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September 17, 2018

Child labour hurdle in mitigating out-of-school-children scenario


September 17, 2018

Islamabad : The increasing number of child labour is an impediment for the government to mitigate Out of School Children (OOSC) ratio amid 50,000 children deprived of basic educational facilities in the country.

Talking to this agency, a senior official of National Commission for Human Development (NCHD) Habibullah said there is a discrepancy in the data determining OOSC ratio as the Academy of Educational Planning and Management (AEPAM) claims 22.6 million OOSC with net enrolment of 77 per cent.

The Pakistan Social and Living Standards Measurement (PSLM) mentions OOSC to be 36 million with net enrolment 54 per cent.

The AEPAM conducts school to school survey while PSLM goes door to door for gathering information , he said.

Despite the information inconsistency, there are stark realities behind the mounting number of school dropouts which do not only comprise child labour serving domestically or at other work places , he said.

He informed that most of the far-flung areas have no proper educational facilities rather do not possess any school which turns people helpless to put their children in the shackles of slavery.

The government not only has to deal with a bulk of issues, from reforms to development in the educational system of the country, it has also to eradicate the feudal mindset breeding a vicious belief to keep the underprivileged class deprived of education , he underscored.

The NCHD official remarked that the reason behind massive school dropouts involves parents ignorance and lack of awareness about educating their children.

However, the conservative environment prevailing in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), its tribal areas (former FATA) and to some extent in Balochistan where especially girls are barred from acquiring education equally contributes to the problem.

Astonishingly, he said unemployment insecurity which leads parents to quit their child’s education at a very early level also adds to the number of OOSC.

They see no jobs in the future for their child and resolve to add the burden of employment at the juvenile shoulders to support his or her family, he added. The poor families send their children to Madaris (religious seminaries) as there is free boarding and education and they feel contented with it, he said.

All these factors collectively divides the school dropouts as most of the children proceed to employment, some to madaris while other get into the meshes of miscreants, he said.

Earlier, Federal Minister for Education and Professional Training Shafqat Mehmood has vowed to devise a comprehensive education policy taking all provinces on board to resolve the issues of OOSC, uniform education system and curriculum, quality education and skill development.

He also informed that the Prime Minister Imran Khan has also set up National Task Force on education to address these challenges and expressed hid optimism to have fruitful outcomes.

He pledged that despite the devolution of powers after 18th amendment to the provinces the ministry would try to play a lead role in the matter.

NCHD has launched its program for mainstreaming Madaris where 100 seminaries are registered initially imparting religious and modern education side by side which are formed on the Turkish model of Khalifa Schools.

He said NCHD had already devised National Plan of Action for Literacy and Non-Formal Education which has various projects enabling Pakistan to achieve Vision 2025 educational targets. A budget of Rs440 billion is required to implement the project in its true spirit, he added.

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