PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Elementary and Secondary Education Foundation (ESEF), an autonomous body formed through an ordinance in 2002, has planned to help the private sector set up schools in the areas without educational institutions and will pay tution fee for their students.

Under the New School Initiative, 10,000 out-of-school children will be enrolled in those schools during the next academic year beginning in August, reveal the ESEF documents available with Dawn.

According to them, the project will be executed with the support of the elementary and secondary education department and Rs589.8 million will be spent on it in 2022-23.

ESEF managing director Zarifulmaani told Dawn that it took several years to put up buildings for public sector schools and required lots of funds, so it was not possible for the government to immediately enrol out-of-school children from disadvantaged areas.

Enrolment of 10,000 out-of-school children planned there in next academic year

“Under the initiative, the government funds won’t be required for school buildings as it will be the responsibility of the private sector to arrange those building. The government will pay student fee to the owner of those private schools,” he said.

The MD said that the cost of student learning in private schools would be far less than that borne for those enrolled in public sector ones.

He said that the government would pay Rs1,000 a month to the owners of private schools for enrolment in nursery and Rs1,500 in grade 1-5.

Mr Zarifulmaani said his foundation would pay Rs2,000 each for grade 6-8 students and Rs3,500 for grade 9-10’s and Rs4,000 for grade 11-12’s, while Rs5,000 would be paid annually for each student’s textbooks, uniform and shoes.

He said that through the NSI, the government wanted to strengthen the private education sector, create employment opportunities for educated youth in it, and support parents by bearing the cost of tuition, textbooks and shoes for their enrolled children.

“We will begin a training programme for our staff members in procedures for the NSI’s launch soon after Eidul Fitr festival is over,” he said.

The MD said that a proper campaign would be launched through media to encourage the people to help the foundation identify areas, where government and private educational institutions didn’t exist.

He said that the ESEF district programme officers would generate lists of potential areas vetted by the district education offices of the elementary and secondary education department and those lists would be shared with the NSI district scrutiny committees for ‘final identification’.

According to the official documents, the district programme officer will be chairman of the district scrutiny committee with the representatives of the deputy commissioner’s office, district education offices and Education Monitoring Authority being its members.

“An evaluation committee will shortlist the areas, where private schools have to be established among the list identified with the help of the public.”

The documents said advertisements would later be placed in newspapers for engaging private school chains as well as educated youth and that the interested parties would apply for it through an online form to be available on the official website of the foundation.

They added that the private schools would be established at the minimum walking distance of 1.5km from the government school in plain areas and 1km in hilly areas.

The foundation will sign agreements with those private primary schools, which have six rooms with furniture, electricity, drinking water, computer with accessories and internet service, washrooms, at least five teachers and security clearance from the local police stations. Besides, high schools will also have additional facilities, including library and science and computer labs.

The documents revealed that all the schools engaged for the initiative would be bound to conduct at least two enrolment campaigns in an academic year and that they would maintain the data of enrolled students and their profiles with fresh pictures and would act in coordination with the ESEF’s district offices.

“A database of all enrolled children and partner schools will be developed and maintained at the district and head office level. Each school will be bound to maintain a data base of all enrolled students as required by ESEF. It will be bound to adopt software provided by ESEF having facility of online attendance, quality tests and profiling of all the students.”

The documents also said to ensure quality of education at school level, the quality assurance test would be conducted on a yearly basis, while the schools would be required to produce reports on a regular basis.

Published in Dawn, April 24th, 2022

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