The writer is an
analyst and the
President of all
The Article 25-A of the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan safeguard the Right of Education of children age 5-16 years. After devolution under 18th Constitutional Amendment, the Provincial Assemblies also enacted the Article 25-A to ensure free and compulsory education to all children and approved Compulsory Education Acts. Pakistan is also signatory of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which reiterates Pakistan’s pledge to mainstream out-of-school-children (OOSC) by the year 2030. OOSC are mainly divided into two broad categories i.e. never enrolled, and dropped out.
This legal provision in the constitution of Pakistan and international commitment shows a strong determination to address the challenge of OOSC. Pakistan is currently house to about 25 million out OOSC. Under the leadership and vision of Mr. Waseem Ajmal Chaudhary Secretray, Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training (MoFE&PT), ministry is committed and proposing to adopt a ZERO OOSC Initiative in Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) with the support of donors, international agencies and IDB Group. ICT is home to around 52,796 OOSC. Upon success of addressing OOSC ICT model, may be shared with provinces for adopting success factors of the programme. The National Institute of Population Studies (NIPS) estimates that there are 582,026 children in ICT between the ages of 5 and 16 in 2021–22. The OOSC data of Islamabad, shows there are 52,796 OOSC between the ages of 5 and 16 of which 41,662 (79%) have never attended any school and 11,134 (21%) got dropped out. Similarly, OOSC population by gender is 29,334 (56%) boys and 23,462 (44%) are girls. The OOSC population also represents 41,953 (79%) of the urban area in ICT. If we look at the OOSC population by age group, we can see that 34,692 (66%) are between the ages of 5 and 9, and 18,104 (34%) are between the ages of 10 and 16. PIE analysed the ICT OOSC data segregated by gender, age, sector and identified more than 30 OOSC hotspots in ICT. There are several different reasons that keep children out of education. These barriers and bottlenecks can be grouped into economic; socio-cultural and supply and demand side barriers. A joint concerted effort is required by formal and non-formal sector in ICT to address the OOSC issue in ICT to engage 52,796 out-of-school children (OOSC) in Islamabad Capital territory (ICT) in various educational and skill training initiatives so they can be mainstreamed and become productive individuals of society. We should utilise existing potential and optimise available educational infrastructure to provide right to education to 52,796 ICT OOSC by using various formal and non-formal education approaches including evening shift schooling, alternative and accelerated learning programmes, skills training and engaging private and non-profit sector actors in ICT. Government must mobilise local communities in formal and non-formal educational approaches for enhanced local ownership and sustainability of project interventions. Integration of digital technology, where possible, in both formal and non-formal delivery models would be helpful to enhance access, promote retention and improve learning outcomes of enrolled children. We should provide adequate professional development opportunities to teachers in formal and non-formal educational settings to improve delivery of content and learning levels of learners.
With the better implementation of strategies of Mr. Waseem Ajmal Chaudhary Secretray MoFE&PT, it’s that the expected project outputs at ICT Islamabad for out of 52,796 OOSC 13,996 out-of-school children enrolled by using existing formal and non-formal educational infrastructure in ICT, that 38,800 OOSC can be enrolled through evening shift schooling, alternative & accelerated learning programmes, construction of additional classrooms, and served through public private partnership strategies in ICT. Due to Mr. Waseem Ajmal Chaudhry’s personal special efforts , community members of target localities have enhanced interest in education of their children and are ready to facilitate enrolment and learning continuity of OOSC in ICT. Approximately 1,320 teachers and instructors of existing and new formal and non-formal education schools and centers will get benefit of the programme in form of training and roles in campaigning for OOSC among local communities. Moreover, Teachers and instructors of schools and centers for formal and non-formal education, skills training, likely to engage in this initiative have access to online learning platforms for enhanced professional development prospects. So on the basis on micro household data already available OOSC should be mobilized in local areas for enrolment campaign and admissions to private and public schools, FDE, BECS, NEF, and CSO operated education and training provision platforms. The designing and printing of IEC materials for the promotional, awareness and advocacy materials would be helpful for awareness and advocacy. Orientation to school principals, teachers, educationists, service providers, Private Operators, NGOs etc on conducting enrollment campaigns and admitting OOSC would also be more important for the success to execute enrolment campaign in target areas and schools. Moreover, development of enrolment records in education data bases for tracking and follow up must be implemented. Establishment of Evening Shift Schools will also help to enroll for more OOSC by coordinating with public and private schools where evening shifts classes will be offered. Enrolment campaigns should be conducted for the enrollment of OOSC in selected evening shift schools, and may successful by providing free textbooks and learning materials in selected evening shift schools of public and private sector, and by Initiating teaching and learning in selected evening shift schools, monitoring, supervision and support in selected schools and periodic learning assessment. Government should engage private schools, NGOs, BECS, NEF, NFE Forum, NAVTTC etc in public-private partners for its NFE and ALP centers for OOSC through marking of target localities in ICT based on available date-hotspots have already been marked; and sign-up understanding with partner Private schools, NGOs, private providers and skills training centers to manage NFE and ALP-P centers, Skills training centers in selected localities in ICT. By the help of Public Private Partnership (PPP), enrollment of OOSC in selected private schools would be very important.
