One day seminar on ‘Vote for Education’

Abbas Kassar
Though education is free now, the parents are reluctant to send their children to schools. Similarly, teachers stay away from their respective schools, allegedly saying the parents are not cooperating with them.
For this educationists, government officials, teachers and political cadre found increasing poverty a main reason to have collapsed the education system in Sindh rural. Allegations and justifications is nothing but escape from the responsibilities, they said.
They were speaking at a seminar on ‘Vote for Education” related to Global Action Week-2015, organised by non-governmental Sindh Health Education and Enterprise Organisation (SHEEDO) in collaboration with Action Aid Pakistan at a Law College Auditorium Hala New, Matiary District.
The speakers put up demand to allocate the more budget for education sector with initiating strict monitoring mechanism for checking fund spending to restore the damaged culture of learning.
The programme was to review the status of education system in Matiari District, which is ranked 13th in weakening education infrastructure and falling quality out of 24 districts of the Sindh province, where education outcomes are said to be indecent.
They said parents in rural areas, being facing poverty, usually engage their children to help them with rearing animals or working in agriculture fields.
In this situation the way of budget expenses are also invisible and show the outcomes in case of improvement of enrollment, providing missing facilities in educational institutes and lift up the quality in education.
The speakers daringly threw packs of allegations to the shoulders of elected parliamentarians and those struggling to reach assemblies, who never turn to see the educational institutes in their respective constituencies and extend helping hand and own the same for its betterment. They pointed out that there are several schools neglected, where not a single teacher come and the poor parents have almost lost the hope to brighten the future of their children.
Muhammad Habib, a Principal of Institute of Commercial Education at Hala New and the author of four books on technical education, computer literacy and literature, summing up the discussion, realised the fact that poverty is main reason of hindering proper enrollment in schools and causing increasing ratio of drop out, as parents believe as if their children could not get jobs after getting degrees to change their lifestyle.
He said the political leadership, especially those elected from the area should own the schools, which are neglected because of one or the other reason.
Muhammad Habib said “despite being a gloomy picture of education infrastructure we must not lose hope and be optimistic because it is the responsibility of all of us to play our own role for the cause, as these children are our future builders.
Rehmatullah Balal, local activist and associated with Alif Ailan said only 42 percent of school-age children are enrolled in village schools but out of them only 50 percent appear in matriculation examination. This is the picture of the entire Sindh province. But, he said the situation of Matiari district is exceptional in terms of lacking ownership by government, parliamentarians, teachers and community.
Balal said only a few parents from rural villages get enrolled their children in to private schools while majority of them cannot afford burden of fees and other expenses of private institutions.
There is a large number of government schools in villages, which have been turned in to private sitting places under use of influential chieftains and not a single student comes there. Teachers appointed there are drawing salaries monthly, because there is no monitoring mechanism on the part of government institutions.
Abid Bughio, Education Officer appreciated the efforts for improving education system, saying this kinds of activism may give fruits to the entire society. He being education officer realised the pressures over posting and transfers of teachers from different levels. Despite this, he was hopeful to see the future of schools and sought support from education activists and civil society to play their role.
Earlie, Asif Khaskheli of SHEEDO briefed the objectives of the event and presented overall situation of the education in Matiari District and discussed the millennium development goals (MDG), which the government despite tall claims could not achieve.
It was planned by the government under the MDGs to ensure enrollment of 100 percent children in all the schools till the year 2015.
Roshan Shah Advocate, Noor Muhammad Sahito, chairman Sindh Rural Development Society (SRDS), Sajida Bhambhro of Village Improvement Social Welfare Association (VISWA), Mahesh Kumar general Secretary Shanti Organisation, Rashid Ahmed Detho Political Activist, Asad Memon and others took part in the discussion.