Presentation on ‘Open Schooling System’ initiative

KARACHI: President Asif Ali Zardari Monday said that the recently launched educational project “Open Schooling System” of the Allama Iqbal Open University which is aimed at providing parallel education to the “out of school” children, specially dropout women would prove to be a great success in powering the people, particularly the women of the country.

The President said this during a briefing given by Vice Chancellor Allama Iqbal Open University on the “Open Schooling System” initiative, here at the Bilawal House. The briefing meeting was attended among others by Chief Minister Sindh, Zahid Kurban Alvi, Chief Secretary Sindh, federal secretary Education, Vice Chancellor, Spokesperson Senator Farhatullah Babar and other senior officials.

The President said that Allama Iqbal Open University by providing education to people from Karachi to Khyber and from Gilgit to Gwadar was making great contributions to the nation building process. He said that the skills based education model introduced by the University has gained great acceptability and added that new initiative on AIOU Open Schooling System through the distance learning was very promising.

The President, who is also the Chancellor of the Allama Iqbal Open University said that the University was established by Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and nurtured by Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto and also by the subsequent governments and expressed delight that over the years the university has become one of the mega universities of the world. He said that the university was truly a national asset as over the years it has made great progress in providing quality education to people living in far off places through modern distant learning techniques.

Giving briefing Vice Chancellor Dr. Nazir Ahmed Sangi said that Allama Iqbal Open University has a long history of catering the educational needs of illiterates, semiliterate and out of school dropout segments. He informed the meeting that the University since its establishment in 1974 has designed developed and pilot tested a number of grassroots educational
programmes for functional, basic, middle and secondary level learners, especially for female learners in the rural areas.

About various projects of the AIOU, he informed that the university under its recently launched projects, ‘Girl Power Programme Pakistan’ and ‘Building Skills for Life Project’ will provide middle education to about 8400 primary pass dropout girls and young women in Vehari and Chakwal districts and 600 girls in Thatta Sindh respectively. The meeting was informed that under the ‘Open Schooling System’ initiative, open schooling will be launched in selected districts in all the four provinces of the country to provide basic, middle and secondary level education to the women, girls, young and adult men
Needing these levels of education.

During presentation on the various aspects of the “Open Schooling System” initiative being undertaken by AIOU in Pakistan, the meeting was informed that the open schooling system has been successfully implemented in various countries including India, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Cameron and others.

Spokesperson to the President Senator Farhatullah Babar, said that the President on the occasion complimented the Vice Chancellor Allama Iqbal Open University, the management, the faculty of the University and Bureau for University Extension & Special Programs and Projects for launching the new initiative of Open Schooling System and said that it was a major project aimed at empowering people and making Pakistan prosperous.

Commenting on projects initiated by the democratic government for people’s empowerment, the President said that Benazir Income Support Program BISP and the Waseela-e-Taleem & Waseela-e-Rozgar schemes under it are aimed at empowering people particularly women in the rural areas. He expressed hope that by enhancing self employment opportunities the Open Schooling System in districts with low literacy rate will further complement the BISP.

The President, as the Chancellor of Allama Iqbal Open University, fully supported the “Open Schooling System” initiative of the University for providing parallel educational opportunities to the people and urged the need for set ting up more open schools in all parts of country. He expressed confidence that the efforts to educate dropout children, especially females in all parts of the country will succeed.

The Spokesperson said that the President urged the Federal Government to consider providing sustained financial assistance to the Open Schooling System initiative and said that the Federal government should also consider making the AIOU a major beneficiary of basic education grants through Economic Division and the Foreign Office.

The President congratulated the Vice Chancellor, Dr Nazir Ahmed Sangi and all those associated with the AIOU for making it a truly internationally recognized institution and expressed confidence that under the leadership of its Vice Chancellor the University will continue to march forward and make even greater strides in the years ahead.