GILGIT (ET): The number of out-of-school children in GB has come down to 19,000 from 25,000 in the recent past, primarily due to efforts of the non-formal education school system. This was stated by National Education Foundation (NEF) Director Kacho Manzoor during a news briefing on Saturday.
“According to available data, 25,000 children were out of school in GB until recently. But as a result of concerted efforts, 6,000 have been admitted to the basic education community schools in GB, bringing down the number of illiterate children in the region,” said Manzoor.
Community schools were set up in 1994 under the social action programme with an objective to promote primary education in the country and the initiative was placed under the NEF.
The standard of education in these schools suffered recently following strikes by teachers for regularisation of their services.
Hailing from various valleys, the teachers gathered in Gilgit and held protests for more than a week outside the G-B Legislative Assembly.
Manzoor said the issue has been partially settled as the government has made formal criteria and teachers meeting those conditions will be regularised.
Currently, more than 58,000 students are enrolled with the community schools in which nearly 60% are girls.
The director said NEF is not a parallel setup but rather a part of the government’s efforts to educate children who are unable to attend school due to poverty. Under this system, the poor who cannot afford uniforms, books and hefty fees are provided the essential material free of cost, with no restriction on uniform, he informed.
“According to the statistics, the annual expenditure per student enrolled in our system is Rs1,943 while the cost of a child being educated in any other government school is Rs12,309 in one year,” he said. The official urged the media to play its role in increasing child enrolment in schools.