By: Altaf Hamid Rao
A daylong policy dialogue cum seminar engaging all major political entities in Azad Jammu & Kashmir concluded here Wednesday evening with unanimous consensus with the demand for depoliticizing educational system in the State.
The dialogue titled ‘Reviving Public Education System in AJK – A Citizens’ Perspective’ was organized by Centre for Peace, Development and Reforms (CPDR) in a local hotel.
The event was largely attended among other by the seasoned politicians representing various parties of AJK, eminent icons belonging to divers segments of the civil society including academicians retired bureaucrats, lawyers, journalists and students of Mirpur University of Science and Technology (MUST).
The holding of the dialogue was aimed at to generate and inquire about the citizens’ perspective besides to invite the view point of the masses with healthy suggestions to ameliorate the public system education system in AJK.
Addressing the seminar, key speakers including AJK Minister for Higher Education, Matloob Inkalabi, Deputy Leader of Opposition AJK Legislative Assembly and PMLN AJK leader Ch. Tariq Farooq, Vice Chancellor MUST Prof. Dr. Habib ur Rehman, Vice President Pakistan Tehreek e Insaf (PTI) AJK Zulfiqar Abbasi, Executive Director CPDR Ershad Mehmud, Seasoned academician of higher education from NUML and facilitator Prof. Dr. Syed Waqas Ali Kousar, Ms. Fiza Anayat and renowned Kashmir journalist Altaf Hamid Rao emphasized the need of collective efforts by the government, political entities and civil society to improve the public sector education system in the State harmonious to the need of the modern age.
The consciences followed the strongest demand for the enforcement of uniformed syllabus and educational system in the country including AJK to benefit the off-springs of all classes of the society equally.
The participants of the day long policy seminar reached to the important consensus points which include that the teachers in all educational institutions in AJK must be inducted on the basis of set criteria and educational institutions should be up and above to any political interference.
Most of the participants demanded to their leadership that they should prefer to send their children to government run educational intuitions to create their ownership in the educational system.
Besides, the seminar emphasized the need to introduce comprehensive professional development program to the newly inducted teachers at all levels to enhance their capacity for effective teaching.
One of the key points was the demand of reconstruction of the earthquake affected schools which despite having elapsed 11 years after earthquake still are to be constructed.
The seminar participants also called for conducting baseline survey of education statistics for inking a comprehensive education policy so that a well informed policy could be designed to cater needs of young people in AJK.
Educationists and civil society activists also stressed the need to revive and update public sector education curriculum that impart education help in linking academia with industry and empower them to be effective students.
The seminar also suggested for managing regular international scholarships for the students of AJK under the spirit of producing the quality future architects of the nation.
The event emphasized the need of regular introduction of career counselling in the education institutions, both in public and privet sectors to help them expressing their respective future career lines.