“Education is the question of Life and Death for us: –Quaid-e-Azam
Education is the backbone of any country and plays a pivotal role in shaping the future course of the nations in the world. Education builds the nation’s roots deeper and stronger and prepares them for the competitive and contemporary world. It is because of Education.
“There is the debate that is the traditional approach to education still relevant in the age of Are traditional approaches to education still relevant in the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution? Fred Swaniker. He negates the idea by saying don’t think so.“
Fred Swankier: “It starts with recognition amongst all educators that the world is changing. To prepare people for the future, you need to design an education system that is forward-looking and not backwards-looking.”
According to educational experts that in today’s world, artificial intelligence, robotics and industrial revolution has bestowed the nations with tremendous growth and innovation in education and teaching methodologies. The rapid development is also caused by the advancement in science and technology and space engineering. Scientists have done a marvellous job in changing the landscape of the world with innovative inventions all because of imparting quality education especially the higher education in the universities. This requires a reorientation all the way from early childhood education to primary school to university education. It means encouraging flexibility rather than specialization. It requires training and retraining teachers, as well as redesigning education systems and curricula.
In order to have a futuristic outlook, we need to reimagine and innovate education with the support of ICT (Information Communication Technology that may reshape the future world of Education and make it paper free for the students by providing Digital Education that knows no boundaries at all. We need to make the learning fun, excitement and interesting so that our parents may not force their children to seek education. Instead, the students go on their own and learn through gadgets.
In this connection, there need to be overhauling at every level of education from primary to Secondary, College and University level buy designing futuristic course materials with help of experts and training the teachers in the lines of the future generation. Since the communication gateways are flowing like rivers and every person wants to quench his thirst for education with the standard dose of materials developed by the experts. The Startups and Business innovation Ideas should be promoted so that we can produce entrepreneurs for running businesses like Yahoo, Google, Apple, PayPal and Microsoft. We need more standard companies like these by young entrepreneurs so that they may create jobs and do not seek jobs. This approach will change the real face of the countries especially the developing countries.
Education should be skillet based not just theoretical that destroys prime years of innovation. We need to bring the expert brains to the classroom that can teach the future generations the most latest and advanced Knowledge so that they may take the nation to heights of success. The societal development should also be focused so that barriers to female education may clear and thus participatory development will boost the economy of the country. Education will help increase the knowledge economy and will definitely in taking informed forecasting and budgeting needs of the nations.
Finally, Education Never ends, it is a life long process. It helps you to focus on what is important for learning and what is not. Every Individual learns a lot from the experiences, schooling at classroom and projects they work on. So, it could be said that you learn a variety of things during learning. Even in a professional career, you attend training and workshop to boost your Knowledge and wisdom. So it is evident from the above discussion that Education is a lifelong process and the future of education bright and the world without education is like a room without light.
Missing You! SPSC
It is disappointing to pen these painful thoughts for such an apex recruiting Agency of Sindh that kept serving the people of Sindh for decades and kept providing respectable elite Civil services jobs to the underprivileged people regardless of their colour, creed or religion.
SPSC remained the only hope for the youth to get elevated civil service jobs such as EX-PCS and Secretariat services as well as Jobs in other cadres from BS-16 to BS-20 in various departments of Sindh.
Unfortunately, SPSC bears the brunt of Malpractices and corrupt practices of its chairman and Members who tempered with the result of Meritorious candidates and passed their blue-eyed Candidates through nepotism and favouritism and deprived the deserving candidates of getting Elite Civil Service slots.
The jobs were reportedly sold like commodities stabbing meritocracy and bringing in a swarm of inefficient and ineligible bureaucracy that played in the hands of feudal lords.
The saga starts from tempering the marks of candidates of CCE 2003 that took almost two decades in litigation but so far no respite has been provided to the candidates/petitioners who approached the Sindh High court to knock the door for justice.
Despite winning the case at all platforms and getting favourable reports i.e Departmental Enquiry, Anti Corruption Establishment Report, NAB report and Judicial Enquiry reports, it was proven that those recommended for appointment were not eligible as most of the candidates were fail in written part and Interview. Even some of the candidates who did not appear in the test were declared as pass.
The result of the final recommended candidates was tempered. The marks on the face sheet of answer copies were changed as per the reports surfaced.
It is worthy to mention here that those appointed through unfair means and tempered results, surprisingly promoted to the next Grades from time to time and now they are in Grade 19.
