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Sunday April 14, 2024

Islamabad achieves ‘Zero Out-of-School Children’ campaign targets

Under this campaign, more than 70,941 children have been enrolled in schools in Islamabad, bringing number of out-of-school children in capital to zero

By Myra Imran
February 28, 2024
This undated image shows student take a book in class room. — APP/File
This undated image shows student take a book in class room. — APP/File

Islamabad: Pakistan Institute of Education on Tuesday launched a report on its campaign ‘Zero Out-of-School Children’ in Islamabad in collaboration with JICA and the Ministry of Education and Professional Training, successfully achieving its targets.

Under this campaign, more than 70,941 children have been enrolled in schools in Islamabad, bringing the number of out-of-school children in the capital to zero.

Federal Secretary for Education Waseem Ajmal Chaudhry was the chief guest at the report launching ceremony. Director General of Pakistan Institute of Education Dr Muhammad Shahid Sarwar, Vice Chancellor of Allama Iqbal Open University Dr Nasir Mehmood, JICA representatives, and representatives of other NGOs were also present at the ceremony.

Secretary Education Waseem Ajmal Chaudhry said the successes achieved have been documented and would help serve as a guide for the provinces in the future. He appreciated the field workers of the partner organizations working with the Ministry of Education for their fast-paced work.

He said that Islamabad was brought forward as a model and that there were many challenges at the start of the campaign as educational facilities are not equal. He said that if any work is to be fast-tracked, the field team has a key role to play. It is difficult to achieve such good results when there are different stakeholders.

He said that 49% of the 70,000 out-of-school children brought to schools are girls. Two transgender schools have been opened. He said that the children working in workshops and shops also have dreams, and we have tried to make their dreams come true. He said that an 18-month professional development program has been started which also includes NCHD and others, this is a journey that has been started together, I am sure that the teachers and field workers will continue to work with the same spirit.

He said that the 11,000 children identified out of school are being brought to school through private schools. Director General Pakistan Institute of Education Dr. Muhammad Shahid Sarwar said that Secretary Education Waseem Ajmal gave us a target of bringing 50,000 children to schools within two months. Under his leadership, PIE and all departments responded, we identified 81,000 out-of-school children and managed to bring 70,000 children back to schools. On the instructions of the Secretary Education, we documented this campaign. A regular research report has been prepared, no additional expenses were incurred on it. He said that a team of officials from Sindh and South Punjab has come to us and has reviewed this process and document in detail.

The research report prepared by the Pakistan Institute of Education on the campaign states that the campaign was launched in January last year. In the first phase of the campaign, the number of out-of-school children in Islamabad was determined. For this, the data of the Benazir Income Support Program (BISP) was used. In the second phase, the parents of these children were contacted and convinced to send their children to schools.

For this, the help of local communities, religious scholars, and elected representatives was taken. In the third phase, arrangements were made for the admission of these children in schools. For this, additional classes and shifts were started in government schools, while cooperation was also made with private schools and non-formal education (NFE) centres.

Various strategies were used for the success of this campaign. These include multi-level planning and regular review meetings, data-based identification and targeted interventions, full participation of the local community, provision of various educational opportunities, real-time monitoring, and tracking. It has been resolved to replicate the success of this campaign in other provinces of the country as well.

The success of this campaign has paved a new way for the promotion of education in Pakistan. It is hoped that in the future, the number of out-of-school children in the country will be significantly reduced.