“With 45 percent of Pakistan’s children out-of-schools, the country’s education indicators were not in the least satisfactory even before the pandemic. And now, in its aftermath, our education system has further experienced a major setback.
” These views were expressed by senior journalist ZarrarKhuhro while moderating a dialogue, “Let’s talk Education: Priorities, Pandemic & Beyond.”
The virtual dialogue was organized by Pakistan Youth Change Advocates (PYCA) as part of its #InvestInEducationStrengthenPakistan campaign.
Senior political representatives from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh who participated in this event included Ayesha Bano (Provincial Parliamen-tary Secretary for Higher Education, KP) and MPA SharmilaFaruqui from Sindh.
MPA Ayesha Bano spoke about the efforts put in place by the KP government to ensure access to education for every out-of-school child in the prov-ince with a special focus on bringing more girls to schools.
“In the recently announced provincial budget, the highest allocations were made under education and health.
The number of out-of-school girls is higher than boys in our province, hence 70% of the education development budget has been allo-cated to focus on girls’ education.
We have also introduced community schools and voucher schemes so out-of-school children, especially girls can be accommodated in private institutions with the help of government funding.”
Ayesha Bano also shed light on the challenge of street children and children with autism “We have passed a resolution to ensure that a psychologist or counselor is housed in every school of the province.
Close to 1,000 existing teachers have already been trained to identify children with learning disabilities so they can be provided the special attention and support that they need.
We have also introduced the ZamungKor initiative, which aims to make educa-tion possible for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s street chil-dren.”
Highlighting the Sindh government’s efforts to mitigate this situation, MPA SharmilaFaruqui shared, “With the help of Sindh Education Founda-tion we have developed clusters of community schools.
These schools are run by the community and a monthly stipend of Rs. 450 is given to the families for enrolling their daughters and Rs. 350 for enrolling their sons.”
SharmilaFaruqui also stressed the need for a na-tional task force or a body similar to the NCOC to address Pakistan’s education emergency.