Access to quality education linked to ending illiteracy

Karachi: ‘Decision makers, philanthropists and the society need to give highest priority to providing education to all children of Pakistan, which has the world’s second highest number of out-of-school children,’ said Chief Executive Officer Education Fund for Sindh – EFS Khawaja Adeel Aslam while speaking at 5th CSR Summit 2016 organized by The Professionals Network – TPN.

‘Every 12th out-of-school child (OOSC) in the world is from Pakistan,’ he said adding that there are 53 million children in Pakistan between the ages of 5 and 16, of which 25 million or 47% are out of school, whereas, in Sindh, 6.2 million (51%) children are out of school.

‘We need not only to bring them into the schools but also improve the quality of education. According to a study, 59% of class 5 students cannot read a simple story in Urdu and 76% cannot read a sentence in English,’ said Adeel.

Similarly, he added, there are just 19% students of grade-5 from public schools who can read a sentence in English, while this figure is 55% for private schools. Moreover, there are only 26% students of grade-5 from public schools who can do division in arithmetic, and this figure is 62% for private schools, said Adeel, adding that due to this factor the public schools are having low enrolment.

‘Out of the total schools in Sindh, 84% are government schools but they have only 62% of the total enrolment. On the other hand there are only 16% private schools yet enrolment is 38%,’ said Adeel.

Stressing on the need for proper planning, CEO EFS said “the role of Low Cost Private Schools (LCPS) in solving education crisis is quite encouraging due to their low cost, proximity from the children’s homes, better governance, community based learning, and better learning outcomes. There is a need to support these schools considering that 30% of primary school going children are enrolled in Low Cost Private Schools.”

He added that currently EFS is supporting over 135,000 children in Karachi, Khairpur, and Qambar Shahdadkot, and more than 85,000 of these children are being supported through its flagship programme, Education Voucher Scheme, under which EFS funds out of school children to help complete their primary education in Low Cost Private Schools.

Adeel Aslam added, “Alhamdulillah in a short period of 3 years, EFS has spread its operation in 90of the poorest UCs of Karachi along with districts of Khairpur and Qambar Shahdadkot”.

Similarly, he added, EFS under its Intermediaries Programme provides access to education by partnering with existing private educational organizations to address specific needs of education, access and quality. ‘The partnership of EFS with The Citizens Foundation, BRAC, FESF (Deaf Reach School), and Green Crescent Trust has resulted in the enrolment of 49,263 out of school children to date. EFS is also supporting 1,610 out of school children through Progressive Education Network (PEN) under its Public Private Partnership (PPP) programme,’ added Adeel.

EFS, established in 2012, aims to provide out of school children access to good quality, cost effective education. ‘EFS is a not for profit organization governed by an independent Board and is managed by a team of professionals. EFS’ primary funding partner is UK government’s Department for International Development – DFID. We are thankful to them for their continuous support,’ said Adeel.

‘EFS has progressed through support from people like you and continuous efforts of its patrons. You can help this cause by sponsoring a child to complete his/her primary education and in many other ways such as raising awareness of our programme’ he appealed.