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September 18, 2019

CM, US ambassador jointly open USAID-funded school in Damba Goth


September 18, 2019

Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has said he is witnessing a positive and constructive change in the people of Sindh in the sense that those who used to demand police stations, water supply, sanitation and irrigation water for their villages are now demanding the establishment of schools or the upgradation of the educational facility in their village.

“This is really impressive and astonishing that the people of the province, particularly of rural areas, now incline towards education, particularly towards girls education,” he said on Tuesday while addressing the inaugural ceremony of Government Secondary School Damba Village, District Malir, along with American Ambassador Paul W Jones in Damba Goth.

The programme was attended by US Consul General in Karachi Robbert Silberstein, Secretary Education Ahsan Mangi, senior officers of the Sindh education department and management of USAID programme.

The chief minister said that around 10 years ago people used to demand a police station for their villages because law and order was the worst there. They used to demand roads because their villages had no approaching roads, and they used to demand water supply schemes because they had no water to drink, but nobody had ever demanded the establishment of any school in their village. “It was a very depressing episode and we all were worried about the tendency,” he said.

“Now wherever I go people demand a school building, complain against the absence of teachers in their schools, request for a computer lab, request for the upgradation of their existing schools and mostly they demand girls schools and their upgradation.”

Shah said: “This is what I wanted to feel the thirst of education among our people. Now they have realised that best education can brighten the future of their children.” The chief minister, quoting the girl students of Class VIII and Class XI of Damaba Goth School who hosted the inauguration ceremony in three languages, English, Urdu and Sindhi.

“This brought happy tears to my eyes and now I am confident that our future is in the safe hands,” he said. He said the brightness he had seen in the eyes of girl students of Damaba Goth School, he was sure that they would turn out to be Benazir Bhuttos in future.

Shah said that people of Kalamti tribe, Burfats and Palaris were settled in Damba village and they had no inclination toward education. Now they were demanding the upgradation of the secondary school the provincial government had constructed with the assistance of USAID. He vowed to upgrade it.

The chief minister said the provincial government had provided $10 million for the establishment of Program Management & Implementation Unit (PMIU) for overall management of the Sindh Basic Education Program (SBEP).

The SBEP is headed by the program director (PD) and is supervised by a Program Steering Committee (PSC), which is headed by the secretary of the School Education & Literacy Department.

He said that out of a total of 106 schools, 68 had been fully completed. Remaining 38 schools have been awarded and are at different stages of construction. He added that out of 68 fully completed schools, 43 have been handed over to seven Education Management Organisations (EMOs) under Public Private Partnership (PPP). The government has provided furniture in these schools.

Shah said that the construction of these schools started in November 2013 and now the program had been extended for two years to complete the remaining 38 schools. The implementing partners of the SBEP, i.e. Sindh Community Mobilisation Program, Sindh Reading Program and Sindh Capacity Development Project, have been directly funded by USAID, the chief minister said.

Some of the major achievements under soft components include training of 15,500 primary school teachers, enrollment of 13,636 out-of-school children in public schools, formulation the policies i.e. EMO Policy, NFE Policy and Sindhi Language Reading Standards for primary classes.

The chief minister thanked the American government, the US ambassador, the people of America and USAID for working with the provincial government in uplift of the education sector.

The Damab Goth School was originally established with six classrooms and had an enrolment of 170 students. They had 20 staffers, including 15 teachers. Now the school has been expanded to 23 classrooms, including eight new. It has an enrolment of 685 with 23 teachers and four non-teaching staff. It has a library, a store room, a staff room, a boundary wall, a multipurpose hall, an admin office, the principal office, a science lab, safe drinking water, washrooms for students and staff, a health room, a play area and electricity.

US ambassador

Many local students attended the ceremony and saw where a computer lab, health room and library will be installed to give them a very enhanced learning environment, said a press release issued by the US Consulate General.

The modern school is built to high standards so that multiple generations of students will benefit.

“I’m pleased that the partnership between the US government and Sindh government is showing great results through improved quality of education in public schools in the province,” Ambassador Paul W Jones said. “True and lasting development starts with education. The United States and Pakistan share this belief, and that is why we are committed to expanding our cooperation in education.”

This new school building was constructed with the support of USAID’s 25-billion-rupee ($159.2 million) Sindh Basic Education Program (SBEP), in partnership with the Government of Sindh.

The US government is supporting construction of 112 modern school buildings in nine districts of northern Sindh and five towns of Karachi. The construction of 68 schools has already been completed, while 44 are under various stages of construction.

In addition to constructing schools, the SBEP aims to increase and sustain student enrollment in primary, middle and secondary public schools in select areas of Sindh.

The SBEP also supports the government’s reforms in education, community mobilisation, public-private partnerships, and improving reading competencies of students.

Consul General Robert Silberstein, acting USAID Director for Sindh and Balochistan Mark Sorensen and officials from Sindh government participated in the ceremony along with community elders, teachers, students and parents.