Friday, March 28, 2014

Role of Media stressed to evaluate and assess quality of education - ILM-o-AGAHI "Education Journalism Workshop", Muzaffarabad, AJK

Role of Media stressed to evaluate and assess quality of education.

ILM-o-AGAHI initiative aims to encourage journalists to create narrative on education: ILM-O-AGAHI Workshop

“Pakistan’s media should play an active role in promoting education for the marginalised segments of the society as it can help to eliminate economic disparity through the introduction of quality education. This will broaden the vision and horizon of the students to excel in life.” This was the consensus at the ILM-o-AGAHI education journalism workshop held in Muzaffarabad, Azad Jammu and Kashmir, today. Journalists also agreed that “New entrants in the field of journalism should therefore strive to sensitize the people on the importance of education, as education is the key to success for progress.”

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 from all leading media entities, from print, television, radio and online journalism, were selected for the workshop.

Participants at the ILM-o-AGAHI "Education Journalism Training Workshop" in Muzaffarabad

Prof. Dr. Zafar Iqbal, Chairman of Media Sciences, National University of Science and Technology, spoke on the role of media in policy development in education sector. He highlighted state of affairs of education and educational management in AJK and stressed upon the need of investigative journalism in the education sector. Not only more schools and more teachers, he realized the journalists from AJK to evaluate and assess the quality of Education being important. He also shared the findings of his relevant research on the content of books being taught in the schools and probable impacts on the children behavior.
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 “The objective of ILM-o-AGAHI initiative is to encourage journalists to create narratives which enable equal access to education for all while analyzing the policy reforms within the education sector and aimed to strengthen institutions” he added.

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.”

Ahsan Mukhtar, Manager Google Business Group, spoke on the art of story-telling through social media. He said in the age of social media, journalism has seen a paradigm shift with the advent of citizen journalism where everyone is in some way involved in spreading news around. Social Media has broken all social and cultural barriers and has extended the reach of a journalist globally. The role of social media in digital storytelling is crucial. Finding a news, verifying it and publishing has seen a revolutionary change and has helped take transparency to better levels.

Sheikh Muhammad Mustaq, Chief Executive Officer, Hamza Development Foundation, 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 5.3 % children have no access to school between the age of 5-16 years.

Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) is a citizen led initiative and survey to check the quality education. According to the survey in AJK 95 % children of 16 years old are enrolled in schools and 5.3 % are out of school, this is very appreciable enrollment rate but quality wise 39 5 children of class 5th can’t read Urdu story of class 2 level. 42% children of class 5th can’t read English sentence of class 2. “Our enrolment is better, but we have no quality of education” he added.

Earlier, a workshop on education journalism was held at the Kashmir Press Club, Mirpur, AJK, where journalists agreed to launch a Journalists for Education Forum in Mirpur, AJK. 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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