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July 23, 2020

Private sector entrusted with managing 71 USAID-built schools in Sindh for 10 years

Karachi

July 23, 2020

Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Mission Director Julie Koenen (present online) and Minister for Education and Literacy Saeed Ghani witnessed on Wednesday the signing of agreements between the provincial government and two education management organisations (EMOs) to manage 71 USAID-constructed schools for the next 10 year.

The ceremony, held at CM House, marked the handing over of the management of the schools newly constructed under the USAID’s Sindh Basic Education Programme (SBEP) to the EMOs. Officials from USAID participated virtually while the Sindh government and EMO representatives attended the ceremony in person, while observing social distancing protocols.

Education Secretary Ahmed Bakhsh Narejo and representatives from the two selected EMOs -- Charter for Compassion (CFC) and Health and Nutrition Development Society (HANDS) -- signed the agreements to manage these schools for a period of 10 years. HANDS and CFC signed four and one agreements, respectively.

Under these agreements, both organisations will manage 71 government schools, including 25 newly USAID-constructed schools, to improve the quality of education in four districts of Sindh, Dadu, Qamber Shahdadkot, Karachi and Larkana.

Speaking on the occasion, Chief Minister Shah appreciated the USAID-SBEP and the US government’s strong support for modernising education in the province. He added that the government was the pioneer in launching public-private partnership reforms by outsourcing the operations and management of public-sector schools for 10 years to reputed EMOs under these agreements.

“We are proud to partner with the Government of Sindh in this important initiative,” said Julie Koenen, mission director, USAID/Pakistan. “The Sindh Basic Education Programme is improving the quality of teaching and increasing equitable access to safe learning opportunities for children, especially girls.”

She underlined the US government’s commitment to supporting Pakistan’s efforts in education. The US government, through USAID, is contributing $159.2 million, while the Sindh government is providing $10 million cost-sharing for the SBEP. The project aims to increase and sustain student enrollment in primary, middle and secondary public schools in selected areas of Sindh, with a special focus on bringing back girls who have dropped out of schools.

In addition to constructing schools, the SBEP also supports the provincial government’s reforms in education, school consolidation, merging and upgrading, community mobilisation, public-private partnerships and improving reading competencies of students in schools. The SBEP is constructing up to 106 modern school buildings in 10 districts, Dadu, Jacobabad, Qamber-Shahdadkot, Karachi-West, Karachi-Malir, Karachi-South, Kashmore, Khairpur, Larkana and Sukkur.

The chief minister said that currently, the construction of 70 schools had been completed, and 43 of them had been previously handed over to seven EMOs. The construction of the remaining schools was at various stages of completion, he added.