Under the leadership and vision of Mr. Waseem Ajmal Chaudhary, MoFE&PT is determined to adopt and achieve a ZERO OOSC Initiative in ICT. Upon success of addressing OOSC ICT model, may be shared with provinces for adopting success factors of the programme.
There is need to develop PPP criteria to select partners at per child cost, vouchers, ALP, etc. as appropriate. By signing contracts with selected private partners for enrollment, retention, completion and transition of targeted children; Monitoring, supervision and academic support to targeted schools; Providing support in periodic assessment of learners for recognition of learning of learners and continuity of learning to mainstream and transition. Government should also provide support to selected NFE suppliers in the recruitment of NFE and ALP teachers by providing NFE teachers and facilitators recruitment support. Moreover, improvement may raise by conducting enrollment campaigns in target areas for enrollment of OOSC; and Initiating teaching and learning in targeted NFE and ALP centers, with monitoring, supervision and academic support to targeted NFE and ALP centers. Data management of NFE and ALP centers using NFEMIS (non-formal education management information system) for record-keeping, analysis and tracking of children would be important. The community members of the targeted localities should be engaged in interest facilitation in the enrolment of OOSC in ICT by providing orientation to parent Teacher Associations (PTAs) in existing schools and centers on enrollment and retention of OOSC. The establishment of new PTAs or local education committees (LECs) in NFE and ALP centers or private schools would be beneficial to engage local people in school affairs. The use of social mobilization strategy to build the capacity and training of local people and members of PTAs and LECs would also be beneficial. There is a need to hold regular periodic meetings in targeted schools and centers and record minutes and decisions on regular basis; develop and implement school and center development plans to enroll and retain OOSC and develop target schools consistently; make sure that PTAs and LECs are positively engaged in the identification of OOSC, their enrollment and retention as well as follow up in case children drop-out; provide training manuals for the teachers and instructors; hold training sessions execute classroom based academic monitoring, mentoring and support to improve quality of teaching & learning; and use of classroom observation data and assessment of learners’ data to make decision for inputs for teachers and tailor training manuals and academic support will be supportive and important.
