‘Media urged to play active role in promoting education’

AFP

ISLAMABAD: Chairman of Media Sciences at the National University of Science and Technology (NUST) Prof Dr Zafar Iqbal on Wednesday said that Pakistan’s media should play an active role in promoting education for the marginalised segments of society, as it can help eliminate economic disparity.
He said that the media was a key factor for education policy development. He said this while speaking on the occasion of ILM-o-AGAHI, a daylong workshop organised by Mishal Pakistan in collaboration with Ilm Ideas.
On the occasion journalists also agreed that new entrants in the field of journalism should therefore strive to sensitise the people on the importance of education, as education was the key to success and progress.
ILM-o-AGAHI Program Manager Asif Farooqui discussing the salient features of the initiative said a learning platform for journalists on education would be developed as a ready reference for journalists working on education related issues. 
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.”
ASER Pakistan representative, Zaynah Gillani discussed ASER’s findings on education with the journalists during the session. 
She said according to the Annual Status of Education Report - ASER 2013 National Survey, that 21.1 percent children have no access to school between 5 and 16 years of age. She said that the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) was considered one of the more promising areas in terms of the enrolment levels standing at 95.1 percent enrolment for 6-16 years old children and 4.9 percent children currently are out of school. 
Although gender gaps do exist the ratio of boys and girls in both government and private schools are 57 percent and 43 percent and 61 percent and 39 percent respectively.
Similarly, children’s’ learning levels in three basic languages; Urdu, English and Arithmetic at Grade 5 level are 61.5 percent, 60.4 percent and 51 percent, respectively, all at the highest level of learning. 
These trends may also be linked to parental education which stands at 62 percent of mothers and 81 percent of fathers having at least a primary level of schooling” she 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 the country for education reporters to increase their capacity and improve the coverage on education issues in media. 

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