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KARACHI, Oct 28: Officials of the World Bank and the European Union on Friday voiced their concern over the existence of 'ghost' and closed schools in different districts of Sindh and absenteeism of teachers from schools.

This and other issues figured at a meeting held between Sindh Minister for Education Pir Mazhar-ul-Haq and a joint delegation of the World Bank and European Union comprising Vishant Raju, Peter Poiter and Ms Louis.

Sindh Education Secretary Siddik Memon and Resource Support Unit's programme managers Pervaiz Ahmed and Raeesa Ali were also present.

The issues concerning the closure of schools and long absence of teachers from schools were raised by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and EU officials when the minister informed them that more funds were required to repair and renovate a large number of schools, which had been damaged in the recent floods.

The minister said that the Sindh government by appointing teachers in two phases had already made a number of schools functional. He added that many other schools lying closed would be reopened with the hiring of more teachers in a third phase.

He said Resource Support Unit officials had been told to assess the number of teachers required to restart teaching activities at the remaining schools in all the 23 districts of the province. He added the postings would be made strictly on a need basis.

He attributed long absence of teachers to lack of a monitoring system in those schools falling under the jurisdiction of city and local governments and directed the education department to introduce an effective schools monitoring system so that stern action could be taken against teachers not attending schools.

The minister informed the delegation that the education department had succeeded in bringing transparency in teachers' appointments.

The IBRD and EU officials expressed satisfaction over the department's principled stand in posting of teachers on a need basis and in the districts of their domicile as well as its efforts to ensure transparency in teachers' recruitment.

Pir Mazhar informed the delegation that steps had been taken to increase enrolment of children in government schools and education department officials had been directed to prepare proforma for each student to apprise their parents of their attendance and overall performance at school, adds PPI.

He said the education department had also been directed to take strict action against ghost teachers and halt the funding of closed schools.

The minister said education sector in Sindh suffered tremendously due to negligence and carelessness of previous governments. He maintained that literacy level was continuously being increased in the province following the endeavours of incumbent government for the development of this sector.

He said the government needed more assistance and cooperation from donors, especially due to floods that had completely destroyed education institutions.