ISLAMABAD-The Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training (FE&PT) in collaboration with non-government development sector designed accelerated curriculum for Out-of-School Children (OOSC) to complete their studies earlier, a statement said on Tuesday.

The statement issued said that the accelerated curriculum, designed by JICA in collaboration with the ministry of FE&PT, to fast-track the students so they can complete primary grades in 32 months instead of 60.

According to UNICEF, some 22.8 million children in Pakistan do not attend school. This population is essentially in the dark ages, but reaching these out of school children through innovative partnerships between the public and private sectors and engaging with local communities will be crucial in increasing education access for Pakistan’s next generation.

The statement said that project Alight’s non-formal schools are village-cantered or community-cantered schools that offer greater flexibility. It added that such schools facilitate OOSC in joining the mainstream education system in a shorter time span and recover lost time.

The APL has been adopted by the Federal Ministry of Education and Professional Development and Non Formal Literacy departments of Balochistan, Sindh and KP provinces. This is working in the first year of Alight’s project which began in 2018 with support from Qatar’s Education Above All, the organisation reported a retention rate of 83 per cent.

One of the success stories is of a 10-year-old Zainab from Mansehra who was suffering from a rare heart disease wanted to become an English teacher. She was born with Dextrocardia with Situs Inversus, a rare heart condition in which heart points toward the right side of chest instead of the left side.

The heart condition prevented her from indulging in any activities that could cause stress to the body, and many days were spent watching siblings and neighbourhood children playing games and building close friendships, but the school kept her spirit going in her academic activities and routine life. The school consists entirely of one classroom, part of a house that the teacher, Kiran, volunteered to provide. Kiran was happy to offer her home for the local school.

She said someone once asked me why I needed to teach girls and that comment made me determined to teach girls. Her school has 40 students, 23 of them are girls.