Rolling out the Red Carpet

I welcome you to my blog and hope that you will like the tour. Please leave your footmarks with comments and feedback. This will through and through enhance my knowledge and profundity of thought. Enjoy! Asif J. Mir

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Education System: Reengineering

Education should be the high priority of the government. It should be recognized as one of the fundamental rights of a citizen and universal access to every citizen. Pakistan’s sustained economic growth can only be achieved with higher emphasis on timely investment in education. This can pay rewarding dividends for future economic growth and well being of the society as a whole.

Physical condition of many schools in the province is a fundamental problem that should have been undertaken before stepping on to other areas. A factor hindering high attendance is the poor infrastructure. Out of some 60,000 public-sector primary schools - with about 4.5 million students - some 8 percent have no buildings, while thousands more are without drinking water, electricity and toilets. The government must allocate resources for the provision of basic infrastructure and facilities in educational institutions.

The junior teacher that forms the lifeline of the nation, as in making the generation, draws lesser in money than that of an unskilled worker. There are 350,000 teachers in Punjab. Since there is nothing done for their welfare, the slogans like ‘Educated Punjab’ appears a mere hoax.

PTC/ JVT teachers are in grade 7 in provincial government and in grade 9 in federal setup and they draw Rs 2000 and Rs 2600 respectively. The United Nations has defined poverty line as 2 Dollars a day and in Punjab Province alone 350,000 teachers and of them 175,000 is living below poverty line.

The Punjab Ombudsman Report 2004 says, “There were 63,000 schools functioning in the Punjab where nine million students were studying. The second highest number of complaints (1193) was filed against the Education Department. It is strange that while Punjab chief minister is spending million of taxpayer money on personal projection and publicity on the electronic & print media, he has not paid any attention to the Education Department. Every thoughtful Pakistani is upset with Pakistan's system and quality of education. It is tragic and quite ironic that Pakistan ranks among the lowest in the world in term of literacy. Most developed and even developing countries spend six or ten percent of their GDP on education but Pakistan only spends 2. 3 % of its GDP.”

The present education system has failed to disclose before the new generation the founding reasons of Pakistan. The most alarming aspect besides ideological confusion and moral degradation is the falling standard of education. Class distinction in education has been created. Because of this, Pakistani nation is most discreetly broken down into an upper English medium and a lower Urdu medium class. Ironically each school has its own curriculum. The education system needs to be reengineered by every inch. Pakistan studies and the national character should be the fundamental elements.

Creating sectarian cohesion and teaching regional and social parity, a uniform syllabus, system of examination and medium of instructions should be enforced in all educational institutions.

Private institutions, at all levels have failed to maintain a regular quality supremacy over public schools. Private schools have now become an industry. According to the first census of private education institutions there are 22,855 private institutions in Punjab. It can be inferred that private schools have not been able to play a significant role in improving the education system. Since it is a transformed industry, the educational infrastructure provided by private schools is small and have poor facilities and untrained teachers. Some 64% are registered, and 3.4% recognized. The rest are unregistered. Nevertheless many parents prefer the inadequacies of the private sector to the government school, provided that there is one in the vicinity.

Exploitation by private educational institutions in the name of education should be regulated. These institutions should be made to boost standardized education on the one hand and on the other, to embrace all classes of society on basis of merit.

Punjab needs concrete planning but the tools to educate need immediate attention or it will stay as an advertisement gimmick.Asif J. Mir, Organizational Transfortmation


Future economic growth depends on the efficient marshaling of energy, raw materials, and scarce financial capital. If developing countries make the transition to a recycling society most quickly and smoothly it will have the healthiest environment and strongest economy.

An inventory of discards would reveal metal wastes more valuable than the richest ones, paper wastes representing thousands of hectares of forests, and plastics wastes incorporating highly refined petrochemicals. That these products rich in raw materials and concentrated energy are frequently considered worthless is indicative of a distorted economic system. We are literally throwing away our future.

Recycling offers the opportunity to trim waste disposal needs, and thereby reduces disposal costs, while simultaneously combating global environmental problems. Recycling metals, paper, glass, plastics, and organic wastes would lessen the demand for energy and materials.

