Tag Archives: Asia

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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Assessment Of Corruption In Afghanistan

USAIDAssessment Of Corruption In Afghanistan‘, United States Agency for International Development, March 2009

EXCERPT: “USAID/Afghanistan commissioned an assessment to provide a strategy, program options, and recommendations on needs and opportunities to strengthen the capacity and political will of the Government of Afghanistan to fulfill its National Anti-Corruption Strategy. This report thus assesses the issue of corruption in the country, the legal and institutional frameworks for combating corruption, as well as USAID, USG and other donor activities against corruption, Continue reading

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1.4 billion are still very poor

The World Bank’s has published new poverty figures and revisited the $1 poverty line and set a $1.25 poverty line according to 2005 prices.

On the basis of the new poverty line, 1.4 billion very poor people live in this world, of which 337 million live in East Asia and 596 million in South Asia. The Asian continent is the home for more than two thirds of the World’s poor.

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POVERTY: World Bank report on poverty, including India’s

Source: POVERTY: World Bank report on poverty, including India’s

The World Bank has released a new report on poverty. From the press release:

New data show 1.4 billion live on less than $1.25 a day, but progress against poverty remains strong

WASHINGTON, DC, August 26, 2008 – The World Bank said improved economic estimates showed there were more poor people around the world than previously thought while also revealing big successes in the fight to overcome extreme poverty.

The new estimates, which reflect improvements in internationally comparable price data, offer a much more accurate picture of the cost of living in developing countries and set a new poverty line of US$1.25 a day. They are based on the results of the 2005 International Comparison Program (ICP), released earlier this year. 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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In ASIA, water progresses as sanitation regresses

“The world’s poorest nations are making halting progress in water, but little or no tangible improvement in sanitation — two of the basic necessities of life. The U.N.’s Millennium Development Goals, which seek to reduce extreme poverty and hunger by 50 percent by 2015, has also set a target of halving the proportion of people without access to basic sanitation.

But this goal may never be reached unless at least 10 billion dollars are invested every year, through 2015, to improve sanitation worldwide, according to the Stockholm International Water Institute. It is hard for policy makers and opinion leaders to imagine how unsafe — not to mention embarrassing — it is to relieve oneself in public, in the middle of the street, or for women in rural areas waiting for sunset to find a bush or faraway field, with high risks of physical assault or rape.”

Full story: http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=43595

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Asia beset by petty corruption: UN

* UNDP report says small-scale corruption limits poor’s access to education and basic health services
* Says natural resources being destroyed by illegal activity

JAKARTA: A few hundred baht here, a few thousand rupees there – a major United Nations report released on Thursday said “petty corruption” is a massive drain on Asian economic growth and hits the poor hardest.

The sort of bribes many Asians pay as a matter of course are worsening child mortality rates and perpetuating poverty across the region, the report said.

“Petty corruption is a misnomer,” said Anuradha Rajivan, who led the team that compiled the UN Development Programme (UNDP) report, titled “Tackling Corruption, Transforming Lives”.

“Dollar amounts may be relatively small but the demands are incessant, the number of people affected is enormous and the share of poor people’s income diverted to corruption is high,” she said, adding that too much attention focused on the “big fish” in anti-corruption drives and not on the low-level vice that affects countless Asians daily.

“Hauling the rich and powerful before the courts may grab headlines but the poor will benefit more from efforts to eliminate the corruption that plagues their everyday lives,” she said. Continue reading

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