Centres established to monitor enrolment of children in School

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Enroling out of schools in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Education Rana Tanveer Hussain on 23 May 2023 reiterated his claim that by June 30 all 52,000 out-of-school children (OOSC) in the capital city will be enrolled in schools while two educational institutions will be upgraded.

He also said field control centres had been established by the ministry in collaboration with non governmental organisations (NGOs) to monitor progress of the campaign.

In the past too, several attempts were made to bring OOSC to schools, but the education ministry and Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) failed to achieve targets, and many believe that poverty is one of the major reasons to keep children away from schools.

An official of the ministry said in many cases children were sole earners of their families which was why they were not enrolled in schools.

The minister visited the Shah Allah Ditta boys’ schools to inspect the ongoing campaign. According to a press release, Additional Secretary Salman Mufti told the minister that according to data approximately 52,796 children were OOSC.

The minister was told that FDE, National Commission for Human Development (NCHD), Basic Education Community Schools (BECS) and various non-governmental organisations (NGOs) were partners of the ministry in this campaign. The the campaign was started from UCs of Shareefabad, Sohan, Shah Allah Ditta, Golra Shareef, and Burma Town.

“Through collective efforts of all stakeholders so far 6,549 out of school children have been identified out of which 3,396 have been enrolled in various public and private schools in the ongoing campaign”.

The minister was told that as per data all children in Shah Allah Ditta area were now enrolled in schools.

Mr Hussain said his vision was to make Islamabad a model for the rest of the country to follow. He encouraged all stakeholders to combine their efforts and ensure that Islamabad has zero OOSCs.

During his visit to Government Girls School Shah Allah Ditta, the minister announced that this girls’ school should be upgraded to a degree college while boys’ school should be upgraded to an inter college.

He directed the FDE DG Dr Ikram Ali Malik to take steps for upgradation of these two schools.

Meanwhile, speaking on the floor of the National Assembly in response to a calling attention notice moved by MNA Asiya Azeem regarding inability of FDE to provide free and compulsory education to all children from the age of five to 16 said in Islamabad, Parliamentary secretary for Education Zeb Jaffar said there were 430 institutions where schoolchildren were provided free education and textbooks.

She said Islamabad’s education sector was moving in the right direction.

However, the mover of the calling attention notice said in rural areas of Islamabad, the buildings of schools were not in good condition and also facing shortage of teachers that had resulted in growth of private schools there.

Taking part in the debate, education minister said that in accordance with increase in population, the education budget was not increased.

He said 4pc of the gross domestic product (GDP) should be allocated for the education budget.

Talking about exorbitant fee being charged by some private schools, the minister said the private sector had contributed a lot towards promoting education, but at the same time there were also complaints about some schools for high fee.

The minister said he received such complaints and asked the chairperson of Private Educational Institutions Regulatory Authority (Peira) why people were complaining about private schools.

Mr Hussain said he had directed Peira to take action against those schools which were not operating in accordance with rules and regulations.

Peira for the last many years has failed to establish its writ properly as a large number of unauthorised schools are still operating in Islamabad. While the authority has also failed to do its primary job: determination and fixation of fee of private schools.

Acknowledgement/Credit: Published in Dawn, May 24th, 2023

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