Over 31,000 foreigners visited Karachi to listen sermons of Syedna

F.P. Report

KARACHI:  Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah hosted a reception for spiritual leader of Dawoodi Bohra Jamaat Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin here at the CM House on Wednesday evening.

The Bohra Jamaat chief said that over 31,000 foreigners visited Karachi to listen to his sermons. “We are thankful for your support, cooperation and personal care,” he said to the chief minister and added that the people of Karachi are good hosts and respects their guests.

The chief minister said that it was an honor for his government and the people of the province, particularly of the city that Syedna chose to hold his Moharram majalis in there.

It may be recalled that when the Bohra Jamaat chief last held his Moharram Majalis in the city about 21 year ago around 7000 foreigners had visited the city but this time the figure rose to over 31,000. The Bohra leaders told the chief minister that it was a conglomeration of over 70,000 people in the city.

The chief minister invited Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin to visit Thar. “The rains have turned the sand dunes lush green and you would enjoy to see our desert area which is going to be a hub of our power generation and economy in near future,” he said. Syedan thanked the chief minister for the invitation and said next time he would visit Thar with him.

The chief minister presented traditional ajrak, khes and Sindhi cap to Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin. The reception was attended by Senior Minister Nisar Khuhro and leaders of Bohra community.

Meanwhile, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has directed education department to work out a detailed plan to improve overall education system, reduce drop out ratio and develop capacity building of the teachers.

This he said while presiding over a meeting at CM House to review the status of public sector education in the province. The meeting was attended by Minister Education Jam Mehtab Dahar, Chief Secretary Rizwan Memon, Principal Secretary to CM Sohail Rajput, Secretary Education Aziz Uqaili, Secretary Finance Hassan Naqvi and others.

The chief minister said that he had declared emergency in education sector but the net results are not encouraging. “There is a dire need of given proper attention to the weakness in the system so that they could be improved.

Secretary Education Aziz Uqaili briefing the chief minister said that the enrolment target for primary was fixed at 77 percent against which 65 percent has been achieved. The enrolment target for middle school was set at 45 percent against which 35 percent achieved and the target for secondary was fixed at 35 percent against which 25 percent was achieved. He added that literacy ratio is 60 percent while the target has been set at 70 percent for 2018.

He said that the latest published report of Pakistan Education Statistics (2014-15) by National Education Management Information System, Islamabad says that in Sindh total school children of 5-16 years age are 11.9 million, of them 6.66 million are out of school. He added that overall 11,991,067 children (5-16 year of age), of them 5327,706 are in school and 6,663,361 are out of school. On this the chief minister said that it means 55.6 percent children are out of school.

The secretary education said that the dropout rate at primary level was 12.6 percent in 2014-15 and every year it is being reduced by three percent.

The meeting was informed that in 2016-17 there were 45,555 schools in the province, of them 42,383 are viable and 3172 nonviable. The overall enrolment in 2015-16 was 4,145,219 while it improved to 4229,128 in 2016-17. This shows a difference of 83,909 or 2 percent increase. Similarly, in 2015-16 there were 156,216 teachers which reduced to 150,787 in 2016-17. The difference of 5429 teachers wither retired or resigned due to start of biometric attendance system.

Talking about major issues, Minister Education Jam Mehtab Dahar said that most of the school buildings are in dilapidated condition, roofs of majority of the schools are dangerous. The recent rains further damaged the structures. A survey of damaged and dangerous school buildings was conducted by the Education Works in Sept. 2017 soon after heavy rains and found 6,157 damaged or dangerous schools surveyed by Engineers in Sept 2017 for which Rs.17,279 million are required to repair or reconstruct them. The chief minister termed the amount as an exaggerated figure.

The chief minister was told that necessary measures have been taken to strengthen governance in schools, 1016 headmasters at primary level have been appointed and education management cadre has also been introduced.

The chief minister said that he was not happy with the state of schools in the province and the drop ratio whether it is accurate or not but is quite disappointing.

He directed the education department to select 15000 primary schools as model schools and provide them all facilities and keep a proper teachers-student ratio and monitor their education process through proper surveillance and inspections.  This process would definitely improve education at primary level. Similarly, 1000 secondary and higher secondary schools may also be selected as model school.