Zara Sochiye

  Education crisis begs for attention in Pakistan
  Muhammad Waqas

With all the hullabaloo over the elections now over, it is important to turn focus on real issues facing Pakistan. That Pakistan faces an education emergency, which may have deep social and economic repercussions for the country, deserves attention.
In the absence of a universal education system, tens of millions of children face a bleak future by being excluded from the schooling system. To succeed in today's highly competitive world, the new political setup in Pakistan needs to gear up its focus on the country's education crisis.
This sector presents Pakistan one of its most pressing long-term challenges that can potentially threaten security of the state. A report by The Pakistan Education Task Force reveals the gloomy picture that one in 10 of the world's out-of-school children is a Pakistani. About 50 percent of school children, aged 6-16 years can neither read nor write. While regional countries, such as India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, have made great headway in achieving the millennium development goals on education by 2015, Pakistan's progress leaves a lot to be desired. According to Kazi Ayaz Maheshar, UNESCO's provincial coordinator, "female literacy rate in Pakistan is 61 percent, compared to 79 percent for males. By the year 2015, the figure is expected to grow to 72 percent for females and 82 percent for males."
Subsequent government authorities have also shown a lack of willingness to tackle the crisis on a war footing. The commitment of government authorities toward the cause of education remains encouraging on paper at least. Under the 18th Amendment, education has been highlighted as a basic constitutional right for all children. By removing education's privilege status, the state has committed to ensuring free and compulsory education to all children aged 5-16 years. Yet, the education sector remains highly neglected and is deprived of funds to universalize education in Pakistan. The country's annual education expenditure on education is 2.1 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which is the lowest in the region.
However, overcoming the crisis is not only about dedicating more financial resources toward the education sector. Even though allocation of higher spending on education is certainly desirable, 26 countries poorer than Pakistan have higher school enrollment rates. There is a need to improve the public schooling system and ensuring greater administrative accountability of these facilities.
Even though public school teachers are paid significantly more than their counterparts in low cost private schools, public schools present a dismal picture of corruption, high teacher absenteeism rate and a waste of public resources.
To succeed in a knowledge-based economy, Pakistan needs to radically transform its education sector. With less than 25 percent of children gaining access to secondary education, it is important that the issue gets sufficient attention by Pakistan's political and media elite.
To redress the weaknesses of the education sector, a national consensus needs to be achieved to understand the magnitude of the crisis. The government may also consider providing a monthly stipend for students from poor families to encourage higher enrollment rates by curbing child labor. By encouraging public-private partnership in education, there is a need to prioritize education at a national level to promote national security. An uneducated future generation is likely to compromise the ideals of a progressive, tolerant and enlightened society.
  Scars of militancy, floods, leave schools empty in Swat
  Muhammad Irfan Haider

Nida misses her own government school which was destroyed by militants in 2009. She doesn't know if her school will ever open up again.

The demolished government primary school looks more like an old ruin rather than a school located just 20 kilometres from Mingora. People cross the school property easily; it has no gate or walls, doors, or windows except for one single remaining wall dividing two classrooms.

Nida was studying in thid grade along with 150 other girls. "I was near school on that day when terrorists destroyed the doors and windows of the school and banned female education in this school," she says. Her father, Niaz Ali, says parents are concerned about the education their children are missing out on. "Due to the closure of the school in our village, our children are at home ... While we have no money for food then how we can admit our children in private schools?" he asks.

Like Nida, Zeba Ahmed was also a fourth grade student in this school in 2009. Zeba said that after the restoration of peace in the area, she took admission again for in the Shingrai government middle school which is eight kilometers away from her village. "After early morning prayers, I go to school and come back to home in the evening because the school is situated on the other side of the mountain," she explains.

Saeed Khan, a 10-year-old boy of Nijigram village in Swat also looks forward to school but has nowhere to go, because there are no teachers for his school. Many of the students were forced to quit education after the school was destroyed," he says.

