Drive for quality education kicks off

SUKKUR:11th august: Speakers addressing at opening of 11-month drive on raising voice and quality education, organised by Foundation Open Society Institute were of the view that aim of the project was to mobilise rural communities to demand implementation of Article 25-A and to create a system of local-level accountability in education.
The project has been implemented by Rural Support Programme Network (RSPN) with Sindh Rural Support Organisation (SRSO) in 16 union councils of Jacobabad and Kashmore-Kandhkot districts.

Project Manager RSPN, Humera Hussain said that there were reasons why 25 million children in Pakistan were out of schools.

Difficulty to access, poor learning outcome, social pressures and extreme poverty has been the leading factors. She said education emergency was required and long-term structural reforms should be made. But sometimes the answer is as simple as helping communities know their rights and enabling them to hold government officials to account, she added.

Since 2010, she said, when Constitution (Eighteenth Amendment) Act was passed, every child in Pakistan between age of 5 and 16 has been guaranteed education free of cost. She said this fundamental right, enshrined in Article 25-A of Constitution of Pakistan, puts onus on state to ensure every child should be in school.

Ms Humera said challenge for project was to create awareness about Article 25-A and enable parents to act on their own to improve delivery of education locally by holding community meetings and organising walks and rallies, Journalists through their column and reports should also spread message on right to education. "Parents don't know who to approach if there is a problem with local school.

Senior Manager Social Services Sector of SRSO, Naimatullah Shaikh said that under project, primary aim is to mobilize all stakeholders on issue of education and remind policymakers of their due responsibility making Article 25A a reality. He said press clubs would be engaged to highlight education related issues of district identified by Local Support Organizations and District Parent Ittehad.

District level working journalists would also be invited to attend one-day orientation where they will be briefed state of education and their role, Shaikh added.

A fair number of women representatives of LSOs, Village Organisation, local elected representatives, education officers, media men and others attended the event.
Published in Daily Times, August 11th 2017.