To whom should we ask? To whom should we blame?

Today, six public sector universities in Punjab are operating without vice chancellors. No one is ready to take the responsibility of this devastating situation. Initially, it was believed that the delay is due to the incompetency of Department of Higher Education, Punjab who has failed to take proactive measures regarding the selection of vice chancellors. It is very clear that the tenure of a Vice chancellor is four years. Obviously, the process of vice chancellors’ selection would have been started well in time so that this situation of uncertainty could be avoided. But who cares! These are public sector universities. Youth from general public is studying here. How these universities are being run without vice chancellors and what kind of education is being offered – even a layman can imagine.  It is such a disturbing fact that both politicians and bureaucracy of Punjab government have given the universities a status of a civil secretariats office where anybody can perform any task. 

Now-a-days, the situation has become more devastating as the appointment of vice chancellor has become the issue of power; Governor Punjab vs Chief Minister. Is there anyone who can explain them about the the consequences of their dirty politics. Universities are not like their political constituencies. Neither, the appointment of a vice chancellor is similar to the appointment of a police SHO. Universities are the highest seat of learning where young people are being educated to bring national prosperity and sustainability. Someone has to explain to them that education plays a vital role in the development of a civilized society. Education is the primary agent of transformation towards sustainable development, increasing people’s capacities to transform their visions for society into reality.

I wish our politicians and bureaucracy can understand that educating young people in today’s globalized world is more complex and painstaking task than anything else. It involves caring for the development of students’ intellect, emotional, social and physical growth. Simply hard work, dedication and commitment is not enough. This requires professionalism. Quality education can only be achieved through an uninterrupted execution of intelligently crafted educational processes by a group of well trained professionals equipped with appropriate knowledge, skills and attitude working in a technology enhanced teaching-learning environment furnished with appropriate provisions. A small number of rightly educated students are more valuable for a secure and prosperous Pakistan than a large army of non-productive, misguided, frustrated young graduates. Vice chancellor is always a leader of his/her university. He/she is responsible of managing quality. What could we expect from a university which does not have a vice chancellor? I wish people in Pakistan could grasp the meaning of the latest concept of education in 21st century.

Unfortunately, the incompetency of politicians and bureaucracy has made “education” a national dilemma. In 67 years, 15 education policies has been drafted, many consultation sessions have been conducted, several green papers have been published, numerous situation analysis surveys have been conducted to find answers of questions like what are the deficiencies of the existing education system. Many action plans and strategies have been devised and implemented to seek any improvement; but the issue remains unaddressed. Even large injections of international funds/resources have been unsuccessful to bring any significant change in Pakistan’s education sector.  Some of them, extracted from UNESCO (2006) report, are listed below:

  • Teacher Training Project (TTP) (1992-2000) {$21.4 million};
  • Middle School Project (1994-2004) {$78 million};
  • Technical Education Project (1996-2004) {$60 million);
  • Second Girls Primary Education Project (1998-2005) {$44.9 million};
  • Decentralized Elementary Education in Sindh  {$75 million};
  •  Increasing Access of Girls to Higher Quality Primary Education in Balochistan Province’ project (2003-2006) {$2.4 million};
  • The Pakistan Canada Debt for Education Conversion (2005-2010) {$70 million};
  • Community Model Primary School and Health Training for TBAs (2002-2004) {$12,000};
  • Gender and Rights within Education Development in Hunza Schools (2002-2005) {$33,000};
  • Citizenship Rights and Responsibilities (2000-2004) {$760,000};
  • Strengthening Rural Primary Education in Pakistan (2000-2005) {$380,000};
  • AKU-Institute for Educational Development project (an EC contribution of $12.4 million);
  • Northern Pakistan Education Programme (NPEP) (an EC contribution of $20 million);
  • NWFP Education Support Program (Euro 20 million)7;
  • Norway government Financial Assistance to the Universal Quality Primary Education in 6 Districts in Punjab, Pakistan Project (2003-2007) {$5.4 million};
  • NWFP Basic Education Improvement Project (2003-2007) {$11.2 million;
  • USAID Education Sector Reform Assistance9 (ESRA) (2002-2007) {$74 million};
  • Creating Democratic Schools (2002-2008) {$12.5 million};
  • Releasing Confidence and Creativity: Building Sound Foundations for Early Learning (2002-2006) {$5 million};
  •  Aga Khan University Examination Board, (2003-2006) {$5 million};
  • Pakistan Teacher Education and Professional Development Program (PTEPDP)10 (2003-2006) {$5 million};
  • UK government Quality Education For All11 (2004-2007) {$282,191};
  • Drop Everything and Read – Mobile Library for Government Schools in Sheikhupura (2006-2007) {$72,058};
  • Educational Rehabilitation and Development in AJK (2005-2008) {$2.4 million};
  • UNESCO fund for Preparation of a Strategic Framework for Teacher Education and Professional Development (2005-2008) {$3.3 million};
  • The World Bank gave $625 million for FY2004-07, with $325 million as direct support for education, and $300 million through the proposed Poverty Reduction Structural Credit and Provincial Development Policy Credits.

