The Punjab School Education Department (PSED) has banned dance performances by students in all private and government schools across the province.
The ban would remain strictly in place at all school occasions such as parents’ day, prize distribution ceremonies, teachers’ day etc. PSED Chief Executive Officer Zahid Bashir Goraya said the education department would suspend the license of any school that allowed or forced children to take part in such activities.
Well, the powers that be must know what gains would the ban on ‘eager children attired in national dresses performing on national songs’ would bring, but we assume there are more pressing matters that need attention of authorities concerned with education in Punjab. Following is a humbly compiled list of things we think the Punjab government should rather ban in schools in the province, and so they should be in the rest of the country.
Education is the basic right of all Pakistanis and a foremost responsibility of the government. So how about calling a meeting that proposes a ban on school fees for good? It’s true that public school fees are much lower than comparable private schools, but many households can’t even afford those low fees and end up taking children out of school for the very reason. Now this is one ban we bet Punjab’s parents would love to see enforced.
Abuse Of Merit
There always remains an ambiguity over the hiring process for vacancies in government departments, the bigger the workforce, more arise the chances of abuse of merit. Punjab’s education department employs one of the highest number of people, so the government should really strive hard to ensure that merit is upheld and only the deserving are given the chance to shape the future of our children.
Even if all who get employment with the education department make it through via proper channel, many employees remain untrained and resultantly affect the learning process of the children they are entrusted with. The Punjab government should ban such a practice and put in place mechanisms for apt training and development of teachers at every stage of their careers in line with international benchmarks.
Obsolete Teaching Methodologies
Oh yes. Education based on teachers filling up blackboards with content already available in books and then making students copy it in their workbooks just doesn’t cut the mustard in today’s educational landscape. Nor does silly repeat-after-me recitation tutorials. How about banning such foregone methodologies and employing newer techniques to help students learn?
They say it is, but it really isn’t. Students are regularly ‘sorted out’ by male and female teachers alike for trivial follies like talking to a classmate, wrong answers, forgetting a notebook at home etc, or even just for the sake of haath seedha karna. Now that needs an immediate and forceful banning by the Punjab government.
Absence Of Libraries
Libraries at the school level are a rarity, but should not be. Books are a child’s passport to learning and developing a thinking of his own beyond what is fed to him or her. The government should focus on banning the absence of libraries in schools and the ensuing lack of reading culture in our society.
Absence Of Sports Facilities
True. Why not place a ban on their non-existence? Why not end the absence of lush green playing fields and sports equipment at schools? Why not ban the deprivation of children from developing into fine athletes and sportsmen and -woman. Such is a ban we’d like to see rather quick.
Another aspect that doesn’t directly concern teachers and classrooms but affects students greatly is the unsympathetic staff working at public schools across the province and the country. Unafraid of facing any serious action from higher-ups for their sub-par performance other than the routine suspension, the auxiliary staff in schools really does exist in a world of its own. We suggest the government ban such unfriendly and apathetic staff and employ people who facilitate, not complicate the education journey of students.
Lack Of Drinking Water
Since the rulers of Punjab happen to be ruling at the federal level as well, we are taking liberty with this one. According to Pakistan Education Statistics 2015-2016, 33% of primary schools in Pakistan do not have availability of drinking water. Given a majority of such schools lie in Sindh and Balochistan where other political parties are in power, but Azad Jammu and Kashmir, where there is a PML-N-backed government, fared the worst and had 79% primary schools without drinking water. Seriously, ban such an atrocity that affects souls so precious.
Lack Of Sanitation Facilities
Even worse, given we are talking about children. According to same statistics, 33% of primary schools in Pakistan did not have toilets. Punjab fared well, but statistics for Balochistan, FATA and AJK were plain appalling at 87%, 66% and 73% of primary schools, respectively, being without toilets. That’s criminal negligence and should be put to an end.
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