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Education is not only an international obligation on Pakistan it is necessary for development: Ahsan Iqbal

Islamabad, April 01, 2016 (PPI-OT):Minister PD and R Prof Ahsan Iqbal is of the opinion that education is not only an international obligation on Pakistan, it is necessary for development. The Vision 2025 underlines the need for developing knowledge economy. Pakistan has been graded among countries having highest number of the Out of School Children (OOSC). 24 million children and students, up to the intermediate level, are to be enrolled. By enrolling maximum number of the OOSC, a knowledge revolution can be ensured in the country. Although education has been devolved to the provinces under the 18th Constitutional amendment, but under Article 25-A of the Constitution, the federal government cannot be absolved of its responsibility. The federal government and provinces should employ well-coordinated efforts to achieve the targets.

The main idea to hold the National Enrolment Drive emanated from a previous experience of the similar nature, organised on the International Literacy Day on September 8, 1999. It was decided to enrol one lakh OOSC, but 876,000 students of elementary level got enrolled. Keeping in mind the same experience and spirit, the National Enrolment Drive is being planned – to be initiated from the coming April 1 to April 30 – with cooperation of the provincial governments, civil society and other stakeholders. Some of initiatives to attract and enrol the OOSC are:

Provide gifts to the new enrolled children

Awareness among parents and children through print and electronic media

Media houses to be requested for public messages as their social responsibility and national cause

Involvement of the PEMRA for media awareness

Community mobilisation to an important element for the enrolment drive

Motivation and mobilisation of all resources – excluding financial budget – with missionary spirit

The Drive will be patronised from the highest level including Prime Minister, Chief Ministers, Senators, MNAs, and MPAs. All public representatives, along with District Education Officers will visit their electorate, and get one child enrolled. Similarly, the private sector will also be involved through the FPCCI and provincial chambers of commerce and industry. Students of the elite school systems will contribute one gift pack for each newly enrolled student. The government is heading very fast to touch three per cent of the GDP for the education budget, and hoping that soon the target of four per cent of the GDP for education will get materialised.

The education conditions in Balochistan are not promising since the society is largely nomadic society and educational facilities hardly exist in the far flung areas. The education budget has been increased up to 24 per cent, and the plan is to enrol about 160,000 to 400,000 children this year. The Balochistan government offers Rs500 at the time of admission and then Rs200 per month along with free books. At present 0.89 million children are enrolled in schools, and still 1.1 million are the OOSC. Efforts are to increase number of the middle schools. The admission policy has been revised, and boys and girls are allowed to be enrolled at the primary level.

Gilgit-Baltistan is a mountainous community, but has better enrolment position than other provinces. In areas like Diamer, it is impossible to open girls’ schools, and 75 home schools have been opened for girls. G-B is facing problems of resettlement of the Internally Displace Persons (IDPs), and their Children are also accommodated in our schools. As an incentive, the G-B government has given subsidy in wheat to those families which send their children to schools. Monitoring teams have been constituted to monitor enrolment independently.

12 million children have been enrolled in the Punjab, and the target is 100 per cent by 2018 under the ‘Parho Punjab, Barho Punjab’ programme. Rs650 is an average enrolment cost per year.

In Sindh, the enrolment campaign will be initiated up to intermediate level as per the SDGs requirement. A Complaint Management System has been established, and data of complainants is computerised to contact parents and complainants.

In the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 688,000 children were enrolled last year and still 800,000 are OOSC, whereas low enrolled districts have been allocated more budget. Targets have been given to all districts. A handbook has been developed for teachers, and a provincial Enrolment Cell has been created for the National Enrolment Drive.

The AJ and K government is fully committed to launch the Enrolment Drive with the NCHD partnership, and the BISP is working in four districts. The earthquake 2005 had badly affected five districts where 1,100 shelterless schools functioning. Free schools have been established in union councils resulting in reduction of drop out level after competition of the primary education.

The NCHD is running its Basic Education Programme in 104 districts, and it has further capacity of 30,000 to 60,000 children in the feeder schools of the NCHD. The Districts Managers are fully ready to launch the desired campaign, but the major challenge is to ensure retention. The option of double shift is also being considered to enhance enrolment. 12,000 feeder schools are already functional under the NCHD for the Literacy Drive.

The BISP is running its Waseela-e-Taleem Programme, and Rs250 per month are given to those ladies who send a child to school. 200,000 new children will be enrolled in 32 selected districts. About two million children will be enrolled by the end of this year. 355 schools are functional under C and G Education Directorate with enrolment of 185,000 students.

The education emergency has been declared in the FATA, where children in the age bracket of four to nine years are 100,000, whereas 400,000 children have been enrolled and 600,000 children are out of school with enrolment of 8,000 new children in schools, and the NER of will rise to 45 per cent. In the coming September, 45,000 more children will be enrolled, raising the NER to 49 per cent. 125,000 children will be enrolled during the Drive. There will be competition at Agency and Tehsil levels, and prizes will be awarded accordingly.

A working paper envisaging implementation strategy has already been distributed among all the stakeholders. For ensuring 100 per cent primary enrolment, the entire nation has to play its role. From April 1 to April 30, the federal and provincial governments will do their utmost to get 100 per cent primary school children enrolled. The provinces will run campaign under leadership of their Chief Ministers.

The district plans will be prepared and submitted by the DCOs and EDOs. The Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training and provincial governments will monitor the Drive. All university students are to be involved. The HEC will seek help from the university student volunteers to go to villages and katchi abadis for getting OOSC enrolled. All the parliamentarians, and district council representatives will enrol children themselves, and increase awareness of education among the masses. The NADRA will be contacted for special concession to issue birth certificate to enrol children under the Drive. The Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training, provincial education departments and CADD will establish the PMUs.

For more information, contact:
Haji Ahmed Malik
Principal Information Officer
Press Information Department (PID)
Tel: +92-51-9252323 and +92-51-9252324
Fax: +92-51-9252325 and +92-51-9252326
Email: piopid@gmail.com

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