Planning Commission concerned over rising number of out of school kids

Zubair Qureshi

As part of the ongoing voluntary national review of the Sustainable Development Goals , a high level national policy dialogue was organized by the Planning Commission to review the progress on SDG4, with a focus on the rising number of Out of School Children .

The meeting also took stock of the recent strategies and initiatives undertaken by the CSOs, NGOs, the government and the development partners to address the same and firmed up recommendations in this context

Deputy Chairman Planning Commission, Dr Muhammad Jehanzeb Khan said there was a need to improve the implementation of plans to mitigate the issue under discussion. He recommended that the Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training should work in collaboration with the Ministry of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives to prepare a comprehensive proposal for allocation of dedicated funds through the National Economic Council .

He hoped that with concerted efforts and with the collaboration of all stakeholders, the long-standing issue of Out of School Children (OOSC) would be properly tackled.

Dr Shabnum Sarfraz, Member Social Sector and Devolution, Planning Commission said that Pakistan has the second highest number of OOS children globally.

She said it is alarming to note that 10% of the OOS girls globally are in Pakistan. Joint Secretary Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training shared the recent government initiatives taken to provide access to quality education and also address the disruption in educational activities caused by COVID19.

Secretary BISP informed the programme had 5 million beneficiaries of the education stipend programme which offered a higher incentive to female students. It was further informed that they hold data of every OOS child with GPS coordinate which can be accessed by all partners and organizations for a more targeted interventions to address this challenge. Representatives from the provincial departments talked about the recent initiatives taken which included Baluchistan Education Sector Plan, Alternate Learning Pathway Centers in KP, digital learning and monitoring initiatives to track school drop outs in Sindh and provision of free text books and uniforms in AJK.


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