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LAHORE: The Sindh government has failed to bring more than half of school-going age children to schools and those in schools are not learning well.

In Balochistan, only 39 per cent of the primary school age children are enrolled, and of them 57 per cent of girls and 54 per cent of boys will drop out before finishing the primary level education.

This was the crux of the two presentations made on post-18th amendment education scene in Sindh and Balochistan provinces at a National Roundtable on “Devolution of Education” organised by the Centre for Civic Education Pakistan, Khudi Pakistan and Hanns Seidel Foundation at a local hotel on Wednesday.Strengthening Participatory Organisation chief executive Naseer Memon said the Sindh education department, despite with an allocation of Rs135.55 billion (23 per cent of the total provincial outlay), needed drastic measures to bridge the missing facilities. He said 74 per cent of schools were without electricity, 49 per cent without potable water, 42 per cent without toilets, 45 per cent without boundary walls and 21 per cent of schools were still shelter-less. Besides, three per cent of the schools’ buildings had been declared dangerous, he added.

Mr Memon said 6,164 schools in Sindh were either non-functional or ghost ones and the Sindh education department secretary said that some 13,000 teachers were illegally recruited.

About Balochistan, University of Balochistan’s lecturer Faiza Mir said only 39 per cent of the primary school age children were enrolled, and of them 57 per cent of girls and 54 per cent of boys would drop out before finishing the primary level education. She said that only 13 per cent of the secondary school age children were currently enrolled in schools.

She said 72 per cent of schools in Balochistan lacked toilets besides over 2,000 ghost schools that were being “manned” by some 3,000 ghost teachers. She said that some 10,000 settlements in Balochistan had no schools altogether.

Ms Mir said the government had integrated the curriculum on human rights, peace, school health, conflict resolution and disaster risk deduction.

She said the government had also promulgated the Act on Free and Compulsory Education in consonance with the Article 25-A as well as introduced Mother Language at Primary level.

Writer and researcher Dr Rubina Saigol said the federal government did not have education on its priority agenda as it had allocated just Rs64 billion for education sector but Rs700 billion for defence in the federal budget.

Centre for Civic Education head Zafarullah Khan spoke on “Reluctant federation to devolve education” and “Selecting heroes for the textbooks”.

Published in Dawn, June 5th, 2014