close
Saturday December 04, 2021

Lack of female teachers, faraway girl schools blamed for high dropout rate

November 26, 2021
Lack of female teachers, faraway girl schools blamed for high dropout rate

The Sindh government has assured that it will implement recommendations of a study titled ‘Issues of Girls’ Education in Sindh’ that was undertaken by the Provincial Ombudsman Sindh in collaboration with the International Ombudsman Institute (IOI) under a regional subsidy programme.

According to the IOI, the main objective of the study was to know the present status of girls' education in the province under the Sindh’s Right to Education Act 2013. It was also aimed at making recommendations that could be beneficial for preparing a policy framework that would help control maladministration in the education sector of the province.

“The key objectives of the study are to identify the dynamics of socio-cultural, economic, political, religious and supply-side factors, hampering the gains of girls’ education in Sindh,” the study reads.

Findings

The study concluded that one of the major reasons behind girls being deprived of education was patriarchal hegemony while among the out-of-school children, girls were more than boys.

It said that female teachers in girl schools were essential as cultural norms were against male teachers teaching female students.

According to the report, a significant number of families preferred to invest in education of their sons instead of daughters. “Dropout of school children in general and the girls, in particular, is a chronic issue in Sindh; particularly in the rural areas. When children transit from primary to secondary schools, the rate of dropout gets higher,” reads the study.

It also mentioned that the shortage of middle, secondary, and higher secondary schools and lack of basic facilities in schools in Sindh were also major reasons that contributed to the low literacy of girls. Parents also avoided sending their daughters to a school located far away from their homes.

“Girls in government schools drop out drastically after completing primary education as the middle or high schools are not available in the vicinity. It starts from grade 4 and onwards when girls grow up. Especially, when there is no female teacher in the school,” reads the study.

The report, however, mentions that the mindset against girl education seems to be changing in the province but still much work is needed to overcome the gender gap in the education system.

Recommendations

The Sindh Ombudsman has recommended that there is a need to review the existing policies from a gender perspective and strengthen the monitoring mechanism. It requires collaborative

efforts from all the key stakeholders, including the school education department, Sindh Education Foundation (SEF) and local administrative offices.

Likewise, awareness campaigns and workshops with the community should be held at the local level on a regular basis so that the people could send their daughters to schools. The study also calls for making women heads of the school management committees to increase girls’ enrolment in schools.

The report recommends that gender units be established at both the education department and SEF so that they could ensure equal enrolment in schools. “For increasing girls’ enrolment at post-primary level, it is recommended that Government Boys High Schools and Government Boys Higher Secondary Schools may be renamed as Government High Schools and Government Higher Secondary Schools respectively,” reads the study.

The report also calls for the Sindh labour department and Children Complain Office of Provincial Ombudsman to play a strong role in enforcing and monitoring the child labour laws. It also stressed the need for prioritising girls’ education in the informal stream of education.

Govt’s assurance

Sindh Ombudsman Ajaz Ali Khan said that after the study was presented to the Sindh chief minister in the last week of October, the CM assured of his support for the implementation

of the study’s recommendations.

The Ombudsman’s press statement reads that the CM issued directives to the school education secretary, SEF and other stakeholders to extend support for the implementation of the recommendations of the study.