KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah on Wednesday expressed alarm when informed that that 55.6 percent children in the province are out of school.
The chief minister presiding over a meeting to review the status of public sector education directed education department to devise a detailed plan to improve the education system, reduce drop out ratio and develop capacity building of the teachers.
He said that he had declared emergency in education sector but the results are not encouraging, and there is a dire need to give proper attention to the weaknesses in the system so that they could be improved.
Secretary Education Aziz Uqaili briefed CM Sindh that literacy ratio is 60 percent while the target has been set at 70 percent for 2018.
He said that the latest report of Pakistan Education Statistics (2014-15) by National Education Management Information System Islamabad stated that in Sindh total school children aged 5-16 years are 11.9 million, while out of them 6.66 million are out of school.
Giving further details, the secretary added that out of 11,991,067 children aged 5-16 years, 5,327,706 are in school and 6,663,361 are out of school.
He said that the primary enrollment target was 77 percent against which 65 percent has been achieved. The enrollment target for middle school was 45 percent against which 35 percent achieved, and the target for secondary was 35 percent against which 25 percent was achieved.
The secretary education said that the dropout rate at primary level was 12.6 percent in 2014-15 and every year it is being reduced by three percent.
The meeting was informed that in 2016-17 there were 45,555 schools in the province, of them 42,383 are viable and 3172 nonviable. The overall enrolment in 2015-16 was 4,145,219 which improved to 4229,128 in 2016-17 showing an increase of two percent.
Similarly, in 2015-16 there were 156,216 teachers which reduced to 150,787 in 2016-17. The shortfall of 5429 teachers was due to retirement or resignation due to start of biometric attendance system.
Minister Education Jam Mehtab Dahar said that most school buildings are in dilapidated condition, roofs of majority of the schools are dangerous which were further damaged in recent rains.
A survey of damaged and dangerous school buildings was conducted in last month after heavy rains which found 6157 damaged or dangerous schools which require Rs.17,279 million to repair or reconstruct them.
The chief minister said the amount as an exaggerated figure. He said that he was not pleased with the state of schools in the province and the drop ratio whether it is accurate or not but is quite disappointing.
He was further informed that necessary measures have been taken to strengthen governance in schools, including the appointment of 1016 headmasters at primary level and introduction of education management cadre.
He directed the education department to select 15000 primary schools as model schools and provide them all facilities and keep a proper teachers-student ratio and monitor their education process through proper surveillance and inspections.
This process would improve education at primary level and similarly, 1000 secondary and higher secondary schools may also be selected as model schools.
It was also pointed out that most government schools are functioning without electricity. CM Sindh expressed displeasure and questioned how it is possible to produce good students when they are forced to receive education without a fan and light in their classroom.
Secretary education said that the KE has claimed Rs119 million electricity bill. CM Sindh directed chief secretary Rizwan Memon to call a meeting of KE and school education department to reconcile the bills.
“We allocate funds for payment of electricity bills and this year the amount is Rs110 million,” he said adding that it unacceptable that they would not tolerate disconnection to schools over lack of payment.
He directed the education department to prepare a detailed plan to improve education system, infrastructure and i capacity building of the teachers and control drop out ratio and submit for his approval.