The Schools Education Department is set to computerise enrolment and drop out record of students at its schools across the province. With an identification number issued to every student, the department will be better equipped to track their records for information on student retention, SED Additional Secretary for Planning and Budget Mirza Mahmoodul Hassan said on Friday.
He was speaking at a post-budget seminar organised jointly the SED and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
He said the database would enable the department to find out the grade at which most students drop out of schools. He said Rs50 million had been allocated under the annual development programme in the education sector for the purpose. He said the department was working out a strategy in collaboration with the UNICEF to reduce drop out rates.
Hassan said of the Rs268.42 billion allocated to the SED for the year Rs205 billion was for payment of salaries, Rs29.4 billion for non-development expenses and Rs19.67 billion for development projects.
Hassan said missing facilities had been provided in 53,000 schools under the Chief Minister’s Reforms Roadmap. He said with the various measures taken under the roadmap, attendance rate for students and teachers had increased to 91 per cent and 92 per cent from 83 percent and 85 percent, respectively.
Of the Rs19.6 billion development funds, he said Rs8.5 billion would be spent on reconstruction of dilapidated school buildings; Rs5 billion on provision of missing facilities; Rs1.4 billion on provision of solar panels for schools and Rs1.57 billion for upgrade of school buildings.
He cited a survey to say that there were 852 dangerous and 2,998 partially dangerous school buildings in the province. He said Rs21 billion would be spent over the coming years to repair or re-build these buildings.
Responding to a question on 6,000 schools having a single teacher each, he said vacancies were being approved for hiring of teachers at such schools.
Directorate of Staff Development Project Director Ehsan Bhutta stressed the need to rationalise the strength of teaching staff. He said besides recruitment of new teachers, the department would focus on rationalisation of its teaching staff postings to ensure that a 40 to 1 student-to-teacher ratio was maintained at all its schools. He said of the 34,000 teachers recently recruited by the department, 8,000 had completed their training in April and the remaining would start their training after Eid-ul Fitr.
Responding to a question on a Daanish School building in Attock that had recently collapsed, SED Deputy Secretary for Planning and Budget Qaiser Rasheed said an inquiry was underway to determine the cause of the incident. He said the department would spend Rs4 billion on mentoring of its teaching staff. He said the drop-out rates were higher at the middle- and higher education levels. “We have achieved our enrollment targets for the primary- level,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 11th, 2015.
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