ISLAMABAD: Education authorities in the federal capital have completed the first phase of admitting out-of-school children in government-run schools of the city. Officials had targeted the enrollment of some 4,000 children who are between five to seven years-of-age in this phase.
A survey to determine out-of-school children (OOSC) in the federal capital had identified some 10,800 children and data about them had been handed over to schools of the city which operate under the Federal Directorate of Education (FDE).
The education ministry and the FDE had handed over this data to the area education officers (AEOs) and school principals to ensure the OOSC are enrolled.
The first phase of enrollment of these children began on March 27 and ended on Friday, April 5.
In Islamabad’s Sihala area, AEO Nazmeen Sohail has to enrol a total of 1,342 OOSC. Of these, she has enrolled 384 children between 5-7 years of age under the first phase. She added that there were 74 educational institutions in the area, including 42 for girls and 32 for boys while children between five to seven years are to be enrolled in 47 schools.
Urban-I Area Education Officer Saira Amjad said that she had enrolled 180 children between 5-7 years of age in the first phase. She added that OOSC getting admissions will be given gift packs which comprise uniforms, stationery, books, and school bag.
Urban-II Area Education Officer Abdul Waheed said that his admission teams had also completed their targets. He added that there were a total of 726 OOSC in his defined area, including 175 children who are between 5-7 years-of-age.
He added that there are 55 educational institutions in this sector, including 45 schools for women and 10 for boys. As many as 30,000 students are already enrolled in these institutions.
“We are trying to make this programme successful as much as we can and the parents of out of school children are quite happy that their children are being admitted to the school,” Waheed said.
In the second phase, 4,374 children between the ages of 8-12 years-of-age will be enrolled in schools, including 2,772 boys and 1,602 girls.
Some of these children will be admitted in public schools while others will be admitted in non-formal schools, where a special three-year primary school curriculum has been prepared for them and they will be promoted to next class so that they can be with their peers as equals, solving the issue of over-aged children.
In the third phase, 2,610 children of 13-16 years-of-age, including 1,875 boys and 735 girls, will be educated with help from non-governmental organisations. A special curriculum has been prepared which will provide them with education and technical skills.
The phased enrollment drive is expected to end by May 1 and within two months the target of bringing 100% out of school children to schools will be achieved.
The federal government estimates that some 27,000 children are out-of-school in the federal capital. However, a survey had found that the capital’s schools do not have enough space to accommodate all of them, having space for only 22,000 more students.
Of the 423 schools and model colleges in the city, 163 schools have a capacity for some 176,920 pupils. But they currently have just 152,029 children enrolled in them and have the capacity to accept some 22,891 more students.
At the same time, there are some 20 model colleges which are overfull.
In urban-I, there are 22 schools which have not enrolled students to capacity. These schools have space for 19,040 students but only 14,006 students are currently enrolled in them with space for 5,034 more students. Similarly, in urban-II, there are 15 schools which are short of capacity. Having space for around 8,330 students, but only 5,385 students are enrolled in these schools thus far, with a gap of 2,945 students.
In Bhara Kahu, there are 44 schools which have a capacity to absorb 14,945 students but currently only enrol around 8,211 pupils with a capacity to absorb 6,734 more students.
Moreover, in Nilore, 23 schools can accommodate 5,915 students but currently only enrol 2,815 students and have a capacity to take on 3,100 additional students.
In the 35 schools located in Sihala, just 7,258 students are enrolled even though the schools have a capacity for 10,815 students and have room for 3,557 additional students.
In Tarnol, there are 13 schools which have a capacity of 4,165 students but only 2,087 students are enrolled there and have space to accommodate 2,078 new students.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 6th, 2019.
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