President Calls for All-Out Efforts to Enroll Out-Of-School Kids



President Dr Arif Alvi has said that the country’s 22.8 million children not attending schools which is alarming and the challenge needed broad-based efforts at the government and individual levels.

He was addressing a seminar on out-of-school children in Pakistan organised by the Pakistan Institute of Parliamentary Services (PIPS) and Pakistan Teachers Forum (PTF) on Wednesday.

The president said that the serious situation meant half of the child population aged five to 16 was at risk of engaging in labour or begging. He pointed out that with only 68 per cent of children in the category of primary education, the country lagged far behind the other South Asian nations, including 100 per cent in India, 99 per cent in Sri Lanka and 98 per cent in Bangladesh.

He stressed that it was the collective responsibility of the government, legislators, elite, civil society and the general public to take steps at their ends for the promotion of education. Pakistan could achieve remarkable development by laying a specific focus on education and health, he added. In this regard, he called for setting priorities and taking effective decisions on the policies relating to matters of public interest.

Dr Alvi said incentives such as school feeding programmes for students and disbursement of cash to the parents on their children’s attendance could encourage the underprivileged population to get an education.

He expressed confidence that the bright young minds could bring laurels to the country if provided a level-playing field in areas, particularly education and health. The president stressed equal opportunities for girls and women to acquire education at par with their male counterparts.

Federal Secretary for Federal Education and Professional Training Amir Ashraf Khawaja said the economy had a significant link with education and pointed out that lack of investment in education, health and agriculture resulted in a big lag in development for the country.

The federal government was striving to address the challenge of imparting education to out-of-school children through incentives such as school feeding programmes, he added.

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