PESHAWAR: NGO Khwendo Kor (Sister’s Home), Unicef and government officials met on Tuesday to discuss strategies to increase enrollment of girls in schools across Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata).
Khwendo Kor is a non-profit, non-partisan organisation which works as a forum to represent women’s issues.
The organisation’s Programme Director Gulali, while highlighting the basic aim of the group discussion, said in order to pursue the agenda of girl’s education they need to educate all stakeholders on the issue and increase awareness about the country’s constitutional and international commitments.
Khwendo Kor Chief Executive Maryam Bibi said developing countries like Pakistan are confronted with major political, economic and socio-cultural challenges that threaten social institutions, especially education.
She suggested a multifaceted approach is needed to effectively address the challenges Pakistan is facing in achieving universal primary education, particularly for girls.
Maryam discussed the steps her organisation has taken to encourage parents to send their daughters to school. These include introducing stipends for girls who attend classes and recruitment of more female teachers. “We have noticed improvements but the progress is far behind the desired result”.
Maryam said the disparities in enrollment, retention ratio and the overall literacy rate point towards the responsiveness of the system to gender issues in policy, planning and implementation in our country. “The enrollment of girls at primary level is no more than 20%,” she said, adding the situation was worse for higher grades.
She said the two major reasons for low enrollment of girls are insufficient budget allocation and inadequate policy provision.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 10th, 2013.
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