Later, in CCE 2013 there was a similar hue and cry about tempered results and bribery amounting to millions, the Sindh High Court passed its judgment making the result Null and void and directed SPSC to conduct both written and interviews afresh.
Thus hundreds of candidates bore the brunt of Malpractices of Commission authorities and many who got recommendations as Section Officers, ACs, AD labour etc were shocked. They wondered why they were punished for the fault of some unscrupulous people that earned a bad name for the SPSC.
Though being disappointed and dejected from the Honourable Courts decision, the candidates reappeared in the written and Interview but shockingly very few got through since the majority of candidates who had cleared the exam previously, could not qualify even written part and Interview.
The Education standards in Sindh have already deteriorated alarmingly, yet those who toil and work hard in the hopes of being the part of Elite Civil service, got disillusioned and dejected when the news broke that all the appointments were made either on payment of huge bribes or political support, plunging the poor hardworking and talented youth into the darkness of Disappointment, Dejection and Hopelessness.
These incidents were still fresh in the minds of candidates when they got the shocking news that Sindh High Court Hyderabad Bench announced yet another shocking judgment that jolted the candidates.
The judgment suspended the SPSC act and made the Recruitments of CCE 2018, Medical Officers and others null and void. Even it suspended all the Members including Chairman and Secretary. The judgments directed the Sindh Government to legislate a new SPSC act making Governor as head to appoint Chairman and Members instead of Chief Minister Sindh.
There have been several interpretations of Law experts regarding the impact of judgment that whether the judgment applies to mentioned Recruitments i.e CCE 2018, Health Department Medical Officers or all the Recruitments to date.
Even the Honourable High court ordered to make the SPSC website offline until the new SPSC act is promulgated.
The news had serious repercussions on the future of youth in Sindh, especially those who had passed the exam with hard work and are serving in the field for almost three years. The clouds of uncertainty have engulfed them and they are waiting for their fate since their training has also been discontinued. There is no clarification whether their services are discontinued in the light of Judgment or still intact. It will be clear after the outcome of the appeal in the Supreme court of Pakistan Karachi registry.
Their future is bleak. Even, several candidates had either appeared in the written tests of various departments and cleared including those who were awaiting Interview results. There were some candidates whose interviews were scheduled but all in vain.
With each passing day, the suspicion and fears are mounting with concerns that whether the SPSC will be restored with the appointment of a new chairman, Members and Secretary or it will remain in a dormant state since the Honourable court has not given any time frame to Sindh Government for legislation and transfer of powers of appointment of Chairman and Members to Governor so that concerns of candidates may be addressed.
Furthermore, the decision also impacted the recruitment process of lecturers in the college Education Department where more than 6000 lecturers were to be appointed and even written tests were conducted from over 100000 candidates and subsequently their results were uploaded on the SPSC website.
Ironically, public service commissions of other provinces such as PPSC, BPSC, KPPSC, AJKPSC and FPSC are Functioning in full swing and the recruitment process in other provinces has been transparent but unfortunately, the Sindh Government has wreaked havoc with all the institutions and did not even spare SPSC -the apex Civil service Recruitment Agency to pursue the meritocracy and transparency in appointment of Civil servants.
Due to misappropriation, mismanagement, nepotism, favouritism and corruption, today the Prestigious body SPSC was forced to close the doors for youth and it has borne the brunt of corrupt souls who have not left any stone unturned to mint money from poor people whose dream to become part of Civil service stood unfulfilled even seems a nightmare. According to some reports if Assistant Commissioners get the seats on the payment of ten million then the poor can only dream of such elevated and lucrative posts and their intelligence, efficiency and talent get rotten if meritocracy is strangulated under the weight of Bribery.
It is high time that our youth should be vocal and raise their voice against the criminal silence of the Sindh Government as the Government has failed miserably to pursue the case in the Supreme Court due to its unwillingness and negligence, leaving hundreds of youth falling prey to unemployment, disappointment and disillusionment.
The Chief Justice Supreme court of Pakistan and Chief Justice High Court of Sindh are humbly appealed to review the decision and pass orders to Sindh Government for legislation to restore SPSC and appointment of new Chairman and Members by Governor as practised in other provinces so that future of youth could be saved and they should be prevented from getting overage.
