KARACHI: Emergency will be imposed in the education sector across the province to bring out-of-school children back, said Chief Minister (CM) Murad Ali Shah at the inaugural session of the Second Sindh Joint Education Sector Review on Tuesday.
The CM was the chief guest at the first of the two-day Joint Education Sector Review (JESR-II), which was organised by the Sindh education and literacy department. The review was on the two years completion of the Sindh Education Sector Plan (SESP) 2014-2018.
Referring to the high number of out-of-school children, the CM said there are around 6.6 million children in Sindh who do not go to school. There is an immediate need to gather exact data of the number of children in any district compared to schools, teachers and facilities, he observed.
The CM also asked education minister Jam Mehtab Hussain Dahar and secretary Fazlullah Pechuho to evolve proper criteria to gather the data.
Referring to the poor condition of public schools, the CM asked the audience, which consisted of teachers, educationists, officials and representatives of the development partners, that if anyone of them will send their children to study at these government schools. "This is where we stand in the education sector and this is from where we need to start and rebuild," he said.
Under article 25-A, students between the ages of five to 16 are to get free and compulsory education in Sindh, he said, adding that now the government needs to ensure that children are in school.
The CM suggested that Pechuho and Dahar should work to mobilise all MPAs to look after schools in their respective constituencies. He added that the MPAs can select one school in their constituency, develop it and make it a model school in the span of three months, so that schools in other constituencies can do the same.
"Money is not a problem, we have enough funds and can fulfill the commitments with the given resources," the CM said, adding that the real challenge is to utilise funds and achieve the desired outcome.
To ensure that every child is in school, child registration certificates from the National Database and Registration Authority should be linked with the education system, so that the education department can work to accommodate the children, the CM added.
Dahar assured that every child in Sindh will get quality education by successful implementation of SESP. To cope with the huge number of out-of-school children, he said that it is important for the government, development partners and the civil society to make efforts to tackle this challenge together.
"To keep a check on the system, we have hired monitors in the field to keep an eye on schools and teachers," Pechuho said, adding that governance is one of the challenges in the education system. Another important step which was taken to improve education sector was setting up the complaint management system of the education department, Pechuho said. People can use the messages-based system to submit their complaints and ask for updates.
Reform Support Unit chief programme manager Faisal Ahmed Uquaili in his presentation discussed the five themes of the SESP, which cover access, quality, governance, coordination and district education in schools.
Representatives from development partners, including Unicef, World Bank, Sindh Education Sector Support Programme, European Union, Unesco, were also present at the annual review meeting.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 28th, 2016.
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