SHABQADAR: Fata Education Department has devised a five-year plan to boost literacy rate in the tribal areas, reconstruct and rehabilitate education institutions damaged or destroyed due to militancy, end disparity between male and female enrollment and promote higher education.
Giving details of the 2015-20 plan for Fata education, Fata Education Department Director Hashim Khan Afridi on Wednesday told media that under the plan the first priority is to reconstruct all destroyed and damaged schools.
“During militancy, more than 500 schools were destroyed in Fata. These educational facilities will be reconstructed and provided with enhanced facilities like boundary walls, drinking water, electricity, solar panels, laboratories and playgrounds,” he said. Afridi added students get enrolled in the existing facilities but it is difficult to retain them due to absence of basic facilities.
He said once the temporarily displaced people (TDP) completely return to their areas, the department will try to bring children to the school and for this purpose it has launched an enrollment drive.
“In Fata where more than 50 per cent of children are out of school, we have enrolled 178,000 children, 126,000 of whom are enrolled in public schools. The remaining will get instruction in private schools and religious seminaries,” he added.
He said the education department was also struggling to decrease the dropout rate, which is 68 per cent at primary level right now.
To a question, Afridi said the department was also launching an early childhood education or preprimary schools classes.
“In the first phase, we will launch this in 100 primary schools, where children of 3-4 years will get non-formal preprimary education in the way schools in developed countries prepare their kids for formal education.
“This system will be based on separate classes, separate trained teachers and separate curriculum, which will be extended gradually from 100 to all primary schools in Fata,” he added.
He said there was huge disparity in male and female enrollment and the department wanted to admit more girls from primary to high level schools.
“For this purpose, we – with the help of WFO – started registration from April 2017 to provide Rs1,000 monthly scholarship to every girl up to high school,” he said. `
He said under the five-year plan, the department will construct and upgrade 60 per cent of girls schools as compared to 40 per cent of boys schools to end this disparity.
Outlining plan to boost higher education in the tribal belt, Afridi said higher secondary schools will be upgraded into colleges, where four-year BS classes will be started by 2021.
“We will upgrade high schools to higher secondary schools. Our first priority is to upgrade girls schools from primary to middle, from middle to higher and from higher to colleges,” he said.
He said literacy rate was also improving which had gone up from 10 per cent in 2013 to almost 23 per cent now. He said the male literacy rate in the area was 46 per cent compared to female literacy rate of 13.
“There are 5,994 educational institutions in Fata. These institutions comprise 4,540 primary schools, 540 middle schools, 347 high schools, 46 higher secondary schools and 35 colleges.
“We launched enrollment drive in April-May and the second such drive has started from August 15 to bring more children to schools,” he added.