WEB DESK: Alif Ailaan, an education campaign, has released what they call a ‘mid-term report card’ for members of the national assembly and assess how they performed in the field of education in their constituency. According to the report card, only three MNAs scored an A.
The MNAs include MQM’s Ali Raza Abidi from Karachi, PkMAP’s Abdul Rahim Mandokhali from Quetta and PML-N’s Dr Shezra Kharal from Nankana Sahib.
The grades evaluate not how well a district proves in terms of education, but how much improvement these districts have made since the 2013 general elections.
A breakup of the indicators which led to the results include; school facility, retention rate, gender parity and student-teacher ratio.
In the provision of school facilities, there were only four A+ grades, all of which belonged to South Punjab’s MNAs.
Another 32 MNAs received an A grade, of which 13 belong to the Punjab, with Shahid Khaqan Abbasi of Rawalpindi and Khurram Dastgir Khan of Gujranwala among the cabinet members who did well.
Among the low performers, there were 7 E grades awarded, none of which belonged to the Punjab. As ever, this shows that Punjab enjoys the benefits of relatively higher investments in school infrastructure.
Among the notable examples of low performers in school facilities were former Chief Minister Akram Durrani of the JUI-F and former Prime Minister Zafarullah Khan Jamali of the PML-N both receiving E grades.
In retention rates, of the eight A+ grades awarded, none went to any MNA from Punjab or Balochistan.
Retention is a complex metric and tends to be a measure of not only school quality but also a range of factors such as availability of private schools, and overall enrollment rates. Nevertheless, it is a useful comprehensive indicator of children staying in school.
Among prominent MNAs that received an A+ are Swat’s Murad Saeed of PTI, and Karachi’s Ali Raza Abidi of MQM. Among the lower performers, JUI-F’s leader Maulana Fazlur Rehman of D.I. Khan and Federal Minister for Education Baligh ur Rehman from Bhawalpur both receive a D.
Balochistan’s Mehmood Achakzai of PkMAP, Aftab Sherpao of QWP, and Federal Minister for Health, Saira Afzal Tarar all represent prominent recipients of an A grade.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa distinguishes itself by having no entries among the E grad recipients, whilst Sindh fares poorly with both of Thatta’s and Tharparkar’s MNAs receiving E grades.
Finally, the grades in student teacher ratio reflect, to an extent, the challenges of diversity across the country with many high population density areas performing poorly and many less densely populated areas performing well.
This trend is bucked by four MNAs from Karachi, all of whom receive an A grade. Still, student-teacher ratio is clearly a challenge in the Punjab, where all twenty-four D grades, and all eleven E grades were rewarded to MNAs in the Punjab.
The report card ends with homework for MNAs that would help them improve their performance.
Every MNA in the country is performing below par. Even recipients of A grades would not send their own children to a government school, the report card states.
In order to improve performance, the report suggests, MNAs should begin transparent data collection.
“MNAs can also affect better student to teacher ratios by insisting on rational allocations of teachers, rather than postings and transfers that suit their patronage of political actors in their constituencies.
Encouraging girls’ enrolment and ensuring that practices like corporal punishment are prevented will help MNAs improve gender parity and better retention rates. Gender parity, in particular, cannot be achieved without a major focus on finding ways to serve the education needs of young girls, rather than blaming the specific contexts in which they live.”