Furthermore, in the upcoming CCE 2022, 20 years of General age relaxation may be granted so that the delay caused by various judgments of the Honourable Courts due to corrupt practices of Commission may be compensated and the level playing field may be provided to candidates to contest Competitive Exam. The courts always provide relief to petitioners but the culprits behind such corrupt practices may also be punished so that future incidents could be averted.
It is further recommended that on the lines of FPSC’s, Section Officers Promotional Exam (SOPE) may be introduced through which lower grade employees having completed 5 to 7 years in departments can be appointed through SPSC as SOs and unlike Transfer to OMG Policy of FPSC, there should be an exam for those in BS-17 and BS-18 officers of other cadres to be part of PMS or PSS. This will help in filling the shortage of civil servants in the provincial secretariat.
It is also recommended that there should be Executive Service where BS-19 officers could be inducted from senior Civil Servants of various departments.
SPSC is the driving force to bring in a bunch of civil bureaucracy, Professionals, Technical hands and other security personnel of higher grade. The dormant state SPSC has already created serious staff shortages and impacted the performance of various departments especially College Education, School Education, Health and Civil Bureaucracy that are in constant need of fresh blood to serve the nation with dignity and dedication.
Revamping College Education-The Challenges and Prospects
College education has been the most neglected segment in Pakistan especially in Sindh where colleges are not provided with the development funds, modern methods of teaching, language, and computer labs and interactive classrooms. The obsolete promotions system and the old nomenclature of posts date back to the 1980s, non-provision of scholarships for higher education to government college teachers, so much so that the heads of colleges are not appointed based on administrative skills and competence.
The non-existence of any clear rules and recruitment policy for the appointment of principals in the government colleges have wreaked havoc with college education outreach and standards since the principals being unaware of even ABC of audit and accounting, DDO powers, responsibilities, drafting and correspondence, communication, office administration, linkages, financial audit, monitoring and evaluation of teachers and students’ outputs, curriculum development, course plan, planning development schemes such as repair and renovation of the college building and procurement procedure.
These trivial issues might have been resolved at the college level, had there been qualified and competent Principals having problem-solving skills and management skills
Mostly the professors in BPS-19 and BPS-20 are posted on administrative or management cadres such as regional directors, DGs and Chairman BISEs. There is no College Teachers Training Institute (CTTI) that may impart training to newly appointed lecturers and other staff that it may increase their productivity. Even representation in the college education department is denied and usurped by powerful PAS, PSS, PCS, PMS and OMG officers who are unaware of the college matters and issues.
Teachers dejected and disillusioned over delayed promotions, often take 18 years to the next grade yet some unfortunate ones get promotions after reaching the superannuation or after retirement. Earlier, the college teachers were provided move over to the next grade after completing their minimum service slab on the given scale but later it was withdrawn.Later, the time scale was granted to the teachers of school education such as PSTs, JSTs and HSTs, and the subject specialists of higher secondary schools, but the college education or higher education teachers were denied these monetary benefits since it provided respite against delayed DPC (Departmental Promotion Committee) by Board I and II to consider the cases of promotions from BS-17 to BS-20 respectively.
It is alarming that some teachers retire serving on the same grade throughout their service period and some get only one promotion to the next grade, given the obsolete promotion system and the so-called Four Tier i.e. Grade wise promotions and appointment for BS-17, BS-18, BS-19, and BS-20.
Teachers’ Unions in all four provinces i.e. SPLA (Sindh), KPLA (KPK), BPLA (Baluchistan) and PPLA (Punjab) have protested for their rights and have been successful in getting their demands approved except SPLA, owing to internal differences, insincerity, individualism and disintegration on the basis of lack of consensus and no consultation with the college fraternity.
The old players of SPLA went on a solo flight and kept the members of SPLA in limbo that resulted in their downfall who sabotaged the real voice of college teachers and dragged the college teachers in the quagmire of disappointment, deprivation, and injustice. The disparities still continue haunting the college fraternity.
The college teachers were provided move over to next grade after completing their minimum service slab in the given scale but later it was withdrawn
Some progressive young leaders rose up to win support for time scale and staged a showdown which drew the attention of the authorities to the long due issue of promotions and supplementing it with time scale until they get regular time-based promotions. But the old leaders could not digest the successful protest and the landmark court decision directing CM Sindh and Secretary College Education to resolve the issues of promotions and time scale after determining financial requirements and policy matters on a priority basis.
