SEF given target to enrol 250,000 out-of-school children

Karachi: The Sindh Education Foundation (SEF) should make concerted efforts to enrol 250,000 additional children in schools from next academic year. “This may be taken as a target.”

This was stated by Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah while presiding over a meeting of Board of Governors (BoG) of Sindh Education Foundation (SEF) here at the CM House today. The meeting was attended by the Additional Chief Secretary (Development) Ajaz Ali Khan, Principal Secretary to CM Alimuddin Bullo, Dr Kaiser Bengali, Member SEF-BoG, Dr. Qazi Masood, Member SEF-BoG, Ms. Naheed Shah Durrani, Managing Director, SEF, Ms. Alia Shahid, Special Secretary Education and Literacy Department, GoS and Mr. Ali Hassan Naqvi

Managing Director SEF Ms. Naheed Shah Durrani briefing the Board said that the Foundation was entering into strategic partnership with a number of credible and reputable organizations including, The Citizen Foundation, Indus Resource Centre, Sindh Madrassa Board, M/S Aware; Indus Education Foundation; OSAR Education; Tehzeeb Foundation; Green Crescent Trust, BRAC Pakistan and Education Fund for Sindh for pooling of resources, learning and exchanges and implementation of its projects. These partnerships will benefit marginalized and vulnerable children of the province.

The Chairman and the BoG appreciated the SEF’s initiative of strategic partnerships with credible organizations. The Chief Minister remarked that through collective efforts and input the state of education in the province could be significantly improved.

The SEF MD taking the chief minister’s directives said that SEF has already set a target to bring back out-of-school children and the Foundation aspires to register around 250,000 additional children in schools by the beginning of next academic year (2016-17). She added that quality for SEF is a non-negotiable agenda and it would not be compromised in pursuance of increasing enrolment.

Briefing the members about various programmes of the Foundation; Ms. Durrani stated that according to different survey reports there were around 2.5 million adolescents in Sindh who might have not dropped out of school or never had been to school. These adolescent children especially the vulnerable children (street children; bonded labour etc) aged somewhere from 9 to 18 years require combined accelerated learning and skill development programmes. SEF proposed to launch an adult and adolescent learning program for this segment of society which the chief minister as chairman of SEF board approved.

Presently, SEF is exploring options of partnerships with some reputable organizations already working with the vulnerable segments of the society. Ms Durrani shared a list of potential partners in this regard.

Ms. Durrani further told the forum that Sindh like other provinces of the country faces huge vacuum in post-primary education as participation rate in post-primary education is alarmingly low in Sindh. In order to tackle this challenging situation, SEF proposes to embark on a program to establish middle and high schools through partnership with private school operators. Proposal includes plan to target those districts where participation in post-primary education is quite low comparatively.

Chairman BoG Syed Qaim Ali Shah appreciated SEF for paying special attention to the critical areas in education in Sindh and assured his full support to the Foundation.

He instructed the relevant departments to support SEF to meet its targets aiming at high quality service delivery. In his closing comments the Chief Minister said that the present provincial government was fully committed to make quality education accessible to all the children of the province.