Fuel price hike to aggravate girls drop out from schools: Experts

Lahore – Expressing grave concern over the 2.2 million out of school children, with girls being the majority, experts have stressed on the implementation of Free and Compulsory Education Act and girls right to secondary education in Punjab.

These thoughts were expressed in the consultation session on the ‘Implementation of Free & Compulsory Primary Education Act and Girls’ Right to Secondary Education’ organised by Awaz CDS and National Commission for Human Rights. The major focus of the session was to emphasise on the initiatives needed to be taken to ensure primary education of children and reducing girls drop out from secondary schools as it would contribute a lot towards ensuring educated women population, a guarantee to economic and social stability.

Chief Executive Awaz CDS, Mohammad Zia-ur-Rehman, Member/Commissioner (Punjab) National Commission for Human Rights, Nadeem Ashraf, Director School Education Department, Ghulam Farid, Member Punjab Assembly, Ms Uswa Aftab, and Ms Ayesha Iqbal, Ms Noorish Sabah, Director Punjab Literacy Department, Ms Baela Raza Jamil from ITA and other academics as well as  members from NGOs attended the event.

In his opening remarks, Zia-ur-Rahman highlighted the significance of girls quality secondary education and explained the grey areas in the way of girls education in Punjab.

He urged the Punjab government to immediately notify the Punjab Free and Compulsory Education Act 2014 which was approved earlier. He stressed for increase in development budgets for school education as development budgets are only being distributed to PEF and PEIMA rather development budgets needs to be utilised for the development of public schools especially for girls, where missing facilities and accessibility is still a major challenge. He further warned that due to fuel price hike many girls are leaving schools and more drop outs are expected after summer vacations.

Nadeem Ashraf welcomed the audience and discussed the bottlenecks and challenges in implementing Free and Compulsory Education Act and ensuring girls basic right of getting education and shift nation towards stability.

He said that according to PSLM 2019-20, in Punjab for every 100 girls enrolled at the primary level, 38 are out-of-school and for every 100 girls enrolled at the secondary level, 162 are out-of-school.

Ms Ayesha Iqbal highlighted the recent development for enforcement of Punjab Free & Compulsory Education Amendment Act 2020 for the immediate enactment of law. She stressed that Governor Punjab Baligh-ur-Rehman should take steps to get this Education Act notified without any delay as education is priority for all parties.

Member Punjab Assembly Ms Uswa Aftab on behalf of School Education Standing Committee stressed on the importance of notification of Punjab Free & Compulsory Education Act 2014 to ensure every child is getting basic education and country is progressing towards achieving SDGs on education.

She said that her department is constantly working on this sector and said they would make extra efforts to sensitize more and more people on girls education in order to minimise girls secondary school drop-out ratio.

The floor was then opened for answer questions followed by insightful discussion on making primary education compulsory in the province and ensuring girls are getting secondary education and thus contributing towards stability and national goals of educated Pakistan.

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