KARACHI - The Sindh government has denied that it is trying to close a footpath school in the vicinity of Abdullah Shah Ghazi tomb and said that it was rather streamlining them and giving them a proper building and other infrastructure to provide better education facilities to the students.

This was stated by the Sindh information department in a press release issued on Wednesday.

It stated that a baseless propaganda has been launched alleging that the provincial government is threatening to close a makeshift school in the vicinity of Abdullah Shah Ghazi Mazar, which is being run by a non-governmental organisation.

It said that a committee has been constituted by the government for the welfare and protection of such at-risk and underprivileged children is tasked, as per its TORs, to look into the availability of possible options for bringing children of footpath schools into the fold of mainstream education, especially, by examining the issue of increasing trends of begging by children in and around mazars, lakes and subsequently other shrines etc.

The broad objectives to facilitate rehabilitation, schooling, and skill development solutions for children / adolescents while exploring the most viable solutions for addressing the issue of footpath schools in the province in general and areas surrounding Abdullah Shah Ghazi Mazar (Karachi), vicinity of Qalandar’sMazar in Sehwan and proximity of Manchar Lake, initially as test cases.

It further informed that the committee comprises Secretaries from Social Welfare Department, Auqaf, Religion Affairs, Zakat & Usher Department, Information Department and Special Secretary of School Education & Literacy Department, Managing Director, Sindh Education Foundation and Director Programs & Planning, Sindh Education Foundation.

In pursuance of its TORs the Committee held its first meeting dated 29th January 2018 with a positive intent to move forward and work together with the Civil Society that is already engaged in the problem areas. M/S Ocean Welfare Organization was invited to discuss the possibility of streamlining the Footpath School run by M/S Ocean Welfare Organization under the Shahrah-e-Firdousi Bridge opposite to the Abdullah Shah Ghazi Mazar in Karachi.

The School Education & Literacy Department, Sindh government offered to provide a dedicated school building to accommodate and facilitate education of the students presently enrolled in the footpath school at different locations in the nearby schools starting with the ‘Footpath School’ run by M/s Oceans Welfare Organization in front of Abdullah Shah Ghazi Mazar. In addition to that funds for facilitating the provision of teachers, furniture, and textbooks were pledged on behalf of the Sindh government as well.