Ajab Khan, a teacher in a primary school who belongs to Sakhra Village said that the primary school there was destroyed due to the floods in 2010. A total of 300 students were enrolled there at the time. "People who don't have financial problems admitted their children in private schools of the city while the children of the remaining poor are working in the fields with their parents to earn some money to meet the expenses of daily life," he added.

Khan said that hundreds of students in villages in the Matta, Kabal, Bahrain and Charbagh tehsils are facing difficulties in continuing their education because of a delay in reconstruction of schools in their areas. "Some of them are attending their classes in the grounds of these destroyed schools which creates more difficulties for them during the rainy season," he explains.

According to Muhammad Habib, the head of the psychiatry department at Islamic International Medical College, Rawalpindi says that the children who are unable to join their often suffer from depression as a result. Professor Dr. Anis Ahmed, the Vice Chancellor at Riphah International University adds, "If a male reads, it is as if an individual reads but when a woman studies, it is as if a country reads," highlighting the important of the resumption of female education.

Former Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Education Minister Sardar Hussain Babak said that after the extended unrest and violence, the literacy rate in Swat is 26 percent, although it stood at 80 percent before 2005 in Swat valley. The major reasons for the decrease in the literacy rate were militancy, destruction of schools, the migration of around 1.2 million people during the militancy period and the flood of 2010, he explains.

Swat District Education Officer Dilshad Begum said that around 404 schools were damaged during conflict in Swat, including 217 schools for girls and 187 schools of boys. "Out of 404 destroyed schools, 174 schools destroyed completely while 230 schools damage partially," she added.

Dilshad Begum said that the former provincial government of KP reconstructed around 350 schools in the district with the help of the Provincial Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Settlement Authority (PaRRSA), Qatar Charity, the UAE government, the EU and USAID but around 52 schools including 33 girls' primary schools are still closed in different areas of Swat which were destroyed due either due to militancy or the flood of 2010. "These destroyed schools are situated in Tehsil Matta, Kabal, Bahrain and Charbagh areas of district Swat," she says.

Taliban militants headed by Maulana Fazlullah started anti-state activities in the district while security forces started an operation against them in 2009.

Although the government managed to restore peace in Swat by December 2009, militants targeted 15-year-old Malala Yousufzai on October 9, 2012 who penned a series of articles for the BBC, describing life for a girl in Taliban-controlled Swat, where she was forced to sit at home, unable to attend school. Two others students named Shazia Ramzan and Kainat Riaz were also injured along with Malala in the terrorist attack although both have now returned to school.

Former Federal Minister and PML-N leader Ameer Muqam said that his government will focus on the reconstruction of the destroyed schools in Swat. "I visit different areas of my district to take the review of the destroyed schools and I will provide a detailed briefing to my leadership for the reconstruction of these schools on a priority basis," he says.

In the meanwhile, Nida waits for the day she can go back to school. "I keep my school uniform so that one day I will go to my school again along with my friends," she says.
  Happy Mother's Day
  On this Mother's Day, do you as a mother vow to,

1. send your children - girls and boys to school?
2. talk to your children everyday about what they learnt in school?
3. actively engage with the school management, meet with head teachers, teachers, and get together as a group to take collective action to improve your children's education?
4. if your child is being severely beaten at school, go to the police and take necessary action, as corporal punishment has been banned in schools?

Wishing all our mothers a Happy Mother's Day!
  Next Generation Goes to the Ballot Box:
Next Generation Goes to the Ballot Box:

The first Next Generation report, which was published in 2009, brought Pakistan's young people to the centre of the debate about its future. It received extensive coverage by the media in Pakistan and internationally, and has influenced the work of governments, political parties, academics, thinks tanks, civil society and journalists, while being read widely by opinion formers from the next generation itself.

