85,000 girls enrolled by Unicef in two years
By Our Correspondent
PESHAWAR, Sept 28: The Unicef has enrolled 85,000 girls under its universal primary education programme in four districts of the province during the last two years. The UN aims to improve the enrolment of girl students by 80 per cent by the year 2008 in the designated districts. This was stated by Unicef ’s in charge of the programme Mukhtar Aziz Kansi at a mid-term review meeting here on Thursday. Mr Kansi said that the programmes aimed at increasing enrolment, retention and completion of courses in primary schools in Abbottabad, Hangu, Swabi and Upper Dir through various interventions, focussing on improving achievement level and retention rates for all girls between five to 12 years. He said that the programme also envisaged at improving the existing gross enrollment rate by 15 per cent in these districts. During the programme, more than 25,000 girls would be provided access to the primary education in every district.
As part of the focus on quality, the project promotes a process enabling establishment of more child-friendly schools and classrooms through provision of basic learning materials, reduction in class room size and improvement of teachers’ training. It is executed jointly by district focal persons, executive district officers, education and nongovernmental organisations (NGOs), he added. This is complemented by a continuing process of focused advocacy and coordination among stakeholders at provincial and district levels, he added. The strategy, he said, encourages developing community-based school monitoring and support systems to increase local and district government community ownership and participation to assure project’s sustainability after completion of the programme. During the last two years, 250 female teachers have been trained apart from opening 200 community feeder school, he said.
A household survey carried out at the district level to identify out-of-school children that was followed by appointment of 150 new teachers in government schools paving the way for reopening of more than 30 closed schools. Parents-teachers associations at school level, establishment of volunteers network forums at Union Council level, capacity-building measures, like teachers’ training for first grade schools in katcha areas will be on agenda, he said, adding that training for district education officials for efficient education management information system will also be undertaken. Almost 265 community feeder schools had been established in the districts of Hangu, Upper Dir, Swabi and Abbottabad to provide primary education facilities to girls at their nearest places. Through an innovative approach mobility support were provided to 400 female teachers in three districts – Hangu, Swabi and Upper Dir. The emergency relief work undertaken by the Unicef education section in Mansehra and Battagram districts were also highlighted. Officals of education department, Unicef and other related departments attended the meeting.