Sindh education sector plan fails to meet standards

KARACHI:July 5: The Sindh Education Sector Plan (SESP) has not met the threshold of quality education from 2014 to 2018 as for the first time the Education and Literacy Department Sindh, has documented the plan by setting goals with detailed ordinations and instructions after the 18th Amendment in 2010, Daily Times has learnt.

Despite, Constitution of Pakistan has obviously given the right of free and compulsory education to entire Pakistani citizens, aged 5 to 16 under the Article 25 but the provincial government couldn't ensure to deliver even the basic right of education to the citizen as more than 50 percent children in the province are out of schools.

It was also strong-willed in the SESP to boost enrollment in the government schools, basic facilities will be provided to the students, recruitment process of teachers will be made transparent via merit basis, training sessions will be conducted, government will make sure to enroll out of schools children, maximum budget will be allocated, funds for education will be increased yearly to promote education in the province, new buildings will be constructed and so on. Similarly, many other lack nesses and errors were pointed out in the SESP documentation to be offset in the stated timeline till 2018.

All those solemn vows of provincial government are however proved unremitting and state of quality education in government schools became worse rather than the past. Even though, the Sindh government is spending Rs 3000 for per students on monthly basis in the government schools. Amazingly, the government is only paying Rs 600 as fees to the low-cost private schools for the meager children especially in the suburban areas via the Sindh Education Foundation (SEF).

The education department has also obscured the progress reports of SESP not been released that reports for the public in general. However, the Public Interest Law Association of Pakistan (PILAP), a private organization, working for education and other public interest causes, filed a law suit in Sindh High Court (SHC) last year against the education department , to public the implementation and results.

PILAP pleaded in the SHC to direct the Sindh government to share the financial reports, supervisory matters of government schools, implementation and results with public on quarterly basis which were predetermined under SESP and SEF by provincial government. "It was ensured in SESP that free education up to the age 16 will be provided and around 4 million out of school children in Sindh will also be enrolled till 2018", Dr Amjad Waheed, one of the founding member of PILAP told Daily Times, adding that Sindh government didn't allot enough funds to enroll all children in schools whereas SESP will be
ending in 2018.

Relying on the traditional schooling system is not enough because there is a need to enhance funding scope of the SEF and other interested agencies to achieve 100 percent enrollment ratio and better literacy rate. Under the private sector in education like SEF and other private organization are playing a vital role by running low-cost private schools which is better much than government operated schools because quality of education in those low-cost private schools is generally better than government schools, he further suggested.

He also pointed out that by allowing the private sector to construct and run low-cost private schools, the government will be free up the budget allocation to construct new school's building and those funds would not be
reallocated and revised for the upgrading over 20,000 existing building of government schools which lack boundary walls, clean drinking water, toilets, and electricity. Published in Daily Times, July 5th , 2017.