KARACHI: “With over six million children out of school in Sindh, we need to impose an education emergency here to bring our children back to school,” said Sindh chief minister Syed Murad Ali Shah at the inaugural session of the second Sindh Joint Education Sector Review being conducted by the Sindh education and literacy department.

He also said that there was Article 25-A for free and compulsory education for children aged five to 16, and what was needed really was to ensure that children went to school. “Money is not a problem. We already have enough but we can also reappropriate from other sources to fulfil the commitments. The real challenge is to utilise funds and achieve the desired outcome,” he said.

The CM said that it would be a good idea to link the child registration certificate from Nadra with the education system to ensure that every child was in school. “We should start registration the day the child is born,” he said and told the minister of education to mobilise all MPAs to look after schools in their respective constituencies.

Sindh minister for education and literacy Jam Mehtab Dahar pledged that every child in Sindh would get quality education by successful implementation of the Sindh Education Sector Plan. He further said that considering educational challenges in the Sindh province, where there were still around 6.6 million children in the five to 16 age bracket out of school. “It is very important for the government, development partners and civil society to synergise resources and efforts to tackle this challenge,” he said.

Meanwhile, secretary for education and literacy Dr Fazlullah Pechuho discussed the challenges in the education system. He said governance was also one of the challenges but we have managed to handle it by hiring monitors in the field to monitor schools, absconder teachers. “Another important step towards improving governance is the complaint management system called Ilmi. It’s a text based system through which anyone can send a complaint or question that has anything to do with education,” he said.

Earlier, chief program manager of the Reform Support Unit Faisal Ahmed Uquaili shed light on road to the development of the Sindh Education Sector Plan.

Development partners such as education specialist Unicef’s Shahla Rashiduddin, deputy mission director, Sindh and Balochistan Denise Herbol, senior education specialist from The World Bank Umbreen Arif, chief adviser of SESSP European Union Zeeshan Tariq, senior education specialist from Global Partnership for Education Edouard Lamot, provincial coordinator of Unesco Nyi Nyi Thaung, chief adviser of JICA-AQAL Chiho Ohashi and director of the Indus Resource Centre Sadiqa Salahuddin also spoke.

Published in Dawn September 28th, 2016