QUETTA: The post 18th amendment devolution made education a provincial subject. Forcing provinces to take charge and be responsible to improve the state of education for their citizens. However, the capacity to deliver still lags behind as compared to the current situation and challenges.
“The need to restructure and build capacity of provincial education departments is at alarming situation. Baluchistan is the most neglected province on education, it continues to deteriorate not only in terms of physical infrastructure but also human capital as well”, this was the consensus at editors’ round table meeting organized by ILM-O-AGAHI today. A number of senior journalists, bureau-chiefs and editors from leading national and regional newspapers, radio broadcasters and television channels participated in the roundtable.
The round table was organized by Mishal Pakistan in collaboration with Ilm Ideas. Earlier in the day a training workshop on education journalism was also organized and attended by more than 30 journalists reporting on education from various news organizations.
Addressing the participants, Mubashir Zaidi, senior journalist and the lead trainer for the education journalism workshop said, doing good journalism stories are crucial but both journalists and policy makers should start using data on education to improve the state of education in Baluchistan. Journalists identify community’s needs and can play a key role in setting the priorities of governments.
While sharing his views, ILM-o-AGAHI program manager, Asif Farooqui said, the Pakistani media lacks a framework to appreciate quality journalism on education, he further briefed that this year the AGAHI Awards will have special categories on education.
According to Alif Ailaan’s Pakistan District Education Rankings 2014, Baluchistan ranks lowest in education ranking among provinces and territories. There is an alarming situation of shortage of teachers in the province. 58% of the total government primary schools operate with only one teacher. The report also reveals that 62% girls between the ages 5-16 years are out of school in Baluchistan.
The objective of ILM-O-AGAHI initiative is to improve accountability and media coverage of priority education issues and build consensus on education policies by engaging various stakeholders, including media and policy makers.
Through the ILM-O-AGAHI initiative, 18 education journalism workshops have been held across Pakistan in the last two months. In each workshop, more than 30 education reporters participated in daylong sessions. These workshops were aimed to engage the journalists reporting on education. The journalists participated in these workshops through interactive sessions, role playing exercises and peer review of their news content development skills.
Mishal Pakistan is the partner institute of the Centre for International Media Ethics and the Global Competitiveness and Benchmarking Networks of the World Economic Forum. Mishal assists the forum in creating soft-data on Pakistan, identifying Pakistan’s competitiveness challenges including primary health & education and higher education.
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