Saturday September 18, 2021

Community schools play vital role in educating girls in KP

July 30, 2021

PESHAWAR: The girls community schools have been doing a tremendous job for the promotion of education as a total of 1,23154 out-of-school girls are enrolled in the 1,937 such institutions of the province.

Girls Community Schools (GCS) is one of the major initiatives of the Elementary Education Foundation (EEF) aimed at promotion of education among the deprived girls, who don’t have a formal education institution within one kilometer radius of their residence.

The project has been successfully functioning with the active support of the local community. The foundation recently took strong measures to strengthen the institutions further.

For the purpose, a number of initiatives have been taken to ensure efficiency of the institutions and regularise them in phases in line with the basic concept of the project that was launched in 2015.

The schools are supposed to be opened in areas where no government or private educational institution is available within one kilometer radius. Owing to the strict cultural taboos of Pakhtun society, the majority of the parents are reluctant to send their female children away from their homes for education.

Therefore, these informal educational institutions were set up in homes, hujras and other community centres with the support of the local population and an educated lady of the same locality was given the task to teach the students on nominal packages.

Sources told The News that the teachers, on the one hand, were minimally paid and, on the other, their salaries would remain pending for months. The current management of the foundation, they said, ensured complete payment of the outstanding salaries of the teachers. Also, their salaries were increased to the minimum wages fixed by the provincial government.

The step was a major incentive for the nearly 3000 temporary teachers serving in these informal institutions and it certainly brought joys for them. It would definitely leave a positive impact on the teaching of the teachers engaged in the project.

Funds amounting to Rs30 million have been issued to the GCSs for the purchase of learning materials, classroom consumable items and students facilities.

One of the ideas behind the project was that the community schools would be converted and upgraded as formal government schools on the basis of need and efficiency. However, none of the institutions could be converted into such an institution during the six years life of the project. The foundation has now submitted a proposal to the elementary and secondary education department to convert and upgrade at least 100 of these community schools.

The foundation is also planning to promote the best functioning community schools as model community schools, which would be provided proper facilities and they would serve no less than the formal educational institutions.

The students enrolled in the community schools get education upto primary level after which their studies stop automatically due to non-availability of educational institutions for higher classes. Therefore, the foundation has planned to announce fully funded scholarships for the brilliant students, who have the urge to continue their studies.

Under the scholarship, the students would be shifted to leading boarding schools and they would be supported till higher secondary school level.

The most fascinating initiative to promote efficiency of the community schools is the digitalisation of these institutions.

For the purpose, a user-friendly software has been designed on which availability of real time data would be ensured. The data would be accessed and monitored at three levels - school, district and head-office.

Profiles of all the students enrolled in the GCSs would be available online and new enrollments and admission would be made through online registration. Daily attendance would be taken online.