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Govt launches plans to pay children to stay in school

By News Desk
September 02, 2021


ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government has launched plans to incentivise children to go to school and prevent the perennial challenge of dropouts — particularly in girls.

The Ehsaas Education Stipends programme aims at providing financial assistance to deserving households for the education of children in the primary, secondary and higher secondary levels. Rolled out nationwide in 160 districts, the programme has been structured to give a larger amount of stipend to girls as compared to boys.

Addressing the launch of the programme here on Wednesday, Prime Minister Imran Khan said ensuring education for all is the government’s priority, and using stipends as incentives will encourage parents to send their children, particularly girls,

to schools. He said an educated woman will contribute more positively towards society and lauded the programme’s policy to give a larger amount to girls.

He said the government is focused on providing education to all children across the country and giving incentives to prevent dropouts from schools. He added that as over 20 million children in the country are out of schools, efforts are under way to ensure their inclusion in the educational mainstream.

Terming an educated human resource “a great asset for a nation”, he said it is important to provide educational opportunities to both boys and girls.

He dismissed the notion in the Western world that Pakistanis do not want to educate their girls. He recalled that during his visits to different parts of the country, he found no parents opposed to educating their daughters.

However, he surmised that distant schools or unavailability of female teachers could be a reason. Khan said it is mainly the responsibility of the government to provide education facilities to all.

By the use of information technology, the stipends will be disbursed transparently after proper checking of fake entries and ghost schools.

The Prime Minister also announced a one-time Ehsaas graduation bonus of Rs3,000 to encourage girls to complete primary education. This award will be given to girls from Ehsaas-eligible families completing grade 5. The graduation bonus has been designed to encourage girls’ education till the secondary level. Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Welfare, Dr Sania Nishtar, said under the Ehsaas Education Stipends, primary school boys will get quarterly stipends of Rs1,500 and girls Rs2,000; secondary school boys will get Rs2,500 and girls Rs3,000; and at the higher secondary level, boys will get Rs3,500 and girls Rs4,000 a quarter.

She said all educational stipends will be paid “biometrically” to mothers on the attainment of 70 per cent attendance of their children. She said as part of “Post-Covid-Ehsaas Strategy”, Ehsaas Education Stipends will empower deserving families to overcome financial barriers in accessing higher education.

Presently, there were 18.7 million children in the age group of 6 to 16 who remain out of school in the country.