This is the first report in a new series called Next Generation Voices, which will offer new evidence on how young people -defined as between 18 and 29 years of age -are shaping Pakistan. The research will listen carefully to the opinions and beliefs of young people and use this to provide fresh insights into the opportunities of a young country, and the perils of failing to respond to the needs and aspirations of the young. This report is based on a nationally representative survey of young people, an open source consultation, academic background papers, and a review of published data and evidence. It focuses primarily on young people within the context of the 2013 election. A full methodology can be found at the back of this report. The report provides an insight into how well young people feel they have fared since the country last went to the polls. We explore what issues are most important to young people and how this will drive their voting behaviour.

This report will also explore in more detail how the next generation itself can make the political, economic and social conditions of Pakistan better for themselves -and the country as a whole.

In a second report, which will be published later in 2013, we will delve more deeply into the identity and aspirations of the next generation, and how young people are being shaped by the turbulence of the times they have grown up in. We thank all those who have contributed to this research but -above all -the young people who have shared with us their hopes and fears.

Key Findings:
It is time for leaders to speak directly to the next generation, bring them to the polls, and convince young people they can provide them with the opportunity and security they need to build a better future for Pakistan.

Pakistan is transforming
It currently enjoys massive demographic opportunities
But Demography is not Destiny.
Pakistan risks growing old before it grows rich.
The next generation has growing social and cultural influence.
Young people are now deeply pessimistic.
Rising prices are the biggest concern for young people.
Young people are starved of opportunities.
Insecurity hits young people hard.
Pakistan's politics adds to this turbulence.
Young women face very high levels of exclusion.
A next generation middle class is emerging in Pakistan
Young urbanites have strong generational identity.
Across Pakistan, the generation speaks with one voice.
This is a deeply conservative generation.
A small set of issues will influence the way young people vote.
Young voters could have a pivotal influence on elections.
Four groups of young voters are pivotal.
Young people are losing confidence in the Democratic system.

The youth of Pakistan have a pessimistic outlook today, but it is important to remember their fervour for the country is unbridled and passionate. A substantial majority of the youth still believe that they will have a role in changing the country for the better, and policy makers need to address their needs to accrue the benefits of their patriotism.
  Jang Group wins awards for education,CSR, Media Campaigns
  The group won an award for its education and literacy campaign in the corporate social responsibility and public service category for Geo�s Zara Sochiye.

The second award that the Jang Group bagged was for its advertising campaign for Kaisa Hoga 2013, the annual magazine that is published by the group in Urdu in collaboration with The Economist.

The Jang Group also made it as a finalist in the "Campaign of the Year" category.

The PAS Awards 2013 were held at the Karachi Expo Centre. The objective of the event was to celebrate out-of-box creativity' ideas and strategy in Pakistani advertising and marketing industry.

Telenor easypaisa campaign hit a hat-trick by achieving the highest number of awards at the ceremony. It won the most prestigious award in the category of "Campaign of the year".

PAS officials said that the award (campaign of the year) has set a new benchmark in the advertising and marketing industry. Telenor fetched two other awards in the categories of best original local campaign and banking and financial services.

PAS introduced best original local campaign for the first time this year with the aim to encourage and acknowledge local talent in the industry, the officials said.

The National Foods Limited received the award in the category of "Passion for Pakistan". The aim and objective of giving this award is to build positive image of Pakistan across the world through advertising and marketing campaigns by various groups and companies.

Maintaining its tradition of excellence in the creative arena' Adcom won the highest number of awards at the PAS 2013. It bagged a total of six awards' including two most coveted awards for the best original local campaign as well as campaign of the year.

The agency bagged other four awards for its work for Telenor Pakistan' strengthening its leadership in the telecommunication services as well as banking categories' which Adcom has been dominating since the PAS Awards were initiated in 2011.

Meanwhile' PAS conferred as many as 28 awards.

Abrar Hasan' chairman of PAS' said that the aim to distribute awards is to bring excellence and quality' to promote talent and ethics and to increase the level of responsibility in the advertisement industry.

PAS has introduced two new categories this year' digital and social media and passion for Pakistan' he said.

Qamar Abbas' executive director of PAS' said in a statement: "As a recent annual event' now in its third year' PAS awards have created its mark in the industry and has become one of the most sought after industry events.

