KARACHI – A dialogue for the provincial launch of the “Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) Pakistan – 2012” in Sindh and to share the findings of the survey was arranged here on Thursday.

Secretary Education Fazalullah Pechoho was the Chief Guest at the event.

Over 150 people, mostly belonging to the field of academics, and representatives from the government and media attended the event.

The provincial launch of ASER was held by the South Asia Forum for Education Development (SAFED) managed by Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi (ITA) and Sindh Education Foundation (SEF) along with other partner NGOs.

This was the third Sindh launch of ASER in Pakistan and the report was the most comprehensive one.

The national survey of education undertaken by over 9,000 youth volunteers covered 252,000 children aged 3-16 across 136 rural and 6 urban districts of Pakistan.

Specifically in Sindh, all 23 districts and 2 urban cities were also surveyed.

Since 2008/9, Pakistan through its civil society and expert led groups has been undertaking a rural household based learning survey, called the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER).

The ASER 2012 is said to be a testimony to civil society’s commitment to evidence-based planning and collaborative action with the government.

The ASER 2012 assists governments, private sector and other research/think tanks with vital information regarding 3-16 years old children and learning outcomes for 5-16 years, the precise age group stipulated under Article 25- A for extending education as a fundamental constitutional right.

To discuss the findings and results of the 2012 report in detail, esteemed panelists such as SEF MD Prof Anita Ghulam Ali, HANDS CEO Tanveer Ahmed, Economist Kaiser Bengali, ITA Director Programs, Baela Raza Jamil, Senior Researcher Collective for Social Science Research Dr Haris Gazdar, JJ Media Chairman Javed Jabbar, Senior Journalist Zubeida Mustafa, and Assistant Professor, Institute for Educational Development Dr Sajid Ali were invited to the forum.

Speaking on the occasion, The Secretary Education, Fazal Ullah Pechoho said that the issue to focus on was the management of teachers. He stated that it was the government’s responsibility to make sure that we have enough teachers to teach the children.

He said that the government was in the process of using technology to help reduce the issue of teacher absenteeism.

Prof Anita Ghulam Ali hoped that the ASER report woud have positive effect on the future of education by providing vital information to those in decision making positions.

She stated that the report did not cover up anything and showed harsh realities that we needed to face.

Baela Raza Jamil stated that it was heartening to see ASER carry momentum on a global scale as well as in Pakistan.

She said that the report was a completely citizen led initiative and it showed the power of citizens.

Baela said that the ASER report served to hold a mirror to the government in regards to its progress in the field of education.

A question answer session was also held at the end of the session.