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National Reading Conference: Brain Idea of Secretary of Education By Kashif Mirza

Byadmin

Dec 9, 2023

The writer is an

economist, anchor,

analyst and the

President of All

 Pakistan Private

Schools’ Federation

president@Pakistan

privateschools.com

I

In a bid to prioritize education as the cornerstone of progress, Secretary of Federal Education and Professional Training (MoFE&PT), Waseem Ajmal Choudhary, launched the National Reading Conference, Book Fair & Pakistan Learning Festival in Islamabad. The three-day festival, themed ‘Today’s Readers, Tomorrow’s Learners,’ was a collaborative effort between the Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training and the National Book Foundation. Addressing the opening ceremony, Minister Madad Ali Sindhi emphasized that the key to Pakistan’s progress lies in education. He underscored the importance of promoting a reading culture among the youth and expressed optimism that literary festivals would contribute to fostering a well-read and educated generation pivotal for leading Pakistan to prosperity. The focus of this year’s event was on children, schools, and families, where leading education providers delivered short ‘Lightning Talks’ addressing innovative solutions to specific areas of foundational learning. Mr. Waseem Ajmal Chaudhry outlined his commitment to improving the quality of education and reducing the number of out-of-school children. The program includes discussions on key advancements in literacy and foundational learning. Secretary Waseem Ajmal Chaudhry said that the focus of this year’s event was on children, schools, and families. These three days were packed with programs for kids curated carefully to promote foundational learning and reading habits among kids with the National Reading Conference. In order to make the event more interesting and impact-full various activities for the children have been organized on different days with activities including the Animated story of the books, Storytelling: Suno Kahani Meri Zubani, Dadi Gulabi Singing & Songwriting, Interactive performances, Creating Desi Characters, and the Art of bookmaking, so that children along with their families could amuse themselves with Poems, Screen Plays, Dance and Musical performances Dramas, etc. This comprehensive three-day program provided a learning platform for the youth of the society. Management is all about arranging and telling, whereas, leadership is about nurturing and enhancing. Pakistan is not a poor country, but poorly managed. Nature has blessed Pakistan with abundant resources, but unfortunately, the wrong people on the wrong jobs with bad policies and poorly managed plans let it down to the category of a Third World country. Understanding the dynamics of an unpredictable world is important, especially as unilateral actions by big powers and populist leaders, which mark their policies, have implications for Pakistan. In evolving its policy strategy Pakistan has to match its goals to its human and economic resources and capital. No strategy is effective unless ends and means are aligned. So Pakistan needs leaders and leadership requires wisdom, understanding, out-of-box solutions, forbearance, and accountability. Pakistan has to pursue its national goals in an unsettled global and regional environment marked by several key features. Pakistan has a constitutional commitment to deliver ‘free and compulsory education for all children between the ages of 5 to 16’. The government intends to go beyond it as Pakistan is committed to achieving Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG4) to provide ‘lifelong learning opportunities for all’. Leadership is one of the most fundamental components of a successful organization. An organization with strong leadership is not only able to achieve its goals but also ensures that its success will be sustainable for a long period of time. The concept of leadership is not straightforward and people are often confused regarding what it means to be a leader. A boss typically is someone who uses their authority or power to control people to act in a particular way, whereas a leader seeks to influence others through their actions A successful, three-day National Reading Conference, Book. Fair, Learning Festival was a vision and brain idea of a visionary leader the Secretary of Education. MOFEPT, under the leadership of Mr. Waseem Ajmal Chaudhary, this eagerly awaited conference is delving into vital topics of Reading Conference Book Fair, Learning Festival for Early Childhood Education (ECE), and foundational learning. Since his appointment, Mr. Waseem Ajmal Chaudhary had to face major challenges for the educational situation of Pakistan. The right of the citizens of Pakistan is protected under Article 25-A of the constitution. After the 18th Constitutional Amendment, the MoFE&PT is directly responsible for the provision of education services only to the extent of Islamabad Capital Territory. The Secretary has a comprehensive action plan to transform Education and foundational learning. He worked on war footing and his efforts were highly appreciated globally and by the Government of Pakistan at the highest level. Through the vision of such a visionary leader Mr. Chaudhary, Pakistan could come closer to the vision of an educated, confident Pakistani youth, supported from the moment they are born, and equipped with the foundational learning to achieve their dreams. The Secretary shared the Human Capital Review Report and shed light on how addressing learning poverty is crucial for socio-economic progress. Mr. Waseem also highlighted that a fund of Rs 25 billion had been established specifically for Out of School Children (OOSC) and added that a significant portion should be allocated for Early Childhood Education (ECE). He provided reassurance on behalf of the Prime Minister, affirming the government’s unwavering commitment to ensuring that out-of-school children were enrolled in schools. He further added that through the flagship initiatives of MOFEPT which include the Out-of-School Children enrolment drive, foundational literacy through ASPIRE, and the establishment of classrooms in primary schools & kindergarten important steps are being taken for transforming early childhood education. Furthermore, he focused on combining both formal and informal education for the nation’s progress. However, the Ministry under the leadership of Mr. Waseem is playing its role of coordination amongst the federating units. The Inter-Provincial Education Ministers’ Conference has been very actively playing its role in this regard. Overall, Mr. Waseem focused on key issues being faced in education, and out of box solutions by his visionary leadership by emphasizing innovation and enhanced practices, fostering idea exchange, and facilitating collaborative efforts to advance education in Pakistan. The MoFE&PT under the leadership of its Secretary of Education Waseem Ajmal Chaudhary aligned all its programs to achieve the targets of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). The Government of Pakistan has formulated the first-ever National Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Policy 2015, which aims to cater to the needs of our industrial sector by adding value to human capital through imparting requisite training and skills. To ensure minimum National Standards in education, the National Curriculum Council (NCC) has been formed with membership from all provinces. The initiatives of the Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training surely will improve the state of Education in the Country and will ensure holistic development and economic growth. No doubt, The Ministry is aggressively working to end the education apartheid that has plagued our country for many years. This can only be achieved if we raise the quality of education in the public sector institutions as well as those private in the public sector institutions as well as those private institutions which cater to the disadvantaged section of our society. The development of the Single National curriculum is a major pillar of this strategy.  Other initiatives include the introduction of Ed-Tech and the latest interventions in schools located in ICT, which would be a replicable model for the Provinces and Area Governments. It is indeed the primary responsibility of any civilized nation to provide its children with a balanced and well-rounded education, develop them to their full potential, and nurture them into good citizens

