of rural schools, the right to mother tongue education, and the expansion of private schooling figuring prominently in the Maoists’ list of grievances. Both sides used intimidation and violence to gain support from rural schools, which acted as one of the lone advocates of community interests during the upheaval. This article argues that throughout the conflict formal education in Nepal has simultaneously presented many faces: on one hand it contributed to the conflict by reinforcing social inequalities while on the other it mitigated the effects of the conflict by maintaining social cohesion and mediating between opposing sides. In other cases it seemingly did both at once: acting as an egalitarian force by expanding basic education and literacy at an astounding rate while simultaneously excluding certain groups from sharing the benefits of the country’s development. Building upon the work of Bush & Salterelli, the article shows that in the case of Nepal education presents not two but many faces that are highly contextual and remain relevant in the post-conflict environment.

 ROBIN SHIELDS, JEREMY RAPPLEYE (2008) Differentiation, Development, (Dis)Integration: education in Nepal’s ‘People’s War’, Research in Comparative and International Education, 3(1), pp. 91-102 http://dx.doi.org/10.2304/rcie.2008.3.1.91 

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Pakistan: new research on education in the Punjab Province

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Lahore, April 17, 2008 – A new report released today by the World Bank calls for a reevaluation of education policies in the context of a dramatic increase in private schools for primary education in Pakistan. The report presents facts and findings from a survey of all public and private primary schools in 112 villages in Pakistan’s Punjab province, and lays out important policy options based on detailed data to facilitate evidence-based policymaking.

The Learning and Educational Achievement in Punjab Schools (LEAPS), the result of collaboration between the World Bank and researchers from Harvard University and Pomona College, says for-profit private schools have become a widespread presence in both urban and rural areas, providing parents another option for investing in their children’s education. Between 2000 and 2005, the number of private schools increased from 32,000 to 47,000, and by the end of 2005, one-third of enrolled children at the primary level was studying in a private school.

The report says a large fraction of rural Pakistani households no longer lives in a village with one or two government schools. Half the population of rural Punjab lives in villages where parents can choose from 7 or 8 schools.

While overall enrollments increased by 10 percent between 2001 and 2005, the report says quality of education is lagging and children perform significantly below curricular standards for common subjects and concepts at their grade-level. Children in private schools score significantly higher than those in government schools, even when they are from the same village. In fact, it will take children in government schools 1.5 – 2.5 years of additional schooling to catch up to where private school children are in Class 3. Better learning results in private schools do not arise from higher costs — it costs half as much to educate a child in a private school (Rs.1000 per year) compared to a government school (Rs.2000 per year).

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Filed under Development, education, IFIs, Research, South Asia