  Apart from all these investments, the issue of education remains the same. One of the main reasons is that the universities are unable to produce rightly trained manpower. At the same time there are very few educators who are aware of educational processes. Consequently, ill prepared university graduates become the part of the system which affects the quality of services. I wish people in Pakistan could realize the importance of quality education. It is the only hope of our survival and it should be our top priority.

It is rightly said that action speaks louder than words.  In Pakistan, the issue of education has never been taken seriously. The current situation clearly demonstrates the sincerity & understanding of our politicians and bureaucracy towards education.   The appointment of vice chancellors was a national responsibility rather a duty of Governor Punjab, Chief Minister of Punjab, Minister Education, and Secretary Higher Education.  Without any doubt, all of them have failed to perform their duty. Is there anyone who can ask them? I can only wish, in place of blaming each other and playing this dirty politics, they realize their duties and make the appointment of competent vice chancellors so that the future of young generation could be saved.

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Food for Thought

On the basis of religion, in 1947, Pakistan emerged as the largest Muslim country in the world. It was believed that the citizens of this newly born country will enjoy a better quality of life, equal opportunities, fair play and justice. With this hope, Pakistan started its journey towards modern democracy 63 years ago under the leadership of a “visionary” leader but has ended up fighting against war on terror & corruption. Education is the only hope to win this war.  

 Education is widely accepted as an instrument of socio-economic change and the backbone of national development. Unfortunately, education in Pakistan has become a national dilemma.  Low quality education, tuition culture and jobless graduates are three major problems of Pakistani education system. The poor quality of public sector institutions has forced parents not to make public schools as their first choice for their children. From the last decade, Pakistan government has encouraged private sector to increase their contribution in education sector. Unfortunately, the private sector exploited this opportunity and made education one of the most lucrative businesses.  They are, intentionally or unintentionally, playing with the emotions and fate of innocent parents and their children through offering self designed English medium curriculum without any educational planning which covertly promotes the western culture.  As a result, the young children studying in such schools grow up with confused personalities.

 The latest technological advancements have brought a paradigm shift in all aspects of human endowers; ranging from routine tasks to highly sophisticated scientific actions. As a result the social, political, cultural, and economic landscapes of the global society have changed dramatically. It is an undeniable fact that these multidimensional advancements of mankind are the outcome of untiring efforts of the non-Muslim world; known as “Developed Nations”. Due to these efforts, they have not only raised their status as the masters of this world but also created strong impact on social, cultural, economic and religious aspects of developing countries like Pakistan. Unfortunately the socio-economic conditions and political instability has further deteriorate the morals of Pakistani nation who has now become  a crowd of heavily privileged and unprivileged misused and misguided people who are unsure about their future; living in a totally insecure hostile environment; some are ready to grab any opportunity – legal or illegal ethical or unethical – which could improve their socio-economic conditions; some are agitating against the system which  is under the control of heavily privileged people who are trying to secure the  interests of developed nations, the rest have  lost their hopes and just waiting for any miracle that will change their fate.