The priority of Mr. Waseem Secretray MoFE&PT, is to engage Formal Educational Institutions (FEI) for further campaigning in nearby radius of schools for admitting OOSC in school age brackets and developing a student tracking system for timely enrolment of children to ensure not only admissions but their retention also to ensure significant reduction in drop out numbers. Mr. Waseem Ajmal is determined and focused on the targets of SDG-4 will be in focus to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities. By 2030, to ensure that all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary education leading to relevant and effective learning outcomes; eliminate gender disparities in education and ensure equal access to all levels of education and vocational training for the vulnerable, including persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples, and children in vulnerable situations. Though some challenges like migrating and transitioning families in ICT will always remain there and keep moving the needle of OOSC counts in ICT. Expansion of Non-Formal Education and Skills Training system for enrolment of OOSC in over-age brackets. Under NFE, alternative and accelerated learning programs (ALPs) should be used to offer fast-track learning for overage out of school children. A project coordination cell should be established at MoFEPT and PIE to coordinate, monitor and report the progress of implementation of the proposed intervention. The Project Steering Committee should be constituted of MoFEPT and shall comprise members from formal and non-formal supply side partners. The monitoring should ensure close coordination between the key players. Mainstreaming of OOSC in Islamabad Capital Territory, indicates that this initiative will describe its impact to reduce poverty and empower the vulnerable groups and some target groups such as youth, especially girls. The project should be strengthen social cohesion and enhance social inclusiveness. It will also entail any impacts that the project may have on the safety and security of the people in addition to any other socio-economic impacts it may have, such as new employment opportunities. The total cost of schooling is the sum of the cost to the government and private initiatives, and the opportunity cost of schooling. The Education is universally treated as an investment and its individual and social rate of return varies by level of academic qualification and skill attainted by the students after completion of studies. The OOSC challenge is aligned with supporting the Government of Pakistan efforts to ensure out-of-school children aged 5 to 16 years and over-age have access to formal and non-formal education and skills training by 2025. To avoid risk at management the strategies should be adopted to minimize the potential risks to mitigate them amicably. GOP should allocate sufficient budget for school education; the Development programme through PSDP should be allocated funds for construction of additional classrooms and provision of salaries for teachers to accommodate OOSC; the rate of influx in ICT especially in Rural Areas is more than 15%, planning should be made to establish more schools as per population density; the student unique ID and tracking system should be developed to enroll the age group of students and retain them till completion of programme. An early warning system should be devised to check the drop out of students. Moreover, the refugees are residing in Kachi Abbadies and are lacking IDs and difficult to enroll them, The UNHCR is consultation with District Administration should create a unique ID for their enrolment. Although the overall risks are low. But current availability of ICT, Connectivity and Education Technology may assist further in adopting an ALP path for learners coming from weaker or no learning backgrounds as well as limited time capacity to attend such facilities. Social mobilization is crucial to strengthen and further form and strengthen parent-teacher associations (PTAs) and Local Education Committees (LECs). Existing PTAs operating in FDE run formal schools should be given orientation to gain their support in enrollment and retention. At the same time, new PTAs or LECs should be formed in new NFE, ALP and Skills centers to be managed by NFE providers, NGOs, NCHD, BECS and NEF. The members of these LECs should be trained using social mobilization manual to gain their support in enrolment, retention and learning of OOSC. Recruitment and training of teachers and instructors for NFE, ALP, Skills centers in particular, while existing teachers of FDE and other stakeholders should be given orientation on enrollment and retention of OOSC. Newly recruited teachers should be trained through induction trainings and contents, while the same teachers should receive follow up trainings. Monitoring, mentoring and classroom-based support during the process of teaching & learning should be carried out using structured tools and checklists by the trained field staff, monitors and mentors. Data generated through monitoring and mentoring activities should be analyzed periodically and be used to design and supply inputs to improve administration and quality of teaching & learning. Data management in formal public and private schools and non-formal education centers (ALPs) should be equally focused through updating formal schools. Data of all target learners should be regularly and periodically entered, updated and analyzed and periodic reports should be generated and be used in decision making of the project activities. Whereas, assessment, certification and learning continuity of learners enrolled in targeted schools and centers should be carried out systematically. Assessments formative and summative should be carried out periodically and be used to improve teaching & learning and promote learners in vertical grades, followed by certification, so as the learners could seek admissions in case they are transferred and mainstreamed in other schools. In addition, learners who will complete basic education cycle primary or middle, should be transited to next levels of education. No doubt, Under the leadership and vision of Mr. Waseem Ajmal Chaudhary, MoFE&PT is determined to adopt and achieve a ZERO OOSC Initiative in ICT. Upon success of addressing OOSC ICT model, may be shared with provinces for adopting success factors of the programme.