“The government is providing monthly stipends to girls to encourage enrolment. We are also trying to address the issue of missing facilities in schools, especially in southern districts of the province,” Public Instructions (Elementary) Director Islam Siddique said on Thursday.
He was talking at a youth discussion held by the Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi in collaboration with the University of Management and Technology.
The discussion focused on the right to free education provided by the Article 25-A of the Constitution.
Siddiue spoke about various initiatives of the School Education Department aimed at improving enrolment at schools.
He said the SED had set up 18 targets to achieve. He said the benchmarks would ensure activity-based teaching through properly trained teachers.
Siddique said the government paying a monthly stipend of Rs 200 to girls across the province to ensure a higher enrolment.
He said missing facilities were being provided at schools in the southern districts of the Punjab. He said 72 per cent of the facilities had already been provided.
Commenting on Article 25-A, he said the government was focusing on out-of-school special children and was planning to create an inclusive environment at schools. He said public schools would be issued a letter within a week to enrol children with learning disabilities.
He said the Punjab Text Board had been instructed to develop content, lesson plans and other learning materials to be made available over the internet.
He said the government was working on improving teacher’s skills while enhancing their information technology skills and capabilities. This project, he said, was still in the pilot phase.
ITA District Manager Usman Ali said the youth were an important segment of the population.
“We need better advocacy of rights of children and the right to free education,” he said.
Chairman of the Department of Education at UMT Sajid Masood described the issues and challenges faced by the government on implementing the right to education in view of availability, accessibility, acceptability and adaptability of the government infrastructure.
Masood said there was a need to deliberate on the availability of adequate infrastructure and trained teachers to support education delivery.
He said there was a need to increase allocated resources towards ensuring free and compulsory primary and secondary education was available to all children.
Director School of Governance and Society at UMT Rahatul Ain said besides increase in education funding, there was a need for political will to address issues pertaining to education.
“Making use of modern technology as an advocating tool, particularly social media could help,” he said.
Dean of the School of Social Sciences and Humanities at UMT Abdul Hameed said it was vital to reach out to all out-of-school children.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 27th, 2013.