Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Education is Imperative for Development in FATA

Education is imperative for development in FATA.

Government, academia, civil society and media should act together for education reforms in the country.

Education is the only key to reduce terrorism in the country. The future of Pakistan depends on the immediate education reforms in FATA. It's time to take effective steps for making our educational system better, and it can be done only if all the stake holders including government, academia, media and civil society should focus in Education.” This was the consensus at the ILM-o-AGAHI education journalism workshop held for FATA journalists in Peshawar.

The ILM-o-AGAHI, one day workshop was organized by Mishal Pakistan in collaboration with Ilm Ideas (a 3 year UKaid funded program). More than thirty education reporters of Federally Administrative Tribal Areas (FATA) from all leading media entities, from print, television, radio and online journalism, were selected for the workshop. 

Prof. Dr. Zafar Iqbal, Chairman of Media Sciences, National University of Science and Technology, Islamabad, urged upon that to make education as their top priority of reporting. It is important to report on terrorism and insurgency in FATA, but to fight it off and report terrorism from their areas, promotion of education is the great significance. The journalists have the great responsibility to report on education issues of their areas. It is more like investigating issue of education as hardly education itself generates news. 

Asif Farooqui, Program Manager, ILM-o-AGAHI, while discussing the salient features of the initiative said that, a learning platform for journalists on education would be developed as a ready reference for journalists working on education related issues. He further said, “Mishal is also introducing special categories on education journalism in the upcoming annual journalism “AGAHI Awards 2014” to promote education journalism in Pakistan.”

Amjad Faheem, Project Manager Idara Taleem-o-Agahi, discussed ASER’s findings on education with the Journalists during the session. He said according to the Annual Status of Education Report – ASER 2013 National Survey, that 21.4 % children have no access to school between the age of 5-16 years.

"Federally Administrative Tribal Areas (FATA) are considered one of the worst areas in terms of the enrolment levels standing at 78.6% enrolment for 6-16 year old children and 21.4% children currently are out of school. Gender gaps do exist in the FATA, ratio of boys and girls in both government and private schools are 74% & 26% and 89% & 11% respectively.

Through the ILM-o-AGAHI initiative, 18 education journalism workshops will be held across Pakistan for education reporters to increase their capacity and improve the coverage on education issues in media. In each workshop, more than 30 education reporters will be selected to enhance their capacity to report on identified educational challenges and issues to improve understanding and skills among journalists to capture community’s perspective and voice including children’s voice. 

Mishal Pakistan is the partner institute of the Center for International Media Ethics and the Global Competitiveness and Benchmarking Networks of the World Economic Forum. Mishal assists the forum in creating soft-data on Pakistan, identifying Pakistan’s competitiveness challenges including primary health & education and higher education.

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