Primary school is now a primary requirement

Maria Amir April 12, 2010

FAISALABAD: The provincial education department has directed all education executive district officers (EDOs) in 36 districts of the province to ensure the enrolment of all children between the age of five to ten in local schools.

A government circular stipulates that the Punjab education department has taken a number of steps for increasing literacy rates in the province and is seriously promoting equal-opportunity education throughout the province. The introduction of a universal primary education programme (UPEP) has been launched in 36 districts under which the enrolment of all the primary school children has been made mandatory to help the government attain the long since coveted 100 percent literacy rate in Punjab.

The government has also released funds and other facilities on priority basis to help fulfil its target and education officials have stated that missing or sub par facilities such as washrooms, up gradation of the schools, renovation, addition of new classrooms, staff rooms, waiting rooms, boundary walls, laboratories, libraries, computer labs etc will be provided to all schools.

Faisalabad executive district officer (EDO) for education Rana Farman Ali Khan said that funds had already been released to implement the elaborate measures as effectively as possible.

“All children will be required to attend schools and parent who don’t send their children to the schools will be punished under the law, he said, adding that district and tehsil officials would be conducting an extensive door to door survey to register students in their local communities.

Khan said that it was imperative that school management and the functionaries of the education department take speedy and appropriate steps ensuring maximum enrolments during the ongoing academic year as the government was already working to fulfil its end of the bargain by releasing the funds at its disposal.

A monthly test has also been put in place in all government schools and the PED has ordered all public schools to conduct monthly tests. “Students who do not appear in three consecutive exams shall be expelled from the school,” Rana said.

District teachers have been deployed to conduct the tests and the teachers will also be responsible for maintaining discipline, cleanliness and class attendance for public school teachers. The district teachers will also train local school teachers to conduct tests for students every month and submit detailed progress reports twice a year. These reports will be submitted directly to the office of the relevant DCO.

Special role numbers will be allotted to students to avoid bogus enrolment in schools as well as examinations. Students who leave the school will be able to seek admission in a new school only with a special roll number which will be available in Punjab education department records so that students can easily be traced if they leave their school.

Meanwhile, the education department has already collected data on primary school teachers who have previously studied under the matriculation system. “The department started gathering information on all primary level teachers two months ago because higher education authorities are going to adopt English as the medium of education in all primary schools throughout the province.

All teachers who hold matriculation degrees may have reason to worry”, said a PED official. The Punjab government’s announcement that it intends to improve basic education and enhance the capacity building of primary school teachers had already sent a nervous chill down many spines. Over 17,000 primary schools of the province were converted into English medium institutes on April 1 and 45,000 additional schools will be added to the fold gradually.