 Lack of skilled manpower, poor planning and implementation strategies, ineffective infrastructure and insufficient energy supply have further damaged the economic progress of the country. According to the Global Gender Gap report (2009) out of 134 countries Pakistan is ranked at 132nd position. From Global Information Technology report (2008-09) a comparison of Pakistan and India is listed below:

  Pakistan India
Quality of Maths  & Science Education      109 of 134 17 of  134
Quality of  the  education Systems     104 of 134    37  of 134
Internet access  in schools                     81 of 134        60 of 134
Network Readiness Index 98 of 134                    54 of 134
Infrastructure environment                 121 of 134          76 of 134
E-Governance Readiness                  105 of 134           94 of 134
Individual Readiness         111 of 134     45 of 134

The situation in educational institutions in Pakistan is particularly grave, and some consider the whole education system to be in a virtual state of collapse.  The Government is busy in policy formulation without considering the implications of its implementation and educational institutions are engaged in producing low quality graduates. Education has become the most profitable business; no quality control, no accountability, no ethical or moral values; making money is the only objective. As a result, the society is over crowded with unemployed/lowly paid frustrated angry young people. 

 As a nation, it is important for all of us to realize that the latest Knowledge Revolution has brought unprecedented opportunities for Pakistan. These opportunities could only be achieved if we get mastery on ICT and strengthen those traits which are required in today’s knowledge economies.  It is equally important to avoid repeating the same mistakes due to which we had missed the opportunities of 1980s’ economic wave. History tells us that countries like South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand responded timely and appropriately; as a result industrialist countries moved their manufacturing units to these countries which strengthen their economies. Once again, today’s Knowledge Revolution has brought another golden opportunity in the shape of globalized knowledge market and knowledge process outsourcing.  All over the world, companies in the domain of banking, finance, insurance, healthcare and others are restructuring their organization and re-locating them to countries which offer trained manpower and cost advantages. We should not miss this opportunity and must remember that those who has not pace with Information Revolution are facing political instability & cultural alienation which is fostering political, ethnic, ideological, and religious extremism. But those who will not pace with Knowledge Revolution will become virtual colonies of those that do succeed in this regard.

My New Book: Successful Presenters-A Guide for Successful presenters

Successful Presenters

A Guide for Successful presenters

written by

Dr. M. A. Pasha & Dr. S. Pasha

Secrets-of-Successful-Presenters

Today’s competitive world demands us to work longer, harder, faster and smarter. To meet these challenges our ability to quickly organize information in a logical, concise, and professional manner is much needed. Similarly, in routine life communicating our ideas/thoughts with others in social gatherings and at work place on a daily basis is equally important. Likewise, in our professional life, we are required to demonstrate effective presentation skills in order to present our ideas/projects/products to a wide variety of audiences, board members, employees, community leaders and groups of customers.

An idea is worth nothing if not communicated to the world. To get it across the audience a presenter has to be very effective in his communication and presentation skills. A good communication is always stimulating, inspiring, motivating and adds fuel to the fire if presenter possesses that igniting spark. Unfortunately, many people do not possess this ability. Whenever such a person is asked to explain something that requires him or her to stand up and speak to a group of people, like presenting a report, giving a presentation, or delivering a speech as a guest speaker at a ceremony, these people become panic and nervous. They avoid performing such tasks due to this sudden nervousness or uncomfortable feeling.

Being able to create and make an effective presentation is a great way to make ourselves stand out. Either we are a CEO, project manager, entrepreneur, sales person, teacher, or a public speaker; we need to strengthen our presentations skills to influence other to achieve our goals.  For this we need to learn about the secrets of successful presenters.

Successful presenters possess appropriate knowledge, skills and attitude to achieve the objectives of their presentation. For this they take advantage of their knowledge about:

  • the secretes of  information & cognitive  theories;
  • learning methods divulged by learning theories and how to use them effectively;
  • learning styles and how to select suitable method to gain  presentation’s objectives;
  • individual’s learning capacity and how  to maximize their learning gain;
  • audience’s stereotypes their attitude & psychology.

Knowledge of such aspects not only helps them to select appropriate contents, design and delivery style for their presentation but also reduce the physical and psychological stress of their audience. This way they make their presentations memorable and thriving. A large number of people realize such deficiencies in their personalities & want to overcome. Unfortunately, there is not enough professional training & coaching available in the market at present. Some rather expensive programs are available, which are not affordable by a vast majority of people. Therefore we have written this book to bring things into the reach of common people. In this book we have covered not only presentation skills, but also included some theoretical concepts which will help readers to become successful presenters.

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