As many as 121,000 children are out of school in Mianwali district, a recently conducted survey has revealed.
The survey, conducted by Alif Ailaan, has revealed that 661 vacancies for teachers have been lying vacant while a large number of schools across the district were devoid of basic facilities. According to the survey’s findings, 121,000 children were out of school with 87.1 per cent of the total number of children currently enrolled across public or private schools. The survey found students’ attendance to be above 80 per cent, which its report called a good sign.
Of the total openings for teachers, the survey found that 118 were for headmasters. The survey’s report called this a worrying trend prevalent across the district. The document said 41 per cent schools had been functioning with just two teachers while eight per cent had been making do with one, 24 per cent with three, 13 per cent with four and only 14 per cent with five teachers or more.
The survey’s report said nearly 35 schools were roofless across the district. The document stated that while land had been acquired by the government for five schools in the district buildings were yet to be constructed on it.
The survey’s report said there were no girls’ high schools across four Mianwali UCs. The document said the population of each of these UCs was around 22,000 people. The survey’s report held paucity of funds responsible for poor progress in the sector in Mianwali. The document said the survey had found that district authorities had only released funds for 31 schools across the district despite the passage of half of the fiscal year.
The survey’s report said there was a need to increase the amount of funds earmarked for the sector, especially for girls’ education. The document said schools needed more funds for maintenance and operations purposes that should be allocated as per need.
The survey’s report recommended strengthening dormant school management councils to overcome the shortage of teachers in the district. Other recommendations presented in the document included an increase in the non-salary or development budget, improving schools’ infrastructure, capacity building of education officials and making the budget-making process more participatory.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 21st, 2016.