Karachi - Pakistan is ranked second in terms of children that are currently out of school, with an estimated 23 million out of 51 million children out of school.

In addition, it stands at an abysmally low global rank of 168 out of 188 countries in low primary and secondary school enrolment. The problem with the present schooling system is that the system is centralized and burdened with extremely low quality teachers, teachers are used for political purposes, nepotism is prevalent and there is no monitoring or accountability. Out of 150,000 government schools in the country, 45 percent lack basic facilities such as electricity, boundary walls, clean drinking water, toilets, and safe buildings.

This was revealed at a press briefing jointly held by Thar Foundation and The Education Committee of C100 Think Tank on the occasion of launch of Strategy to Transform Basic Education System in Pakistan.

The strategy paper distributed to the media recommends a charter of education to build consensus and support amongst all political parties to support education. It calls for increase in spending on education from 2 percent of the GDP to 5 percent of the GDP in five years, conversion of federal ministries and provincial departments into autonomous statutory federal and provincial basic education organizations (BEOs). These BEOs should be governed and managed by a board of directors consisting of educationists, professionals and bureaucrats and the majority should belong to the private sector. The BEOs will report administratively to the prime minister and the chief ministers. These BEOs will develop education vision, five-year targets, strategies, action plans and monitoring and accountability system. High emphasis is placed on recruitment and retention of best quality teachers and administrators through training and monitoring. The salaries, promotions and rewards of the teachers should be linked directly to the performance of their schools.

Comprehensive plans should be made with timeline to conform to the constitutional requirements and public reporting on the outcomes on a quarterly basis. The secret of the success behind the delivery of good quality education to all our students lies in the establishment of effective school management committees (SMCs), consisting of parents, community members with good reputation and the head teacher. The parents will be in the majority on the SMCs.

Noteworthy is the MOU signed between the Education Committee and the Thar Foundation for mutual corporation to achieve SDG Goals in Islamkot district by 2030.

Former captain of the Pakistan National Team Shahid Afridi graced the event as chief guest and pledged his support to the cause as the brand ambassador of the programme.