Seminar on World Literacy Day on 10th Sep, 2012
Rotary Club of Rawalpindi
This seminar was organized by Rotary club of Rawalpindi and took place in the very well-equipped auditorium of PC Hotel Rawalpindi. Rotary Club Rawalpindi organises these kind of events on a regular basis and lays down emphasis on literacy especially.
The seminar was started by the Recitation from Holy Quran and National anthem followed by the welcome speech of President Rtn. Nosherwan Khalil khan and then formal speeches by Guest Speakers on literacy.
The social programme included high tea to participants and speakers and provided a good opportunity to know each other better in a more casual environment.
About 50 participants came from different educational institutes of Rawalpindi and Islamabad. They represented a broad range of institutions in the public as well as the private sector.
Seminar had a valuable mix of experiences and perspectives. The speakers came also from different backgrounds and presented the audience with different practical experiences, insights, and views, both at an organizational and national level. It gave a good impression and understanding of the many perspectives that can and should be taken into account when defining and implementing Literacy policies.
The feedback of the participants confirmed that the seminar was very much appreciated as well as that there is a pressing need for more practical approaches.
On the occasion of World Literacy Day, the Rotary club of Rawalpindi, conducted a seminar at Pear Continental Rawalpindi. The theme specifically focused on the question of how the four million school-less children of Pakistan can get education in schools in the next five years. Members of the Rotary Club Rawalpindi, Rotaract club and their guests were seen in attendance.
Rtn. Past President Munir Ahmed conducted the Seminar. The seminar opened up with the recitation from the Holy Quran followed by the National Anthem of Pakistan. President Nosherwan Khalil Khan in his opening remarks mentioned that South Sudan, Niger and Mali have the lowest literacy rate but Pakistan shares the same case in the region of South Asia with a rate of 62.2%. The President also mentioned the effective implementation of Rotary School and Vocational Center at Tarnol which is imparting free of cost education to more than 200 students of the locality and giving technical training to about 25 young girls of the area. Rtn. PP. Nadeem Iqbal Khokhar gave introduction of Rotary to the audience.
The Guest Speakers were :
1. Brig. (R) Iqbal Shafi S.I (M)
Chairman Sir Syed Memorial Society,
2. Brig. (R) Hubdar Ahmed Madni S.I (M)
Pricipal Army Public College Of Management and Sciences, Rawalpindi.
3. Dr. Attash Durrani
Director, Multimedia Courseware Design Center,
Allama Iqbal Open University. Islamabad.
4. Dr. Noor Fatima
Chairperson, Department of Politics & International Relation.
International Islamic University, Islamabad.
5. Mr. M. Hamid hashmi
Focal Person, Department of Education. Punjab Government.
Dr. Attash Durrani initiated the discussion of the variance in Private and Public schooling. The budget allocation for education was only recently increased from 2 to 2.2% which shows the low priority allocated to the education system by the government. Mr. Durrani also stated that focus should be on primary education and then the higher education should be considered because the foundation, if strong, can make a difference.
The next speaker was Dr. Noor Fatima Chairperson, Department of Politics & International Relation, International Islamic University Islamabad. She stated that there has been no effective education policy to guide the education sector. She talked about the tradeoff that the stakeholders take notice of before sending the child to study. If the returns of going to school are higher than the cost, only then the investment is labeled worthy. She also stated that private schooling can be client based where education is a commodity or a good which is based on profit.
Brig (R) Iqbal M Shafi S.I (R) who also won medal in the Pakistan Movement talked about the spirit of the youth of the olden times and from the current era. He said that nowadays, the youth is more aware of their surroundings because of the internet and the related globalization. The technological advancement and social networks are beneficial to increase the literacy level. He reminisced about his days when only a transistor radio was available to listen to Quaid-e-Azam’s speeches.
Brig. (R) Hubdar Ahmed Madni S.I (M), Principal of APCOMS stated that the quality of curriculum and methods of teaching also affects the attention span of the students. The teachers should be provided with motivation and incentives so that they can be responsible towards their profession.
M. Hamid Hashmi, Focal person Education Department Punjab Government told about his dream to become a teacher. He stated that nowadays, people take up the teaching profession because they do not find a job elsewhere. This is a sad case which negatively affects the literacy rate.
District Governor Elect Ifitkhar Ahmad Rotary District 3272 gave formal vote of thanks. In his speech, The DGE specifically pointed and encouraged the youth to come forward and prove their mettle. He said the students should respect their teachers the same way he had experienced in his school days.
At the end of the seminar, a question and answer session was held. One of the audience members asked whether the quality of curriculum was incorporated in the calculation of literacy rate to which Dr. Attash replied that he does not believe in the indicator of Literacy rates. Quality or standards are low in priority where the curriculum of a long duration course is shortened to achieve target. Another question was regarding the ghost schools and the associated bribe and corruption. The suggestion of formulating a report of the seminar from one of the attendees was applauded.
The Speakers were presented with Shields at the end of the Seminar. DGE Iftikhar Ahmed, President Nosherwan Khalil Khan and Secretary Tariq Mehmood Akhter presented Shields to the Guest Speakers.
Refreshments concluded the seminar.
Finally it was concluded that Policies for literacy education and represent an issue that still needs a lot of attention. Little practical experience yet exists and most of the ideas are still rather theoretical. Although there are organizations that have a relatively longstanding experience in education, but more attention and focus is required to tackle the issue. The current challenges that are posed by modern technology have such a deep impact on society and the way organizations function and communicate, that they require other and much more comprehensive and sophisticated approaches. The presentations at this seminar showed the broad range of issues involved in this area as well as that there is a firm basis for identifying strategies and formulating policies, but that more practical experience is needed. It all starts, however, with the awareness of the issues at stake at the level of decision makers in organizations. Important in this respect is to have a clear view of the benefits that could be gained, or the other way around, what costs are involved when adequate and coherent policies, procedures and guidelines are not in place. In the area of literacy the overall opinion was that better models and tools are needed so organizations can get better insights.
Special thanks to the Express Tribune Newspaper for the coverage of this event.