Managing solid waste is a global problem: Refuse is produced throughout the world. But it is also a local problem in that there is no such thing as global waste stream. The cumulative waste management decisions made by local and national governments affect global energy balances, the rate at which the atmosphere warms, and the amount of pollution emitted into the environment. They also affect international trade flows and the accumulation of debt. Individuals are not powerless in the face of these problems that sometimes seem too abstract or remote for constructive action. The degree to which people and nations act together to conserve raw materials and energy resources can slow the rate at which the global ecosystem is altered.

In the growing cities the volume of discarded materials is surpassing the available managerial and physical capacities to dispose of them. Municipalities must watch their piling garbage piles and mounting problems. Adequate waste management infrastructure does not exist. No effort is being made to reduce waste volumes and recover recyclable materials.

Recycling programs that require not only a new way of thinking about waste but greater involvement by a host of small, dispersed participants face even greater institutional barriers. Despite these obstacles, our cities should integrate recycling into our waste management plans. These cities will thus save money by avoiding disposal costs and by selling secondary materials.

Getting consumers to participate and establishing markets for recovered materials are the keys to successful recycling programs. Several approaches have effectively increased recovery rates and sales opportunities. Consumers can segregate their recyclables for pickup, permit others to retrieve the valuable components, or pay for a central processing plant to separate them. They may also return selected items to the place of purchase or take them to a collection or redemption center.

The demand for recovered products can be enhanced by meeting the resource needs of regional industries, exploring new uses for secondary materials, and offering economic incentives to waste processors and companies that use recycled materials as product inputs. Procurement policies that either favor or explicitly do not discriminate against goods made with post-consumer wastes also boost demand. Market stimulation simultaneously requires guaranteed supplies of high quality secondary materials. Competition from virgin resources and industry standards for the finished product set the operating parameters. If recycled materials are not as reliable, they will not be used.

Programs geared to the recycling of specific products often include a monetary incentive, usually in the form of a deposit. When consumers purchase carbonated beverages or milk jugs, for example, they may be charged separately for the container. If it is returned clean and intact, the consumer receives a refund. Once popular, voluntary deposit programs will go and most schemes shall be spurred by legislation.

Retailers can also purchase reverse vending machines to accept returned containers and disburse deposit refunds. After inserting their containers (as rapidly as one per second), customers are issued either cash or a redeemable voucher, sometimes accompanied by promotional coupons. Most of the machines are designed to accept aluminum, but reverse vending machines that accept glass are already on the (Western) market.

Recycling programs are most effective when integrated within a city’s overall solid waste management plan. If added as an afterthought, and implemented outside of the waste collection system, recycling schemes typically have lower recovery rates.

To encourage the use of recycled products, government can require its purchasing agents to buy competitively priced goods that contain a certain percentage of post-consumer stock. Reports, laws, and different forms printed on recycled paper, government vehicles lubricated with refined oil, and public roads paved in part by recovered rubber all represent huge markets.

Use of recycled paper by government agencies is important not only because of the volume of government purchases (creating a large market demand), but also because government procurement arrangements will be used by province, local and private organizations as a model to establish programs of their own to buy recycled paper. Additionally, as the market grows for recycled paper, the unit cost will go down, reducing costs for all organizations.

If government is going to encourage recycling, it must also take some responsibility for enlarging secondary materials market. Government regulations and fiscal incentives may compel manufacturers to produce recyclable products and packaging.

Law should require all levels of government and government contractors to purchase “items composed of the highest percentage of recovered materials practicable, consistent with maintaining a satisfactory level of competition.”

Government can also generate markets by encouraging manufacturers to use more discards in their production processes and altering nonessential quality standards. Tax incentives to encourage the purchase of recycling equipment are an approach that will gain favor.

Less waste means less demand for expensive garbage-hauling equipment and waste transfer stations, as well as the loss of habitat for disease-spreading insects and rodents. Greater use of recyclable materials cuts the needs for imported resources, cuts the need for imported resources, reduces energy consumption, and curtails water and air pollution. Societies that recycle can more efficiently and less expensively allocate scarce energy and materials among growing populations. Asif J. Mir, Organizational Transformation