1.5 million children out of school in KP: report -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

1.5 million children out of school in KP: report

Pakistan Press Foundation

PESHAWAR: Around 1.5 million children are out of school in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, according to the preliminary report of a survey, say sources.

Sources said that the survey was conducted by elementary and secondary education department to identify out of school children in the province. They said that Rs227 million was spent on the survey.

Sources said that the age of 1.5 million out of school children were from five to 16 years. They added that officials of education department put their heads together to find ways to bring the children to the school.

“Of them, the age of 0.6 million children is five to 10 years while 0.9 million children, who are not going to school, are 11 to 16 years old,” said sources while quoting the school census report.

The survey for identifying out of school children was conducted through teachers across the province. The final report of the census would be ready for publication next month. Around four million households were visited by the teachers to gather requisite data of children up to the age of 16 years in all districts of the province.

The survey was meant to get numbers and locations of out of school children besides type and level of schools of the enrolled children along with reasons leading to non-attendance of school.

Sources said that so far education department had no authentic data of out of school children that was why the survey was conducted to get accurate data. They said that the data would help education department to devise effective plans to ensure enrolment and quality of education of out of school children.

Education department had engaged 40,000 primary school teachers as enumerators and 7,500 teachers as supervisors for the survey. The enumerators were responsible to visit 100 houses for data collection of the children not going to schools.

Asked what the education department was planning to enrol out of school children, a senior official said that under Article 25-A of Constitution and sustainable development goal-4, it was the government’s responsibility to enrol children up to the age of 16 years.

Article 25-A states: “The state shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of five to sixteen years in such manner as may be determined by law.”

The official said that education department tasked Elementary Education Foundation Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to take measures for bringing to school the 1.5 million out of school children.

An official of EEF said that four activities were under-consideration for enrolling out of school children. “First of all, children aged five to 10 would be enrolled at government primary schools immediately,” he said.

Secondly, he said, if there was no government school, then the children would be enrolled at private schools and government would pay the fee under its voucher scheme already implemented in many areas of the province.

For children aging 11 to 16 years, he said, it was not possible to admit them to primary schools because of their age. “So an accelerated learning programme for them is under consideration,” he added.

Under the accelerated learning programme, the five years long primary course would be taught to them in two years. While in another one year, the courses up to 8th grade would be completed, he said.

“If no government and private school is available in the area where the number of out of school children is high, then the private schools owners would be encouraged to set up a branch of their schools in those areas,” said the official.

Dawn