2,000 closed schools given to Sindh Education Foundation

KARACHI:13 May:The Sindh Education Foundation [SEF] will be handed over 2,000 non-functional schools from the Sindh government. The SEF is a semi-autonomous organisation that works with the government to support education in the province through multifarious interventions.

“Please explore the possibility of public-private partnership to functionalise these 2,000 closed schools,” Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah said on Thursday to Education Minister Jam Mehtab Hussain Dahar and Education Secretary Abdul Aziz Uqaili during the eighth meeting of the SEF’s board of governors.

The meeting, which was chaired by Shah at CM House, was attended by Dahar, who is the vice-chairperson of the board of governors, Chief Secretary Rizwan Memon, Planning and Development Chairperson Muhammad Waseem, Uqaili, Finance Secretary Hassan Naqvi, SEF Managing Director Naheed Shah Durrani and non-official members of the board of governors such as Dr Kaiser Bengali, Dr Qazi Masood, Dr Muhammad Memon and Hussnain Qamar Shah.Mutual initiative: Deal inked for educational research

Briefing the board, Durrani stated that during the past few years, the foundation has expanded its outreach to over 506,511 students through a network of 2,100 schools. However, few structural changes have also been achieved, she said, adding that the SEF is gradually moving into a post primary portfolio and currently has an enrolment of 80,000 students at post primary level in elementary, secondary and high schools. “The SEF has moved away from two- to three-room schools and now a majority of their schools are six-room plus,” she explained.

Durrani said there is a minimum complement of services available in schools together with required teachers. She added that SEF has prepared in-house quality workbooks and provided these to over 350,000 students in their schools to enhance their education.

Shah appreciated the SEF’s portfolio and said a public-private partnership mode needs to be structured to help the government reach students who are out of school. “Methodologies and implementation plans can be deliberated to tackle the issue of abandoned schools with the school education department taking the lead and engaging the SEF as the key player in the education sector,” he said.

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Durrani submitted the progress on the Teach for Change initiative. The board was told that 77 Teaching Support Associates (TSAs), on the model of Teach for Pakistan and Teach for America, have been hired from prestigious institutions. These young graduates will play their role as subject specialised teachers and change agents in the foundation’s schools in Sukkur, Hyderabad, Dadu, Mirpurkhas and Tharparkar regions in the initial phase.

With the idea of supplementing traditional teaching and learning methods, information and communication technology-based learning has also been introduced, the progress of which was also shown to the board. The foundation has already done a pilot launch of class five mathematics and science educational content in five districts – Khairpur, Dadu, Umerkot, Mirpurkhas and Karachi. Resultantly, a 60% to 70% learning improvement was recorded by the foundation’s in-house Learning Support Unit. This application will be launched in September, 2017 and the CM will formally launch the programme after Ramazan.

Durrani also presented the revised budget of the current financial year 2016-2017 and the budget estimate of the upcoming financial year 2017-2018 before the board. They were apprised that in the outgoing year, around 89% of the budget was spent on student fees and school development services whereas the same is envisaged for the next fiscal year.Express News.