ISLAMABAD, (Pakistan Point News - APP - 23th August, 2016) : The National Assembly's Standing Committee on Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan Tuesday underlined the need for allocating more financial resources for promoting education in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK). The committee, which met with Malik Abrar Ahmed in the chair, observed that funds under separate head should be allocated for educational projects in AJK. The committee chairman, however, said the projects should have clear dates of completion.
Malik Abrar also directed the AJK governemnt to introduce religious education in educational institutions and hire Arabic teachers in order to enable students to comprehend the Holy Quran. Legislation was also being made in that regard to teach Arabic to students as part of their early education in rest of the country, he added. He also suggested that the singing of National Anthem should be ensured in all the AJK schools, at least in classes if there was any security threat.
Chaudhry Abid Raza said the tradition of National Anthem singing in schools should be continued, either at morning assembly, or any function or in classrooms. Major (R) Tahir Iqbal said there was a need to rationalize student-teacher ratio in educational institutions as construction of new schools without teachers would be futile. He suggested that trained and qualified teachers should be hired as the presence of less educated ones would undermine the government's efforts for imparting quality education to students.
The committee was informed that there were total 6,393 educational institutions in AJK, 2,194 of them had no building. Some Rs 60 billion was required for the reconstruction of those institutions, he said, adding presently 150,000 students were studying in shelter schools. The government allocated around Rs 22 billion in the budget 2016-17 for education sector which was 30 percent of the total budget, testifying the government's concrete efforts for uplift of the education sector of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, the committee was told.
It was apprised that several reforms were being pursued for improving quality of education including development of curriculum implementation framework and its execution, establishment of textbook board, launching of associate degree and four-year B.Ed Honours programme, establishment of continuous professional development mechanism at union council level for improving the content and pedagogical knowledge and skill of teachers and establishment of teacher certification and licensing authority. The meeting was also attended by senior officers of the Ministry of Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan.