No registration fee, free textbooks and scholarships are some of the incentives offered by the education department in Hyderabad. The department kicked off a seven-day campaign to motivate parents to enroll their children in school.
Several teachers and administrative staff participated in the rally organised by the department on Monday.
The procession was led by Education EDO Niaz Laghari.
Start enrolling your four-year olds, instructed the colourful banners.
Similar rallies would be organised by Assistant District Officers of Education (ADOE) in their areas on Tuesday, while on the third day, seminars will be organised to highlight the importance of education.
From Thursday onwards, all ADOEs and teachers will go knocking on doors and distributing handbills and pamphlets to tell people about education programmes. Meanwhile, mosques, radios and local cable networks will also be used to spread the message.
Out of the 468,357 children between five to 14 years in Hyderabad, only 281,245 are enrolled in schools, according to the district education department statistics.
Talking to The Express Tribune, Laghari said that the drive was especially targeting parents who would otherwise prefer to keep their children out of school so the children could work and earn a few extra bucks instead.
The responsibility of educating children lies with the parents, he said. “For our part we will ensure that children get a quality education and all facilities in school.”
When asked about the persistent low standard of education in government schools, he replied that the department was aware of the shortcomings. Teacher training courses are being organised to make things better, he added.
He said the department can try and train teachers better, provide them with adequate salaries and other perks so they have incentives to perform well. However, at the end of the day, it is up to the teachers to work responsibly and honestly, he said.
Laghari also admitted to certain obstacles in maintaining good teaching standards. “A principal of a private school can easily sack a teacher on grounds of inefficiency. But the same thing becomes difficult when it comes to public sector schools owing to certain pressures.”
One of the ways in which the department is hoping to improve education in the province is by converting the schools into English medium. “Out of over a thousand schools in the district, at least 300 have been converted into English medium,” the EDO said. The rest of the schools are Sindhi or Urdu medium.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 12th, 2011.