By Khalid Khattak
However in his tweets made during the last week he touched upon two important academic issues. While the one is related to Punjab government’s “flagship” educational endeavor, Daanish Schools, the other is linked to increasing ratio of girl students in institutes of higher learning.
Governor Punjab’s comments about the Daanish Schools are evident of the fact that he is totally against the project, a brainchild of Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif and which is being dubbed “the poor man’s Aitchison”.
According to him the Punjab government is spending Rs 4 billion on four Daanish Schools when thousands of public sector schools in the province are without basic facilities of boundary walls and electricity etc.
Mr Taseer’s tweet (available at) reads “Punjab Govt is spending Rs 4bn on 4 Danish Schools whereas there r 14 thousand schools without walls roofs electricity gas…...”
The project has drawn appreciation from some quarters, as it promises quality education to the children of disadvantaged groups of society and is being started from backward areas of Southern Punjab.
They are critical of the Punjab government’s initiative arguing there is a need to develop an excellent system of schools as according to them development of some excellent schools in the system will not serve the purpose.
They suggest that instead of focusing some selected schools over 60,000 public schools, most of which are lacking basic facilities like boundary walls, clean drinking water facility, electricity and toilets etc, should be upgraded on a priority basis.
The other important subject touched upon by Salmaan Taseer in his tweet reads “As Chancellor of Punjab Universities can say a quiet revolution taking place. On an open merit system more than 50% of students are female.”
He has termed the increasing female enrolment “a quiet revolution”. Nonetheless the academic circles as well as social scientists are quite worried about the developing situation saying this growing trend might result in shortfall of manpower in future.
They argue often prevailing social norms limit the active participation of women in mainstream and despite having high professional qualification girls do not join professions saying this need immediate attention of those at the helm.
The academic circles also argue that efforts made by parents, teachers, girls themselves and huge investment by the government goes into waste when a professionally qualified girl does not join a profession she has studied over the years.
They also suggest the government to fix quota for boys and girls to maintain the balance besides creating maximum awareness and taking solid measures to ensure that females, especially those getting professional degrees, do take active part in their professional lives.
The story was published in The News International, Lahore on December 6, 2010. However it did not appear in online version of the newspaper.