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ISLAMABAD: A parliamentary panel was informed on Wednesday that the matter of promulgation of the Islamabad Capital Territory Local Government Ordinance-2021, which envisages placing institutions currently under the FDE beneath the Municipal Corporation of Islamabad (MCI) was heading towards an amicable solution as amendments have been made in the documentation, and a summary has been sent to the Ministry of Interior that initiated the Ordinance.

This was revealed before the Senate Standing Committee on Federal Education and Professional Training, which met with Irfan Siddiqui in the chair, here on Wednesday. The committee members strongly discouraged the use of Ordinances as a legislative tool and stressed the need for this practice to be curbed.

The committee reviewed the case of promulgation of the Islamabad Capital Territory Local Government Ordinance-2021 raised by Senator Mushtaq Ahmed and Kamran Murtaza. The committee was informed that the strike by teachers had ended and they had resumed duties accordingly.

Additional Secretary Federal Education Mohyuddin Ahmad Wani apprised the Committee regarding latest developments and said that all out efforts are being made to address reservations of the FGEJAC, the teacher’s body protesting against the FDE institutions being placed under the MCI. He said that amendments have been made in the documentation and a summary has been sent to the Ministry of Interior that initiated the Ordinance.

The committee was informed that the basic objection of teachers was against Article 166; major concerns being revocation, job protection and the Federal Government Employee status. He said that amendments were shared with the stakeholders that read that all recruitment and administrative matters will remain with the federal government. The MCI will only be responsible for monitoring and maintenance of institutions.

Siddiqui, while lauding the efforts of the ministry was of the view that the matter will remain on the agenda until a logical conclusion is reached. As per recommendation of the committee the matter was pended and the ministry was directed to share the amendments at the earliest. The ministry was directed to provide the committee with regular weekly updates on the issue.

Siddiqui, while discussing the Single National Curriculum asserted that in order to move ahead it was imperative that Pakistan builds a link with its past and ensures that the next generation has complete knowledge of the tribulation and strife that this country has faced.

He stressed that this was the only way forward and the sole method that would develop national integration among students. He added that it is a pity that all regimes – past and present failed to fulfil their duty in this regard. He asserted that we as a nation are cheating ourselves and also trying to keep the coming generations in the dark by concealing the hard facts of history.

The committee reviewed the measures being taken by the National Curriculum Council (NCC) to rectify errors in the single national syllabi that is being designed to minimise disparity in the national education system.

The committee was informed that the NCC had taken serious note of the observations made by the members and is in the process of engaging top notch publishing houses in a public/private initiative to give the federal government unlimited license to quality textbooks that could be emulated by the provinces as well.

The NCC has partnered with The Citizen’s Foundation, as well in this regard. The committee, while lauding the efforts of the NCC and the Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training was of the view that a Single National Curriculum will pave the way towards national integration and develop a link between the four provinces of Pakistan.

Senator Rana Maqbool Ahmed stressed the need for reviewing the working of textbook boards minutely and said that these are in a state of inertia that is revealed in the content produced. He asserted that the Committee on Federal Education and Professional Training is an apt forum to ensure that the House is set in order.

Senator Sardar Muhammad Shafiq Tareen raised the issue of the Fata-Balochistan scholarships and informed the committee that currently, 2,092 students are studying on it. He shared his concerns regarding revocation of these scholarships and was of the view that this programme must be resumed to compensate the people of the Fata and Balochistan on grounds of belonging to the less-developed areas.

He asserted that students have been sitting outside the HEC for the last two months and stressed the need for the issue to be resolved at the earliest. He added that representatives of the Planning Commission, the Ministry of Health, and EHSAS must be summoned for more details in special meeting on a single point agenda on the issue.

While discussing the service structure of engineering technologists in all engineering departments of Pakistan, the committee was informed that after great effort during the 10th Accreditation and Equivalence Committee meeting held on 17th November, 2021, the HEC has recommended that the bachelor’s degree in engineering (minimum 16 years of education and a bachelor’s degree in an equivalent technology (minimum 16 years of education) are at par for recruitment, pay scales and grades.

The committee lauded the efforts of the HEC and was of the view that this measure will pave the way for further progress. Senator Rukhsana Zuberi, raised the issue of unruly activity in university campuses with particular regards to the lawlessness on the International Islamic University Campus.

She urged the committee present the report of the sub-committee on the matter in the House; so that the issue may be taken up rigorously in order to protect and save precious lives.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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