Karachi - Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has said he plans to overhaul education system in the public sector by taking some revolutionary measures.

He was presiding over a meeting of education department held here on Wednesday to review overall performance of the department.

Giving details, the steps he intended to take included improving teaching skills, making education totally free, developing quality curriculum and offering scholarships to girl students so that quality education could be provided.

The meeting was attended by Minister Education Jam Mehtab Dahar, Chief Secretary Rizwan Mmon, Secretary Education Aziz Uqaili, Additional Secretary Education Nawaz Sohu, Abdul Wahab Soomro, and other concerned officers.

Briefing the CM, Secretary Education Aziz Uqaili said that there were 11474 schools without toilets, 13016 were without drinking water, 1116 without boundary walls and 13158 without electricity.

The chief minister replied that it was quite painful for him to learn that a large number of schools, for boys and girls, were without toilet, water and electricity. “In such a suffocating environment, how it is possible for a student to concentrate on his studies,” he said and added, “This is a very serious issue and must be addressed with sincerity.”

The chief minister blamed illiteracy for all the ills afflicting the society. “If we succeed in developing our education system by inducting well-trained teachers, introducing decent curriculum, we will be able to eliminate terrorism, crime and other evils from the society without shedding a drop of blood,” he said, and added that was why he had declared educational emergency in the province.

He directed Minister for Education Jam Mehtab Dahar to visit different districts and start constructing toilets and water tanks there on a war footing. “I urge you to take it as a challenge and provide all the missing facilities to the schools within three months,” he said, and ordered finance department to release the required funds.

The minister told the chief minister that he had made efforts in this connection and had reopened 1759 schools all over Sindh where 55816 children had been enrolled so far.

Expressing happiness, the chief minister said that it was good that the closed schools had been reopened. It may be noted here that there are 351 schemes of Rs79.15 billion launched for the development of education department.

The government has allocated Rs13 billion this year. Out of 351 schemes, 140 are ongoing and 211 are new.

The CM also directed the minister to hold a meeting to review the curriculum being taught at government schools in all the classes. “I want to the entire curriculum reviewed for which leading educationists, literary figures and other people may be asked to give suggestions,” he said, and added that in the first phase mistakes must be removed from the books.

The chief minister said that he was also working hard to establish state-of-the-art teachers training academy to produce competent teachers, who would then be inducted into schools.

It was pointed out that every year around 3000 teachers retired.

The chief minister said that this showed that every year the education department needed over 3000 thousands teachers. “Let us develop a cycle to produce a lot of properly-trained teachers every year,” he said and added that education system would not develop merely by opening schools but improvement of curriculum, adopting new methods of teaching and developing conducive educational environment were also necessary.

The chief minister also gave a proposal to make education in public sector totally free.

The chief secretary said that education was free but the chief minister said that still the students paid their examination fees, which should be paid by the government.

“I am ready to improve education system and improve literacy rate all over Sindh- but I need the support of every individual in this regard,” the chief minister said.

He also decided to give scholarships to over 300,000 girl students all over the province.

“This must be done in a transparent manner so that the actual fruits of this scheme could be harvested by poor parents,” Murad directed.  He also asked the education department to compile a detailed data of each and every school at union council, taluka and district levels so that teachers’ transfers/postings could be made as per requirements.

The chief minister concluded his two-day meetings on education and also decided to keep reviewing the progress at least twice in a month.