Capital has ‘zero’ out-of-school children, claims report

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Female students during a class at a school in Nowshera, Pakistan, June 4, 2013. Taliban militants have continued to press their violent campaign against girls’ education in northwestern Pakistan, bombing schools and terrifying pupils and parents. (Diego Ibarra Sanchez/The New York Times)
ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Institute of Education on 27 Feb 2024 launched a report on its campaign `Zero Out-of-School Children` (ZOOSC), stating that more than 70,941 children have been enrolled in schools across Islamabad, bringing the number of out-of-school children in the capital to a `zero`.

The report is based on last year’s campaign launched by the education ministry in collaboration with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica). Though the institute claimed there were zero out-of-school children in the federal capital, its claim stands in contrast to reality as a significant number of children can be seen in the capital doing menial labour. Additionally, the government’s figure for FY202122 about the out-of-school kids is about 26.2 million.

A PIE official said that the above mentioned campaign was launched in Islamabad last year on the basis of data compiled by the Benazir Income Support Program (BISP). Asper this data, there are around 52,000 kids in Islamabad and during the campaign `the ministry and its partners managed to enrol 70,941 out-of-school children.

Education Secretary Waseem Ajmal Chaudhry was the chief guest at the report launching ceremony.

He said the successful campaign would help serve as a guide for the provinces in the future.

He appreciated the field workers of the partner organisations working with the Ministry of Education for their efficient work.

He said that Islamabad was brought forward as a `model` and that there were many challenges at the start of the campaign, such as disparity in educational facilities.

He said that if any work needed to be fast-tracked, the field team had a key role to play. `It is difficult to achieve such good results when there are different stakeholders.

`49pc girls` He said that 49pc of the 70,000 out-of-school children brought to schools are girls, adding that two schools for transgender people have also been opened.

PIE DG Muhammad Shahid Soroya said that Mr Ajmal gave the institute a target of bringing 50,000 children to schools within two months. `We identified 81,000 outof-school children and managed to bring 70,000 children back to school.

On the instructions of the secretary of education, we documented this campaign,` he said, adding that are search report has been prepared without any additional expenses.

He said a team of officials from Sindh and south Punjab also reviewed this process and document in detail.

The research report prepared by the PIE on the campaign states that the campaign was launched in January last year.

In the first phase of the campaign, the number of out-of-school children in Islamabad was determined.

For this, the data of the Benazir Income Support Program (BISP) was used. In the second phase, the parents of these children were contacted and convinced to send their children to schools.

Acknowledgement: Published in Dawn News on 28th Feb 2024.

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