The awards are determined to appreciate the best that the marketing sphere has to offer and to showcase both locally and globally that Pakistan has got the talent to deliver exceptional creativity and ideas that actually work."

The award ceremony has distinguished itself to become a prominent icon status among the industry peers' industry experts and consumers' he added.

Around 800 people' including industry professionals and stalwarts' celebrities and advertising stalwarts such as Javed Jabbar' Masood Hashmi' Shahnoor Ahmed' Khalid Rauf' Masood Hashmi' Anwar Rammal' Mansoor Karim' Shakeel Masood' Qazi Mustafa Kamal' Hasina Mueen' Samina Peerzada' Arshad Mahmood' Ayaan Ali' Sheema Kirmani' Aamina Sheikh' Mohib Mirza' Arjumand Raheem' Begum Nawazish' and several others were present on the occasion.
  Zara Sochiye enters in a new Phase Taleem Ko Vote Do

In this phase we encourage society to vote for those politicians, who they believe can improve the provision and quality of education of the children.
  Parhney Likhnay Ki Siwa Pakistan ka Matlab Kia
  Zara Sochiye enters a new phase. ZS will now explore the educational landscape of Pakistan in order to gauge exactly how important education is for this country.

ZS will shed light on the harsh reality of conditions that prevail in education in Pakistan in order to create awareness and to take the first steps towards reforming education by identifying the problems.

It will be a journey to signify the importance of education to the meaning of Pakistan.

Zara Sochiye.
  The Story of Zubair
  Zara Sochiye looks at the story of Zubair, an enterprising, ambitious man, who used education to make a good life for himself.

Zubair's family was abandoned by his father and he was forced to become the primary breadwinner. He went from job to job, working as a fruit juice vendor, a seller of goods or making and selling kites. Yet Zubair is one of those people who realized the importance of education and therefore, never neglected his studies no matter what work he had to go through.

It was through his hard work, sacrifice (his and his family's) and his attainment of education that finally led to him becoming a sales manager at a reputable foods company.

The power of education. Zara Sochiye.
  Alif Bey Pey Yaqeen
  Zara Sochiye looks at the life story of individuals who are able to change their lives using the power of education.
  Zara Sochiye conducts the Olympics of Education
  The campaign focuses on the return on investment of education by comparing key statistics between Pakistan and other countries.
  Zara Sochiye highlights the importance of education in helping people realize their dreams
  By spotlighting the life journey of a laborer's son Qaiser Abbas, ZS shows how persisting with education despite the odds can allow anyone to achieve their dreams
  Zara Sochiye pays tribute to the watcher of the skies, Naseer Uddin Tusi
  Zara Sochiye pays tribute to the watcher of the skies, Naseer Uddin Tusi, whose works in astronomy were instrumental
  Zara Sochiye takes a look at Ibn Musa Al Khwarizmi
  Zara Sochiye takes a look at Ibn Musa Al Khwarizmi who was the first to contribute Hindu-Arabic numerals and the concepts of Algebra to Mathematics
  Zara Sochiye puts the limelight on Ibn Ul Haisam
  Zara Sochiye puts the limelight on Ibn Ul Haisam who produced the prototype to the first pin-hole camera in the world
  Zara Sochiye pays tribute to Muslim Legends
  Zara Sochiye pays tribute to Muslim Legends, who through their emphasis on education led the Islamic Ummah towards prosperity

Prev | 1 | 2 | Next
Page 1 of 2
Education crisis begs for attention in Pakistan
Muhammad Waqas

With all the hullabaloo over the elections now over, it is important to turn f ...
    read more..
Scars of militancy, floods, leave schools empty in Swat
Muhammad Irfan Haider

Nida misses her own government school which was destroyed by militants ...
    read more..


Provide Feedback
Join us on Facebook
Join us on Twitter
Join us on SMS
ZS Dost


We invite you to share your story with ZS Dost and quite possibly the world. You can make a difference. So if you have a video or a photograph through which you can portray the condition of anything related to education around you, click here to login or register    Login to Register