No strategy is effective unless ends and means are aligned. Leaders and leadership requires wisdom, understanding, out-of-box solutions, forbearance and accountability. A successful, three-day National Reading Conference, Book Fair, Learning Festival was a vision and brain idea of a visionary leader the Secretary Education Mr. Waseem Ajmal Choudhary, who practically proved his leadership quality and experience.

. Within a fortnight Tele-school and other interventions were launched in order to mitigate the learning losses suffered due to prolonged school closures.  Now, It is high time that we re-shape our education service delivery and structure all initiatives that allow our learners to compete and thrive in the face of new realities. Ministry of Federal Education & Professional Training (MoFE&PT) along with all its associated entities, provincial education and training departments, is striving to develop and implement effective educational plans and strategies for rectifying learning losses, and sustainable student retention mechanisms to ensure no child is left behind. A few of the recent flagship initiatives include: Re-envisioning the ‘Pakistan Education Policy 2021’; Public-Private Partnership; Developing a single National Curriculum’ so that all children have fair and equal opportunity to receive high-quality education; Introducing reforms in educational assessments by creating a Relative Grading System at Federal Board of Intermediate & Secondary Education along with modernizing the examination processing systems-through digital technologies. Reorganization of key departments of ‘The Higher Education Commission to support further integrated and effective planning, promoting research and online education; Launching ‘Hunarmand Pakistan’ under the ‘Prime Minister’s Kamyab Jawan National Youth Development Programme’; fostering skills education in the country to reduce the skill gap and unemployment; and Setting up of Pakistan Institute of Education, as a premier institution which would function as a think tank for future policy-making and evidence-based decision making. No doubt, the success of all the above-mentioned Programs is proof of the vision, brain idea, and visionary leadership of the Secretary of Education Waseem Ajmal Chaudhary. Pakistan is a great country with tremendous resources regarding minerals, water resources, land, good industries, strong manpower, flourishing weather, and all those blessings that

any developed country can have, but unfortunately, the wrong people on the wrong job with bad policies and poorly managed plans let it down to the category of a Third World country. So, the country itself is not poor, it’s all about the management that we are still facing these challenges.

Pakistan needs more than 200,000 schools and 25 million teachers by 2025 to cater to over 25 million currently out-of-school children (OOSC). The Millions of children in flood-hit Pakistan are in dire need of help, school education is at risk for millions of students. All Pakistan Private Schools’ Federation (APPSF), the largest representative Federation for All Pakistan private schools includes Punjab, Sindh, KPK, Baluchistan, Islamabad, Gilgit-Baltistan, and Azad Kashmir with more than 300 registered Associations; 207,000 private schools; 15,00,000 teachers and 26.9 million students presented Education Recommendations for Budget 2023-24. APPSF recommended that Federal and provincial governments allocate and spend a minimum of 5% of GDP on education and research for schools and the higher education sector in the new budget keeping in view the effects of COVID-19, the pandemic, the recent devastating flood, and the high inflation rate. APPSF further recommended Government announce tax amnesty and exemption for 10 years for investing in the education sector so that 200,000 new schools, colleges, universities, and technical and vocational institutes can be established. No child must be deprived of education due to poverty or any other reason. Under the leadership of Secretary Education Mr. Waseem Ajmal Chaudhary, and through Public-Private Partnership the MoFE&PT aligned all its programs to achieve the targets of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG-4). No strategy is effective unless ends and means are aligned. So Pakistan needs a team of leaders like Mr. Waseem Ajmal Chaudhary who can grow, achieve, and boost the rate of education, economy, and other national goals, with his expertise, experience, invaluable insights, inspiring ideas, and best practices, enriching the Ministry. Because before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself, but when you become a leader, success is all about growing others. Keeping in view all the above efforts, it could be said with full conviction that Mr. Waseem Ajmal Chaudhary is a person in Pakistan who practically proved his leadership quality and experience. Pakistan needs only visionary and good leaders like Mr. Waseem Ajmal Chaudhary. No strategy is effective unless ends and means are aligned. Leaders and leadership require wisdom, understanding of out-of-box solutions, forbearance, and accountability. No doubt, visionary leaders like Mr. Waseem Ajmal Chaudhary can change the world.

 

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