ISLAMABAD: In an effort to reduce dropouts and bring back out-of-school children to education, Ehsaas on Monday launched a special stipends programme for the poor, registered as beneficiaries under the social protection system.

At present, there are 18.7 million out-of-school children in the country, according to Ehsaas, and the stipends programme will specifically target these children.

For this purpose, the poverty alleviation and social safety division signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the federal ministry of education and professional training. Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection Dr Sania Nishtar and Education Minister Shafqat Mehmood co-chaired the signing ceremony.

Naveed Akbar, director general Ehsaas and Mohyuddin Ahmad Wani, additional secretary education ministry signed the MoU.

On the occasion, a second MoU was also signed between Ehsaas and National Commission for Human Development (NCHD), a subsidiary of the education ministry, to mobilise eligible families to enroll their children under Ehsaas Education Stipends.

“In this regard, Ehsaas is also signing MoUs with provinces to expand the education stipends programme,” said Dr Sania.

“Federal Ministry for Education and Professional Training will fully collaborate with Ehsaas to bring back out-of-school children to schools and reduce the dropouts. Children of eligible families can benefit from Ehsaas stipends to continue their studies till higher secondary education,” said Shafqat Mehmood.

The stipends programme has been specifically designed to avoid duplications; reduce disparities in primary to higher secondary education opportunities by raising attendance, school enrolment, and the school progression among out-of-school children, particularly girls.

Children of the deserving families registered with Ehsaas can get education stipends in schools and colleges registered with the education departments concerned to continue their secondary and higher secondary studies.

Ehsaas is also signing MoUs with the secondary education and higher education/colleges’ departments of provinces for identifying and providing education stipends to the eligible families.

Published in Dawn, August 31st, 2021

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