Institution For Out-of-School Children Opened

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TAXILA: A school for street and out-of-school children, especially those working in brick kilns, workshops, hotels, and begging, has been opened in Attock.

At the Subh-i-Nau (early morning) School, enrolled children will receive free uniforms, school bags, and stationery supported by Jica, the Department of Education, and philanthropists.

Addressing the inaugural ceremony, Additional Director of Education Rawalpindi Division Iffat Qadir said children are the future of any nation, and the challenge of out-of-school children and alarming school dropout ratios could be addressed by providing them equal education opportunities.

She emphasized the need to discourage child labor in brick kilns, workshops, hotels, domestic work, and begging. She mentioned that after completing a 32-month study program in Attock, there had been a significant reduction in the number of out-of-school children. She stressed the need for collective efforts and raising public awareness to eliminate child labor.

Chief Executive Officer of the District Education Authority Sajida Mukhtar said in the first phase, 75 out-of-school children, mostly working in workshops, hotels, and shops, were identified in the city during a survey conducted by the education department involving teachers and assistant education officers (AEOs).

She stated that the pilot project had been initiated at the Municipal Committee High School in Attock city, where out-of-school children were enrolled. Three teachers were engaged to educate these children daily from 7:30 am to 10 am, having received training in Lahore.

District Officer (Elementary Education) Shahnaz Qadir said the initiative’s scope would be expanded to all six tehsils of Attock, especially Pindigheb and Jand so that children from these areas who had to discontinue their studies due to poverty and lack of resources could be enrolled.

A special academic calendar spreading over 32 months has been devised for the children enrolled under the Subh-i-Nau initiative, said Aabid Khan, Deputy District Officer of Education.

He mentioned that four packages were designed to impart education to the students. Under Package 1, students would be taught from nursery to class 1; Package 2 would cover students from class 2 to 3. Package 3 would cater to students from classes 4 to 5, and Package 4 would focus on students from class 5 to 6. The course has been structured so that they can learn from nursery to 6th grade within 32 months, enabling them to read and write in English and Urdu and understand basic mathematics.

“It was my childhood dream to attend school like other children. I always felt helpless when other children went to school in the morning, while I had to clean tables in a hotel every morning,” said Ahmed, an enrolled student who had to start working in a hotel after his father’s sudden death.

Acknowledgment: Published in Dawn News on 8th July 2024.

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