ISLAMABAD: Benazir Income Support Program (BISP) held a consultative workshop on Monday to discuss the challenges faced by education sector in Pakistan and to brainstorm the ways to expand Waseela-e-Taleem (WeT) and its impact on country’s education status in general and the underprivileged children in particular.
The workshop was attended by educational stakeholders that included Secretary Education Sindh Abdul Aziz Uqaili, Managing Director Sind Technical Education and Vocational Training Authority (STVETA) Rafiq Buriro, Deputy Chief Advisor Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Pakistan Abid Gill, Director General National Vocational & Technical Training Commission (NAVTCC) Abdul Rahim Khan, regional directors BISP and a number of representatives from Sindh Education department, academicians, NGOs and organizations working for education.
The Chief Guest Minister of State and Chairperson BISP MNA Marvi Memon said that WeT initiative of BISP demonstrated the federal government’s commitment to education sector, despite the devolution of education to provinces after 18th amendment.
“BISP aims to take lead in the education sector by coordinating the efforts of different stakeholders, thus maximizing output for the benefit of the children,” she said.
She said that BISP is highway to the poor as it offers unique targeting and payment mechanisms. Being the largest stakeholder, BISP plans to coordinate with various stakeholders on literacy programmes and technical education initiatives, so that quality education could be taken to the poorest of the country.
The key note speaker Secretary Education Sindh Abdul Aziz Uqaili said that as education defines the future of a country so, top most priority must be accorded to the education sector.
Low school enrollment rate, 4000 ghost schools and absconder teachers in Sindh are tough challenges that government is trying to tackle through monitoring and merit recruitments, he said.
He appreciated BISP’s WeT for enrolling poor children and assured of full support from the provincial government for expanding WeT initiative in Sindh.
He said that Sindh Education Department would support BISP in attendance collection of WeT children in Shaheed Benazirabad. This initial cooperation would be further extended to other districts in Sindh as well.
Naveed Akbar, Director WeT briefed the audience on Waseela-e-Taleem. He said that WeT launched in October 2012, enrolls 5-12 years old children of its beneficiary families into primary schools. The beneficiary families receive Rs750 per quarter per child with the condition of 70% attendance compliance other than unconditional cash transfer (UCT) of Rs4,834 per quarter.