RSPN’s community activism campaign succeeds to enrol 33,436 out-of-school children

Dissemination seminar on Community-led Accountability for improving quality of education

ISLAMABAD: The Rural Support Programmes Network, on Wednesday organised a seminar to share the status of education in six districts where the RPSN has successfully executed a campaign on “Community Activism for Improved Access to Quality Education and Local Accountability (Article 25-A)”.

During the yearlong campaign RSPN’s team, through its project implementing partners National Rural Support Programme (NRSP), Sarhad Rural Support Programme (SRSP) and Sindh Rural Support Organisation (SRSO), mobilised communities to demand better and improved educational facilities for their children in the public sector schools. The campaign was funded by Foundation Open Society Institute Pakistan.

Mr. Ejaz Rahim, former Federal Secretary and chief guest of the event, attributed the success of the campaign to the recognition of the activists of the community. “It is them who move and bring about social change,” he remarked.

Mr. Rafique Tahir, Joint Educational Advisor of the Ministry Of Federal Education, was the Guest of Honour, who mentioned that Pakistan was a member of the E9 countries which represent 70% of the world’s illiterate adults. He emphasised that in order to decipher this alarming situation, we must engage the community and work on the non-formal education set up.

Ms. Shandana Khan, Chief Executive Officer RSPN, highlighted the achievements of the campaign which has succeeded to send 33,436 out of school children to schools, improve physical condition of 446 schools through infrastructural work worth Rs 100 million in 48 Union Councils of six low performing districts including Bahawalpur and Rajanpur in Punjab, Jacobabad and Kashmore in Sindh, and Kohistan and Battagram in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).

Ms. Nargis Sultana, Programme Officer, Foundation Open Society Institute – Pakistan, stressed on how things only change and progress through community movements. She believed that the positive results were achieved because of a fruitful collaboration between RSPN and FOSI.

The key contributors of the campaign present at the seminar came from remote underprivileged areas of Pakistan. Kohistan is one of the lowest in ranking in terms of development and education. Mufti Saeed ur Rehman a local prayer leader of the district, contrary to the existing norms in Kohistan, believed in education especially of girls, breaking a social taboo of the area. He made efforts to renovate 25 schools which resulted in almost 1200 enrolments.

Ruquia Bibi, President LSO, District Rajanpur, talked about four satellite schools that were built in her district, which is also a low ranked district. She also successfully enrolled 2900 out of school children of her area in schools through constant effort. By building a separate school for girls, she also managed to enrol 130 girls beside renovation of four school buildings.

The campaign encompassed the sensitisation of communities on the Article 25-A and the state of education in target areas, besides motivating the parents to demand the right to quality education through lobbying with the local stakeholders, specifically the district Education Department, politicians, journalists and religious leaders. This ultimately played a key role in improving the school conditions and enhance enrolment

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