Tuesday, April 30, 2013 - Multan—The government has launched a process of ranking schools every month with the cooperation of UNICEF to create an atmosphere of competition among schools for improvement in their performance. Official sources said that the schools’ ranking list of Multan district, having around 1400 schools, would be pasted outside the office of executive district officer (EDO) education at the end of every month.
The schools’ ranking would be finalized on the basis of eighteen (18) points including teachers’ attendance, students’ attendance (boys and girls), student-teacher ratio, facilities available at schools particularly basic needs including water, electricity, toilet, boundary wall, atmosphere at schools, cleanliness, teachers’ pedagogic techniques, and furniture.
A Unicef team has set up its camp office in Multan and is engaged in a survey to document boys and girls of the age of 5 to 16 years who are not attending school. The UNICEF team would also provide assistance to families to enrol their children, official sources said. The survey conducted so far has revealed that around 165,000 boys and girls of the age between 5 and 16 do not go to school. District monitoring officers have been tasked with finalizing ranking of schools and they would check 25 schools every month and submit reports. They would also check if students were utilizing helping material like guides or test papers.
The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) earlier also joined hands to explore opportunities to improve education services for children of Afghan refugees in Pakistan. A landmark study on enhanced access to educate children of Afghan refugees was inaugurated at a ceremony, said a press release. The initiative explored the present situation regarding the education for Afghan children in Pakistan. It also designed a strategy to enhance the education services available to them.
“The Unicef is proud to partner with the UNHCR in this landmark study,” said Simone Klawitter, acting country representative for the Unicef Pakistan. Klawitter said that the organisation believed that schools were safe spaces for children. “After the passage of Article 25-A by the parliament, it was imperative that Afghan refugee children be given an equal opportunity to flourish alongside their Pakistani peers.”
According to UNHCR statistics, literacy amongst Afghan refugees was as low as 33 per cent. Female literacy amongst this population was just eight per cent. The study cited a lack of girls’ schools, lack of female teachers and socio-cultural barriers as reasons for limited female literacy.—APP