It is also pertinent to note that the civil servants are unaware of the technical terms and issues of colleges and only college teachers can address the needs and resolve the issues of college teachers properly and on a priority basis. The college teachers should also be allocated a 5% to 10% share in administrative posts in Secretariat as our college teachers are the most efficient and talented and can better deliver in policymaking and updating curriculum, service rules drafting and making informed decisions on administrative grounds.
It is shocking and disgusting to express that the teacher who is the factory to produce all the officers, is deplorably considered “not fit” for administrative positions though he/she is recruited through the same SPSC/FPSC. It would be great if the government introduces executive service to join the civil service or secretarial service like SOPE (Section Officers Promotions Exam) conducted by FPSC from the Federal Employees in Grades 7 to 16 have 8 years Experience.
After passing SOPE, they are awarded CSS cadre OMG (Office Management Group). They have been doing a tremendous job as these officers are well aware of day to day office matters and meet deadlines quite easily and require fewer directions. The government should also revise the SNE of the colleges by creating three additional posts i.e. Vice-Principal BS- 18 and Sub Engineer BS 11/16 and Assistant Director (Finance and Planning) BS-17 to run the administrative, development and accounting matters smoothly.
Ineffective SPLA appeared to be in limbo that resulted in its downfall who sabotaged the real voice of college teachers and dragged the College Teachers in the quagmire of disappointment, deprivation and injustice
The Federal colleges and Punjab colleges have Vice Principals who look after or officiate in the absence of principals. There should be either direct appointments through a search committee or Public Service Commission for the position of vice-principals and principals so that most experienced persons may be appointed on the administrative posts. Furthermore, local and international scholarships and study leaves are not granted to college teachers to pursue M.Phil and Ph.D. or Postdoctoral studies as availed by university teachers.
The projectors should be used and the laptop scheme should be initiated for teachers so that teachers can impart education on modern lines and make learning a fun process as students get bored from the lecture of 40 to 45 minutes. The presentations on multimedia projects will make learning interactive and collaborative.
Principals are the team leaders rather than just a boss to scold, report, temper with ACRs or take action against teachers on personal grudges and lenient on blue-eyed teachers. As a fact, the bosses will never take responsibility but they shift responsibility, on the other hand, the leaders always believe in teamwork and take the responsibility of either good or bad and defend their teammates.
Regrettably, so many principals are imposed upon the colleges lacking the competency to run the day to day affairs. Owing to their incompetence, inefficiency, and lack of training, the college academic, and administrative issues surface which prompts the supervisory authorities to intervene and resolve issues. These trivial issues might have been resolved at the college level, had there been qualified and competent Principals having problem-solving skills and management skills. It is also necessary that Executive Management Training should be made compulsory for the Principal before joining. This will further their deliverables.
It is the need of the hour to address the woes of College Teachers and the College. These should be resolved on the war-footing basis to transform colleges into great seats of learning since colleges fill the gaps of higher education where there are no universities. The colleges serve as higher Education intuitions offering degrees at Undergraduate, Graduate and Post Graduate level.
Global Socio-Economic Impact of Covid-19
The Pandemic originating from Wuhan China has enveloped the whole world and the catastrophe caused by covid-19 is beyond speculation. Schools, Colleges, Universities and business are closed for an indefinite period and the World has gone into self-isolation while the countries imposed lockdown in the world in the severely hit areas to contain the outbreak at massive scale.
The pandemic has affected all the countries especially China, France, Italy, Germany, US, UK, Iran, Egypt and third world countries i.e Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan and some African countries.
There are some countries which are severely impacted socially and economically while some countries have sustained moderate impact owing to taking timely preventive measures as per circulated guidelines of WHO and Local Health ministries of respective Countries.
With President Donald Trump clipping the wings of UN’s apex health body by cutting the financial support amid the Global Pandemic, the catastrophe is expected to go from bad to worse as WHO will experience the funds’ shortage that will ultimately contribute to a deep humanitarian crisis.
The world posts a bleak picture already as all business activities have been suspended, the markets have been closed for an indefinite period, the stock markets crashed and the unemployment ratio suddenly jumped to historical high due to covid-19 Pandemic. Even OPEC members have decided to cut the oil production given the pandemic situation.
The Global economy has been severely impacted by the shocks of the deadly virus that prompted companies like Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Face book, Twitter to ask their employees to work from home to avoid contracting Covid-19.
All the industries have been impacted badly that include entertainment, Sports, food franchise has completely shutdown creating panicking situation all around as once busiest streets and markets have started presenting deserted look.
