LAHORE (PR): This year more than 2.7 million children in the Punjab will turn 5. Of these children, close to 1 million will never go to school. What’s worse, more than half the girls (54Ppc) and nearly half the boys (46pc) who are currently enrolled will drop out within the next five years, failing even to complete primary school.

Alif Ailaan, a campaign that seeks to put education at the front and centre of public discourse, supports efforts to increase enrollment. The enrollment emergency announced by the provincial govt is an important initiative by Shahbaz Sharif and is an example of the kinds of measures needed to end Pakistan’s education emergency.

The Alif Ailaan Taleemi Karavanset out from Islamabad to travel 1,578km through 14 districts of the Punjab. It will be spreading the word about every Pakistani child’s right to a free education and the importance of putting children in school.

A convoy of five decorated vehicles will drive to the districts of Rawalpindi, Jhelum, Gujranwala, Lahore, Okara, Chiniot, Faisalabad, Jhang, Muzaffargarh, Multan, Dera Ghazi Khan, Rajanpur, Rahim Yar Khan, Bahawalpurbefore returning to Islamabad. The Taleemi Karavan will stop in key towns and cities along the GT Road, where Alif Ailaan partners and network coordinators will engage with parents, children, teachers, lawyers, journalists, local politicians and community notables.