Drastic measures needed to enroll 26 mln out-of-school children: President

arif alvi

ISLAMABAD: President Dr Arif Alvi has said that to enroll around 26 million out-of-school children in the country, drastic measures including the education emergency, double shifts in educational institutes and utilising the mosque for the teaching purposes were needed.

While addressing an event in connection with the World Education Day held here on Wednesday, he also suggested a mechanism to engage the newly graduates and intermediate students for teaching the out-of-school children offering them a stipend.

Dr Arif Alvi advocated the promotion of online education besides extending the facilities to doctors, engineers, and trained workforce in the country to discourage the trend of them moving abroad.

Alarming figure of 26 million out-of-school children was worrisome for the country and exemplified other countries including Sri Lanka and Bangladesh where the children’s enrolment was around 98 to 100 percent, he added.

The president said that educating the children was of paramount importance to produce a skilled and qualified workforce, not merely the laborers.

Lauding the contribution of the partner organisations, he said the country should take advantage of their services for benefit of the future generations.

Dr Alvi told the gathering that since Pakistan’s inception, around 55,000 schools were built and the enrolment of out-of-school children required another 50,000 schools which was extremely difficult considering education budget of the provinces. In such a scenario, the out-of-box solutions were a must to cope with the challenge, he added.

Reiterating his suggestion to use mosque’s platform as a centre of learning, he said the worship places were equipped with all basic facilities including electricity and clean drinking water. The platform can be used to teach out-of-school children in alternate timings including both boys and girls at separate mosques, he added.

President Alvi lauded the Benazir Income Support Program for its contributions to child and mother’s health and suggested to link that financial assistance with the enrolment of out-of-school children.

Highlighting the ratio of 15-20 percent of Dyslexia disease in the country, he appreciated the measures taken for the suffering children.

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The president also said the enrollment in higher education after intermediate was around 10-12 percent in Pakistan comparing 24 percent in the neighboring countries.

Calling for promotion of online education, he said that the Allama Iqbal Open University could also be used to teach out-of-school children as the university had considerably enhanced its admissions.

He said the educated and skilled workforce was moving abroad owing to the lack of opportunities in the country which necessitated the provision of facilities to them in the country.

Federal Education Secretary Waseem Ajmal Chaudhry, Special Secretary Mohiyuddin Wani, Director General of Pakistan Institute of Education Dr Muhammad Shahid Saroya, President of Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry Ahsan Bakhtawari, head of Allahwala Trust Shahid Anwar and representatives of USAID, UNICEF, UNECSO and JAICA attended the event. INP

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