PESHAWAR: Experts at a seminar on Thursday urged the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government to prioritise promotion of education, especially by ensuring provision of free education to all children and optimal use of budgetary allocations for education sector.They also called for provision of better educational facilities at grassroots level.

The seminar on ‘Khyber Pakhtunkhwa education budget’ was organised by the Alif Ailaan at the Peshawar Press Club.

Noted among panelists were Sajjad Changaizi of Alif Ailaan, Umar Orakzai of Network, Fakhar Alam of Mohmand Community for Education and Development, lawyer Ijaz Mohmand and Mohsin Khan.

In his presentation, Changaizi highlighted the dismal condition of education sector in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

He said around 22 per cent government schools in the province lacked basic facilities.

Experts complain most KP schools without basic facilities

“Half of local government schools don’t electric supply, while three in 10 schools are without drinking water and two in 10 schools without boundary walls,” he said.

The representative of the Alif Ailaan said it was unfortunate that the province’s budgetary allocations for education sector were not fully spent during the last fiscal year causing absence of necessary facilities at most government schools.

He said once the budget was allocated, first its entire amount should be released and second it should be fully used to ensure provision of facilities at educational institutions.

Changaizi said around 40 per cent of the province’s education budget was meant for the promotion of the girls’ education despite the fact that the enrollment of girls in government schools was very low.

He said at least 20 per cent of government schools in the province lacked teaching staff and as many didn’t have toilets stressing out students, especially girls.

The representative of the Alif Ailaan said Peshawar had 1,440 government schools, including 840 for boys and 600 for girls, but 54 of them, including 46 those for girls, were temporarily closed.

He said around 25 million children, including 15 million girls and 10 million boys, were out of schools in the country.

Changaizi said Khyber Pakhtunkhwa had around 7.1 million children in the 5-16 age bracket but ironically, 2.77 million of them including 67 per cent girls were out of schools.

Orakzai said according to a recent survey, the primary school enrolment in the province was quite low and that around 45 per cent of schoolchildren were enrolled at the government’s educational institutions.

He called for better facilities at schools and better educational funding.

Other panelists, too, called for provision of free education to all children and effective monitoring and spending of education budget to improve educational facilities in the province.

Published in Dawn, July 25th , 2014