SIALKOT - A one-day media workshop on Child Rights was held under the auspicious of district Social Welfare Department at a local hotel here Monday. Speakers of the workshop criticised the provincial government for ignoring education sector due to which the number of school dropouts increasing rapidly.

The speakers said that it was shocking that government despite high claims had failed to provide adequate education facilities to the students in government schools. It was disclosed in the workshop that as many as 19 schools were closed in Bajwat area but teachers were being given salaries regularly and nobody had taken the notice of this malpractice, corruption and efficiency of the authorities concerned.

It was pointed out that most of the government schools were presenting horrible look due to non-availability of teachers and basic facilities in the institutions especially in rural areas of Sialkot district. The speakers further said that due to this malpractice of Education Department, the private schools were allegedly fleecing the poor students by charging high fee and it seems that the department was promoting the private sector in the district. They alleged that teachers and the department were equally responsible of deteriorated education standard, dropouts and illiteracy.

The speakers pointed out that education at this critical juncture had become more imperative not only for bringing radical changes in mindset of the government and public but also overcoming the socio-economic problems. “We have failed to identify our real enemies in 63 years and if impartially analysed the whole situation, illiteracy is our main foe owing to which the nation is suffering from socio-economic problems,” they said.

Representative of Child and Social Development Organization (CSDO) said that in order to address the issues pertaining to all sort of child labour, Sialkot Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) was playing its vital role with the help of CSDO, an independent NGO.

He said in a short span of time, CSDO had achieved its cherishing goals by enrolling out-of-school children. In this regard, CSDO had established fourteen non-formal education centres (Talim-ul-Amal Centres), where as many as 1,690 children have been enrolled out of which 1,037 were girls, while 771 students were also enrolled in formal schools out of which 421 are girls, he said. The CSDO teams had also been mobilising the members of the communities, parents and children for the importance of the education, he added.

The speakers underscored the need of complete overhauling of the education department and demanded independent monitoring system for purging the department from corrupt elements. The participants of the workshop also stressed the need of collective efforts for the protection of child rights and urged the media to play their front foot role in elimination of all type of child labour from the society.

Speaking on the occasion, the journalists assured to extend their full cooperation for eradication of malpractices from the Education Department and to activate the educational institutions in the district.

District Welfare Officer Muhammad Nawaz Khan highlighted various achievements and said that department was paying special attention on the education and grooming of children.