KARACHI:Sindh government should come up with a concrete action plan to address the worsening state of education in Sindh, demanded the participants at an online launching ceremony of the report ‘The Political Economy of Education in Sindh in 2020’, produced by the Hari Welfare Association (HWA).

Speaking at the ceremony today, Akram Khaskheli, President, HWA, said that free and compulsory education is our constitutional right, but the government had failed to provide this right to each child. Thousands of schools are dysfunctional at ground level, he said. “Govt should increase budget in education and ensure its proper utilization; it should functionalize all schools immediately to address children dropout issue. The govt should recruit teachers as per need on an urgent basis to address teacher shortage issues.

Qazi Khizar, Vice-Chairperson HRCP, said that Sindh had always introduced laws on human and children’s rights, but the implementation had remained a serious problem. He also complained that the government was not serious about providing data on education. He said that he had calculated that in reality, in Sindh, 7,500,000 (7.5 million) children from 5 to 16 years of age were not going to school.

Baela Raza Jamil, CEO Idara Taleemo Agahi Pakistan, showed concern that the government had stopped sharing data on children in and out of schools. She added that the government should share the data on every aspect of education. Raza said that the public and private education system is a colonial legacy that persists and continues to grow and causes poverty and divide of the poor and rich.

Sadiqa Salahuddin from Indus Resource Center said: “The government’s education data does not count the increasing population of children; the number of out-of-school children is too high because more children are born but are not calculated as part of out-of-school children.” Dr. Abdullah Khoso, one of the report’s authors, said in every country, education is politicized. However, in Sindh, it is politicized too much where resources are misused and misappropriated without anyone’s notice.

From the Sindh human rights commission, Zulfiqar Shah said that if the government provided Rs25000 minimum wage to adult workers, child labor would significantly reduce. Ambreen Zahra, national coordinator child rights movement in Pakistan, said that the government had resources to produce accurate data on education. Mir Behram Lehri, Child Rights Movement (CRM) Balochistan chapter said that depression and stress also caused dropout from schools.

Therefore, mental health in schools should be given priority. Adnan Khaskheli, from Sindh human rights education, said that there was a lack of data on education. However, he added that in some areas, schools exist, but they have extremely low enrolment. AD Jamali from teachers association, Qamar ul Nisa Dhamrah member Sindh Commission on Status of Women, Asif-ul-Bashar and many others also spoke on occasion.