This global economic warrants that if the early remedy to cure covid-19 is not discovered, the future will be dreadful to predict. The mighty economies such as China, the US, France, Italy, UK, Germany has been seriously impacted by this deadly virus. The situation is haunting the people around the world, bringing misery of greater proportion as compared to Word War II, Ebola, SARS, MERS, Plage and Yaws.
The Daily Wage workers, Private workers, drivers, hawkers, shop keepers and thousands of similar workers have lost their jobs and the opportunity to earn their livelihood. The companies have preferred work from home option for their employees to limit the outbreak and avoid contracting covid-19.
It is alarming that hundreds of workers have filed as unemployed. The lengthy lockdowns have created serious humanitarian and economic crises and the experts are of the view that the circumstances are fast moving towards the global recessions and may take a long time to recover from this catastrophe.
Though China has been able to contain Covid-19 and even lifted restrictions on outgoing flights with some strict SOPs, yet the Covid 19 seems to be an invisible predator waiting for its prey regardless of any region. The virus has impacted all the zones i.e with the cooler, hotter or moderate atmosphere.
The only solution to fight this pandemic is social distancing, maintaining the hygienic environment and avoiding crowdy spaces. The Governments around the world have imposed strict lockdowns and the frontline fighters (Health workers) around the world doing a marvellous job to protect their fellowmen even at the cost of falling prey to this deadly virus.
While fighting this pandemic. Many health workers have been tested positive. Even, some frontline soldiers lost their fight to this pandemic and laid down their lives to secure the future of their respective country.
Education is being imparted through digital platforms as online education is increasing for students. Though students are facing some issues such as the connectivity, Sound quality, Video Quality, yet in this emergency, the Schools, Colleges, Universities and other online course websites are striving to provide some light of Knowledge in these difficult times.
The booming industries such as restaurants, hotels, motels and Aviation have been closed for an indefinite period.
Unfortunately, despite 151598 deaths worldwide and over 2.21 Million confirmed cases covid-19, all eyes are hooked towards the discovery of vaccine to treat the patients and save their lives. At the moment, only plasma therapy is being conducted and some common medicines are being used such as cough, flu fever-related medicine.
Though human trials have been started by some Pharmaceutical companies, the experts are of the view that it may take one and half year for the vaccine to be available in the market. It is also estimated to be the costliest vaccine ever keeping in view its global implications and rapid speed of pandemic spread in the world.
It is estimated that Europe, Asia, Middle East to suffer a lot especially, Italy, France, UK, Iran and US as the ratio of deaths is higher than other countries especially US where average deaths per days have surpassed all other nations that prompted Trump to cut funding to world health Organization accusing it of mishandling the pandemic and delayed response to mitigate its implication while WHO head has refuted the allegations.
The covid-19 has also impacted Sports, News & Media, Entertainment and Services Industries to the extent that. All the sporting events have been suspended, series and Leagues have been rescheduled and big events such as PSL, IPL, FIFA World Cup, Olympics Games and others have been completely cancelled raising concerns among the players. Even the players are facing the trauma having travel history to the epicentre of Covid-19 Pandemic and tested positive.
The Entertainment industry has been heavily impacted as all the dramas, Films and comedy shooting and recording has been postponed till indefinite period and all the events including concerts have cancelled due to covid-19 and actors have lost the source of living.
Finally, the Print and Electronic Media are partially impacted though they are a very vulnerable community as they have been busy in coverage of the pandemic around the world and are prone to contracting the deadly virus due to close contact with Patients at Quarantine Centres and the Health specialists working at the hospital and temporary health centres specially set up for an emergency.
The Print Media has been hit hard as people consider it risky to read a Print copy of newspapers over covid-19 fears and prefer paper or online edition of the newspapers. Hence, such a trend has impacted the Newspaper Sales badly.
On the other hand, electronic media such as News Channels, Radio and Digital Media such as Websites, YouTube are grabbing people’ attention.
The Social Media is also buzzing with Covid-19 updates though Social Media and Silicon Valley companies have asked their employees to work from home and follow the preventive measures these include Twitter, Yahoo, Facebook, Microsoft and Search Giant Google.
The world should be united to fight this global pandemic that is haunting the world. The US should release funds to help WHO work effectively for global health and expedite the process of vaccine discovery as each day will deprive the near and dear ones of the families around the world. With collaborative efforts, the world can win this war against the pandemic.
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