KARACHI: The Japanese government will provide a grant of $1.1 million (Rs127.3 million) to the United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef) to support a non-formal education project, which will provide high quality alternative education to out-of-school children in Sindh.
This was announced by Schools Education Secretary Dr Iqbal Hussain Durrani at the project's launch ceremony. According to the project, 150 non-formal education (NFE) centres will be established to provide access to high quality alternative education to 4,500 children, including 2,500 females, in Ghotki and Khairpur districts.
These NFE centres will be established by Unicef in collaboration with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) and will be governed by the directorate of literacy and non-formal education under the education department.
Through the initiative, 150 NFE teachers, including at least 90 females, will be trained through a child-centred interactive teaching methodology to deliver high quality NFE content for the learning of students.
The project aims to include community involvement to teach out-of school children. For this, village education committees will be formed that will comprise 20 community members, of whom at least 60% will be women. The committee members will be trained to support the effective functioning of the NFE centres.
AIOU-JICA hold teacher training for out-of-school children
According to the schools education secretary, non-formal education was among four priorities of the school education department for the next 10 years. Dr Durrani appreciated Unicef for partnering in the project. He also thanked Jica for its participation in various education projects, including the NFE centres and construction of 52 state-of-the-art schools in various districts of the province.
Speaking at the ceremony, the Japanese consul-general said education played a critical role not only for the development of an individual, but also for the overall economic development of a nation. He added that Japan would continue to support education in Pakistan.
Jica has been consistently prioritising non-formal education in its ongoing technical assistance to Pakistan since 2004, a Jica representative said, adding that the agency was implementing the Advancing Quality Alternative Learning (AQAL) project that aimed to strengthen non-formal education in Sindh. Jica expects the Sindh government to expand non-formal education as a strategy to ensure the right to education to out-of-school children under Article 25-A of the Constitution.
'Social work is no less than worship'
By supporting the Sindh education department, Unicef aims to strengthen equitable access of high quality education to boys and girls in Sindh. Non-formal education is an appropriate educational model to provide access of education to boys and girls who are over-aged, dropouts and labourers, and who live in underprivileged regions.
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