President calls for structural improvements in educational system in Sindh

Karachi: President Asif Ali Zardari called for structural improvements in the funding, management and oversight of educational institutions in the Sindh to boost education both qualitatively and quantitatively in the province at Bilawal house on Monday.He also called upon the Sindh government to develop its separate power policy as permission to provinces to develop power projects under 50 MW has already been given in the power policy of 2002The President made these observations during two separate meetings that he presided over in Bilawal House Karachi pertaining to education and power in the Sindh province.The meetings were attended by Chief Minister Sindh, provincial Ministers and senior federal and provincial government officials.Briefing journalists Spokesperson to President Farhatullah Babar said that the President also directed to call another meeting within a month on these issues in which the relevant ministries will give a briefing on the progress made in the implementation of the directives.He said that the pathetic state of education came to light when the briefing on education was informed that out of 11 million school age children in the province only 6.4 million were enrolled leaving over 4.5 million children out of schools. Twenty percent of the schools have no building at all, 45% comprise only one or two room and over 60% schools have just one or two teachers. 60% of schools in the province have no access to safe drinking water, the briefing was informed.“The province is faced with education crisis”, the President remarked adding’ “this situation must not be allowed to continue and needs to be changed through structural improvements”.The President tasked the provincial Education Minister to prepare a comprehensive and workable plan and propose steps to meet the education emergency in the province.The President said that a thought should be given to enter into management partnership with the private sector for efficient running of the schools. He also called for adoption of innovative ways to generate funds and improve oversight of the educational institutions.

“The situation that over 4.5 million children simply are not enrolled and over 60% schools have just one or two teachers points to some fundamental flaws in the system that needs to be addressed on an emergency basis” Farhatullah Babar quoted the president as saying.The President said that the DFID had allocated 80 million pounds to the development of education in the province over the next five years through Sindh Education Fund that will be set up as a nonprofit company under the Companies Ordinance. However, assistance from the Fund will be given to only those educational institutions which fulfill the basic minimum criteria developed for the purpose.The President asked the provincial education department to gear up to meet the basic minimum criteria to be eligible for the DFID assistance. The President also called for beefing up rural schools by diverting revenues from each deh to the development of education in addition of DFID support.The President called for another meeting within a month on the subject to discuss the steps taken by the provincial government in this regard.

In the meeting on power and gas situation the President directed the provincial government to develop its own separate power policy to meet its growing energy demands. He said that under the Power policy of 2002 provinces can develop power projects under 50 MW on their own. The President called for another meeting within a month to examine the progress made separate power policy and setting up of generation boards in the province.The President also called for augmenting gas supply form gas fields. The meeting also reviewed progress on an earlier directive for reactivation of abandoned gas fields in the province to improve the gas supply situation in the country. The President also called for setting up of captive power plants for selected industrial zones, the spokesperson said – Onlinenews