Friday, 21 January 2011

43 percent children in rural Punjab unable to read: survey


* ASER surveys 7,767 households, 679 schools in 13 districts of province
* 67% children could not read English
* Only 32% mothers found literate
Staff Report


LAHORE: The Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) Pakistan 2010, a sample survey to assess the learning outcomes of school-going age (3-16 years) children, has revealed that as high as 67 percent children in 13 districts (rural) in Punjab are not able to read sentences in English, while 43 percent children could not read words. As much as 15 percent children were graded as “beginners’ level” as they were unable to recognise alphabets and words.
This was announced by the South Asia Forum for Education Development (SAFED) Coordinator Baela Raza Jamil at the launching of ASER Punjab (Rural) 2010 report at the Punjab Civil Officers Mess auditorium on Thursday.

The ASER Pakistan (Rural) 2010 sample survey was conducted by the SAFED, managed by Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi (ITA) in collaboration with the National Commission for Human Development (NCHD), UNESCO, Foundation Open Society Institute (FOSI) and Sindh Education Foundation (SEF).

The survey was conducted in 7,767 households and 679 schools, including 292 private schools in 390 villages across 13 districts of Punjab (rural). The selected villages were in the following districts: Chiniot, Faisalabad, Jhang, Kasur, Khanewal, Lahore, Mianwali, Multan, Nankana Sahab, Rahim Yar Khan, Rawalpindi, Sargodha and Sheikhupura.
The on ground survey was conducted by volunteers in a campaign titled “Citizens on the march”. In each district, 60 volunteers were mobilised to survey 30 villages in pairs.

The survey collected information of 616 schools, out of which 387 were government-run and 249 were private. Out of the 387 government schools, 205 were boys schools, 82 were girls schools and 80 were categorised as co-ed or mix schools. Of 249 private schools surveyed, nine each were boys and girls schools and 231 offered co-education.
The learning level of 20,790 children (57 percent male, 43 percent female) and their mothers was assessed with a powerful methodology having three simple instruments. Literacy information was collected from 8,087 mothers.
The class-wise analysis of English reading skills shows that 50 percent children enrolled in class 3 could read English and only 16 percent could read sentences fluently. Of those who could read sentences, 61 percent could not understand their meaning.

54 percent children could read at least one sentence in Urdu or their local language and 39 percent could read a level 2 story. In the age group of 6-16, 13.6 percent children were not able to read letters and thus categorised as beginners.
Data on reading ability of out of school children showed interesting trends because 42 percent children were able to read sentences and 30 percent could read story level text. 27 percent of out of school children were at the beginners’ level and could not recognise alphabets.

In order to test mothers’ literacy, the survey assessed 69 percent mothers who agreed to be tested out of the total contacted, and found that only 32 percent mothers were literate. Amongst all the districts, mothers’ literacy rate in Chiniot and Jhang was the lowest, averaging at 21 percent.
Of children enrolled in schools, the survey revealed that 21.8 percent children were taking paid tuition after school hours. Out of this, 16.5 percent were enrolled in government schools and 32.8 percent in private schools. The survey found that as much as 15.4 percent children in Punjab (rural) were not enrolled in schools. Of this, 7.9 percent children had dropped out whereas 7.5 percent were enrolled in schools.

The overall student attendance in government schools stood at 85 percent as per register and 81 percent according to the head count on the day of school visit. The attendance level in primary schools was 85 percent whereas in elementary schools, attendance was 86 percent.

The overall attendance in private schools was 88.5 percent as per headcount and 87.3 percent as per register.

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Jinnah’s Pakistan?


Ardeshir Cowasjee
(11 hours ago) Today

THE following excerpts beg comments from all those who have been or are now occupying the power seats of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

From Mohammad Ali Jinnah`s presidential address at the All-India Muslim League session in Delhi in April 1943: “The minorities are entitled to get a definite assurance or to ask: `Where do we stand in the Pakistan that you visualise?` That is an issue of giving a definite and clear assurance to the minorities. We have done it. We have passed a resolution that the minorities must be protected and safeguarded to the fullest extent, and as I said before, any civilised government will do it and ought to do it. So far as we are concerned, our own history and our prophet have given the clearest proof that non-Muslims have been treated not only justly and fairly but generously.” (Rizwan Ahmed, ed., Sayings of Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah , Karachi: Pakistan Movement Center, 1986, p. 30.)

While discussing Pakistan in an interview given to a representative of the Associated Press of America on November 8, 1946: “Hindu minorities in Pakistan can rest assured that their rights will be protected. No civilised government can be run successfully without giving minorities a complete sense of security and confidence. They must be made to feel that they have a hand in government and to this end must have adequate representation in it. Pakistan will give it.”

(Ahmed, Sayings , p. 65.)

In Jinnah`s interview given to a Reuters correspondent on May 21, 1947, he assured the minorities of Pakistan “that they will be protected and safeguarded. For they will be so many citizens of Pakistan without any distinction of caste or creed.” He had no doubt in his mind that they “will be treated justly and fairly and the collective conscience of parliament itself will be a guarantee that the minorities need not have any apprehension of any injustice being done to them.”

(Sailesh Bandopadhaya, Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah and the Creation of Pakistan , New Delhi: Sterling Publishers, 1991, p. 326.)

From Jinnah`s address to the Constituent Assembly on August 11, 1947: “We should begin to work in that spirit and in course of time all these angularities of the majority and minority communities, the Hindu community and the Muslim community — because even as regards Muslims you have Pathans, Punjabis, Shias, Sunnis and so on, and among the Hindus you have Brahmins, Vashnavas, Khatris, also Bengalis, Madrasis and so on — will vanish. Indeed if you ask me, this has been the biggest hindrance in the way of India to attain the freedom and independence and but for this we would have been free people long long ago. No power can hold another nation, and specially a nation of 400 million souls, in subjection; nobody could have conquered you, and even if it had happened, nobody could have continued its hold on you for any length of time, but for this. Therefore, we must learn a lesson from this. You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place of worship in this state of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed, that has got nothing to do with the business of the state…. We are starting with this fundamental principle that we are all citizens and equal citizens of one state. The people of England in course of time had to face the realities of the situation and had to discharge the responsibilities and burdens placed upon them by the government of their country, and they went through that fire step by step. Today, you might say with justice that Roman Catholics and Protestants do not exist; what exists now is that every man is a citizen, an equal citizen of Great Britain and they are all members of the nation. Now I think we should keep that in front of us as our ideal and you will find that in course of time Hindus would cease to be Hindus and Muslims would cease to be Muslims, not in the religious sense, because that is the personal faith of each individual, but in the political sense as citizens of the state.” ( Dawn , Independence Day Supplement, August 14, 1999.)

Jinnah`s interview with a Reuter`s correspondent on October 25, 1947: “Every citizen is expected to be loyal to the state and to owe allegiance to it. The arm of the law should be strong enough to deal with any person or section or body or people that is disloyal to the state. We do not, however, prescribe any schoolboy tests of their loyalty. We shall not say to any Hindu citizen of Pakistan: if there is war would you shoot a Hindu?” (Ahmed, Sayings , p. 42.)

Jinnah`s broadcast to the people of Australia on February 19, 1948: “The great majority of us are … members of the Muslim brotherhood of Islam in which we are equal in right, dignity and self respect. Consequently we have a special and a very deep sense of unity. But make no mistake: Pakistan is not a theocracy or anything like it. Islam demands from us the tolerance of other creeds and we welcome in closest association with us all those who, of whatever creed, are themselves willing and ready to play their part as true and loyal citizens of Pakistan.” (Ahmed, Sayings , p. 69.)