PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government will launch a pilot project in a couple of months to support the education of the poor out-of-school children, according to sources.
The project, Iqra Faroghe Taleem Voucher Scheme, is only for those poor out-of-school children whose parents could not afford their education in private schools in the areas where the government has not constructed any public sector primary, middle, high or higher secondary school.
In the pilot phase of the scheme, around 2,000 children of the underprivileged families would be given admissions, they said. The voucher scheme would be gradually extended to other parts of the province after evaluation of the pilot project. The Elementary Education Foundation (EEF), Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, would execute the scheme.
The sources said that the voucher scheme would initially be launched in the selected areas of five union councils in Peshawar as a pilot project. It would be for the educationally underprivileged segment of the society.
2,000 children of underprivileged families will benefit in the first phase
According to the budget documents, the underprivileged segment of the society has been defined as labourers, daily wagers, orphans, brick kiln workers, etc.
The sources said that EEF was also under criticism for the delay in launch of the voucher scheme as it had also been reflected in the budget for 2013-14. However, the EEF officials said that the scheme was a new initiative, so conducting a survey prior to launching the scheme and making the criteria for selecting poor students was a must for its success that took time. Funds of Rs500 million have already been allocated for the execution of the voucher scheme.
The scheme would be launched as a pilot project in Shaheedabad area of union council (UC) Shaheen Muslim Town, Rehmatabad area of UC Kacha Garhi, Ghazali area of UC Regi, Lakhkar village of UC Khalisa, and Ghani Rehman village of Thukhabad UC.
The officials said that these areas had been selected keeping in view the high number of out-of-school children and poverty there. They said that the beneficiaries would include those children who could not afford to secure admission to the private schools where there was no government school in a radius of two kilometres.
They said that the government had fixed monthly tuition fee for the students of the primary school at Rs500, middle Rs600 and for high school at Rs800, to be paid to the private schools through a voucher.
Academic test would be taken from the students enrolled in the private schools under the voucher scheme after every six months to evaluate the performance of the students and teachers of the respective schools, the sources said. If the performance of the students is not satisfactory then the agreement with the school would be withdrawn for poor performance. The sources said that after withdrawal of the agreement the students would be admitted to another nearest private school.
Published in Dawn, July 23rd, 2014