LAHORE: Punjab School Education Department has identified 100 sites to establish as many primary schools in Lahore under its policy of focusing on the out-of-school children.

Provincial Minister for School Education Murad Raas on Tuesday held a meeting with the Global Director for Education Jaime Saavedra to discuss the plan.

The minister said one of the main causes of children remaining out of school was a shortage of public schools in the province. It would be better to start 100 new schools in rented buildings rather than constructing only three with the same amount, he added.

The minister said ‘Insaf Afternoon Schools’ and ‘Insaf Primary Schools’ were being established to provide education to the out-of-school children.

He said school education department was the second largest in the country in term of number of employees, but it was not digitised. “The government would introduce information technology in the department to run all its affairs within a year,” he said.

A senior official on condition of anonymity told Dawn there was a plan to launch 100 new schools in rented building to address out-of-school children issue in Lahore.

“Construction of new buildings is a time-taking job and it also requires huge funds. We are focusing on bringing back the out-of-school children and will start primary schools in rented buildings in different areas of the city,” he said.

He said the sites had been identified to establish 100 new primary schools in the city. “Under the plan, the schools will be established in low-income areas where there were no public schools,” he said.

The official also said the department had installed more than 100 water purification plants in the public schools in the city with the help of NGOs and philanthropists. “Constructions of water purification plants for drinking water in 100 more schools was also part of the plan,” he said.

The official said the department would first adopt rationalisation policy and transfer extra teachers to the new schools, while the remaining posts would be filled by recruiting new teachers on contract basis. He said local educated youth would be preferred while recruiting teachers for the new schools.

He said the department was working to start new schools in the upcoming academic year to increase the enrollment and facilitate admissions of out-of-school children.

Published in Dawn, December 11th, 2019