PESHAWAR: Though the last PTI government claimed to have spent billions of rupees on the education sector’s reforms during the last five years, only half of the students have qualified the ‘pre-primary assessment’, show the official documents.
The assessment was launched by the elementary and secondary education department three months ago under the School Quality Management Initiative to check the students’ learning outcome, teaching methodologies, and classroom environment.
Under it, the assistant district education officers have so far completed the assessment of students in over 8,000 of the province’s 23,000 primary schools.
According to the relevant officials, the PTI government had spent around Rs30 billion on providing missing facilities, including boundary wall, electrification, drinking water and latrines, to the public sector educational institutions.
It also spent billions of rupees on providing furniture and improving the structure of the buildings of the government schools but didn’t focused its attention on the improvement of quality of education in schools.
The officials said ensuring the provision of quality education would be a big task for the next government. In a recent survey of the Alif Ailaan, an NGO, which works on education in Pakistan, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government outdid the other provincial governments as for the structural improvement in public sector schools but lagged behind Punjab and Sindh’s in terms of quality education.
The officials said the education department had engaged around 500 ADEOs, who visited primary schools for the students’ assessment. They said second graders had been selected for the pre-primary assessment.
The officials said the assessment was meant to highlight the quality of education in the government schools.
“The exercise will inform the education department about the learning of students before the start of primary education in grade 3 and onward,” he said.
An ADEO in Peshawar told Dawn that he and other such officers sat in classrooms during visit to schools before asking students five questions each in English, Mathematics and Urdu.
“We ask students multiple choice questions seeking reply in yes or no instead of descriptive one. The education department has provided android phones with specific application for uploading the result of the assessment from inside the classroom.” He said the ADEOs had different questions for each school.
“We spend around three hours in a school for the assessment of the students,” he said.
According to official documents available with Dawn, Kohistan’s performance is the worst as only 37.86 per cent of the students qualified the assessment.
It was followed by Karark, where 41 per cent students qualified the assessment. Similarly, 42 percent students qualified assessment both in Buner and Hangu and 44 percent in Battagram.
The students in Kohat showed good performance compared to other district with 63 percent of them qualifying the assessment. The percentage was 57 in Tank and Dera Ismail Khan.
A senior official of the education department said low quality in government schools was a serious issue. “The previous government had made a lot of investment in the education department’s development but didn’t give proper attention to the provision of quality education,” he said.
The official said different training programmes had been under way for teachers to improve their performance.
Published in Dawn, June 6th, 2018