SHC sets up education reform body

SHC sets up education reform body

SHC sets up education reform body

Seeks end to two-year degree programme; education secretary concedes dept has teachers who do not work

The Sindh High Court directed the constitution of an Education Reforms Committee on Monday and instructed that only education experts be made members.

A two-member bench comprising Justice Salahuddin Panhwar and Justice Adnanul Karim Memon also sought the implementation of a four-year graduation program in 60 out of 350 colleges of the province this year.

The four year graduation programme would replace the two-year degree in 100 colleges in the next year and in all of the 350 colleges of Sindh in the next two years, directed the bench during the hearing of a petition seeking educational reforms in the province.

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Education Secretary Ghulam Akbar Laghari appeared before the court on behalf of his department. The bench expressed anger at the education secretary for not making the graduation degree programme for 16 years.

"You are defrauding students," remarked Justice Panhwar, adding the children were not even awarethat they were being defrauded.

"The private universities were committing fraud in the name of foundation courses. A student can neither get admission nor a job in a foreign country based on a 14-year degree," the judge remarked, asking what was wrong in making the graduation degree programme for 16 years.

The court asked the education secretary if the other provinces had made the graduation programme for 16 years and when would he do it.

Laghari replied that he had done his part, however, there were some issues with colleges.

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The court asked the secretary colleges how many colleges were there in the province.

The secretary colleges said that there were 350 colleges in the province out of which 340 were functioning. The court remarked, "You know, children have been cheated for 40 years. A child who goes abroad after spending millions of rupees does not get admission."

Laghari admitted in court that there were administrative irregularities in the education sector.

"I admit that there is a very sad state of affairs regarding education in the province. A big problem is not being able to dismiss teachers who don't work. Teachers are also aware that we cannot fire them so they don't work. We have no law to fire teachers who do not work. The situation with the administration is really bad."

The court observed that the secretaries, officers and judicial staff were all present in the court. Justice Salahuddin remarked that unfortunately no one's child would go to a government school. "When the children of officers do not go to government schools, what will they care about these schools? There are huge salaries, big buildings but no children in the government schools. A private school teacher with a salary of Rs4,000 is happily teaching whereas a government teacher with a salary of Rs.100,000 is not ready to teach."

Reply sought

Meanwhile, another bench headed by SHC Chief Justice Ahmed Ali Shaikh and comprising Justice Yousuf Ali Sayeed sought the Sindh government's response on the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan and the Pasban Democratic Movement's petitions seeking local body elections in the province.

Representatives of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and the petitioners' counsels appeared before the court.

The bench questioned the ECP representative as to when the local body elections were going to be held. Abdullah Hanjra, the ECP representative, said that a letter was written to the Sindh government, regarding local body elections and seeking the number of constituencies and councilors, but no response was received.

The Sindh additional advocate general sought more time from the court to submit the provincial government's reply.

The bench adjourned the hearing till October 12.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 21st, 2021.


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