Tue, 28 Jun 2022

Islamabad [Pakistan], May 16 (ANI): Pakistan's Elementary and Secondary Education (E and SE) Department needs to establish over 15,000 additional government schools for enrolling a total of 4.7 million out-of-school children in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, according to an internal assessment.

The figure of 15,000 new government schools surfaced in the internal assessment of the department when it started deliberation on how to enrol the 4.7 million out-of-school children and provide them with the relevant education facilities, Dawn reported citing ESE Department's sources.

A few months ago, a survey by Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) shared that 39 per cent of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's 11.7 million children in the age bracket of 5-16 are out of school, including one million living in merged tribal districts.

The survey conducted as part of the BISP's National Socio-Economic Registry census with the help of elementary and secondary school teachers had estimated the number of out-of-school children in the province, Dawn reported.

Currently, some 35,000 government schools were functioning in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province where 5.5 million children were getting an education, according to an official in the education department.

"It is beyond our financial resources and almost impossible for the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government to construct 15,000 schools for the out-of-school children," an official said.

The official said that every year the government approved the construction of 300 government schools in the annual budget, including primary, middle and high schools. He said if the government started constructing the required 15,000 schools with the same ratio then it would meet the target in the next 50 years.

He further said that the construction of a six-room building for a primary school would cost Rs 30 million on the land given free of cost by the locals, while the cost escalated when there was no land donor.

"The construction of a building for a single government school is completed in a minimum of two years, while sometimes it takes three to four years," he added.

The annual budget for the ESE department was Rs 205 billion, which includes Rs 185 billion for salaries of the teaching and non-teaching staff and Rs 20 billion for the development budget, reported Dawn.

An educationist said that for a country like Pakistan it was imperative that this obligation be actualised in the form of functional schools.

According to the BISP survey, the number of out-of-school girls in the province is 2.9 million, which comes to 53 per cent of the total 5.4 million girl population of the same age group and of the 6.2 million boys, 1.7 million are out of school.

Kolai-Palas district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province topped the list of settled districts with the highest number of 77 per cent of children not attending school, Upper Kohistan second with 70 per cent and Lower Kohistan third with 69 per cent out-of-school children. (ANI)

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