LAHORE: The Institute of Social and Policy Sciences (I-SAPS) says 37pc of children aged between five and 16 years are still out of school in Lahore despite all enrollment campaigns launched by the Punjab government.

I-SAPS said there were 2.59 million children of school-going age out of whom 957,682 were out of school.

“It must be a major concern for the government if such a large number of children are out of school in the provincial capital,” said I-SAPS Lahore District Coordinator Jaffer Raza Bokhari while speaking at a meeting of local intellectuals and notables on Tuesday.

Bokhari said the problem would aggravate if remedial measures were not taken immediately in terms of establishing schools and recruiting qualified teachers. Even now, he said, many schools in Lahore were offering multi-grade teaching. He added many schools had a good strength of students but the number of classrooms and teachers were not enough for them. In five years, he said, careful estimates suggested that Lahore would need 38 public schools and 6,750 teachers.

Bokhari also said the infrastructure in public schools in Lahore was far better as only 0.3pc schools lacked potable water facility, 0.4pc usable toilets, 2.2pc electricity and 1.5pc boundary walls.

Explaining the school education finances, he said only 4pc budget was available for development and 10pc under non-salary head.

Bokhari stressed the intellectuals and notables in the city should approach public representatives in their respective constituencies for provision of missing facilities in schools and take measures to enroll out-of-school children.

The I-SAPS Lahore coordinator also presented a report card explaining the academic and infrastructure development in schools and consequent ranking of the city’s 25 constituencies.

Various political and education sector notables discussed the education sector in Lahore and vowed to urge their political leadership to improve schools in the district.

Published in Dawn, December 3rd, 2014