PESHAWAR: To meet the challenges and growing demand of access to education in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the provincial government has initiated a unique mechanism aimed at not only providing access, but also decreasing the student dropout rate at middle and high school level.
Formally inaugurating the new initiative in Kohat district, the Minister for Elementary and Secondary Education Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Atif Khan stated that government has initiated the up-gradation of the existing primary and middle schools by introducing middle and high level respectively, in the evening shift, along with providing transport facilities to students.
The scheme has been launched in collaboration with Institute of Social and Policy Sciences (I-APS) and Sustainable Transition and Retention in Delivering Education (STRIDE) in 30 schools of District Kohat and Swabi. Figures made available by I-SAPS indicate that the dropout rate among boys after class 5 is 18 per cent whereas the dropout rate among girls stands at 24 per cent mainly because of inaccessibility to middle schools.
Currently, 800 students have already been enrolled in the evening shifts whereas 103 teachers have been identified and engaged in the afternoon classes. Similarly, 603 students have been provided with transport facilities under the new initiative.
While addressing the inauguration ceremony, Atif Khan said the average timeframe for construction of a new school is up to three years.
“This initiative will not only save considerable time, but will also save revenue by providing middle and high school education in the already existing schools. Female students will benefit the most because they will be able to continue their education without hassle.” Atif Khan
Afsana Gul, a grade 6 student from Kohat enrolled in the evening shift, appreciated the initiative and adding that for some of her classmates, class 5 was an end to their educational career because most parents cannot afford to send their daughters to the nearest middle school which is 10 km away from their primary school.
“Not only am I able to continue my education, but I am happy because all my school friends will stay together in the same school” she pleasured.
However, in government girls’ primary school Jabbi in Tehsil Takth Nasrati, four girls have returned and started to continue their education, after three years’ discontinuity due to inaccessibility, whereas 26 students have currently enrolled themselves in the evening shift. It is expected that many students, who have stopped going to schools, will resume their educational career after this initiative.
On this occasion, provincial minister also visited the Kohat board and laid the foundation stone of a sports Gymnasium along with providing medals to 20 toppers at SSC and HSSC level. While addressing the participants, the minister also announced cash awards to students of Govt Schools who are able to secure top positions in their respective educational Boards.
The Minister announced Rs 10 Lakh award to those students of Govt schools who are able to secure 1st position in their Board, Rs 5 Lakh to top 10 position holders whereas Rs 3 Lakh to top 20 students in their respective Boards.
Addressing the ceremony, the Minister for E&SE Atif Khan stated that the Provincial Government is committed to provide equitable access to quality education to all, across all levels from primary to university level, for which reforms are undertaken in the education sector as a continuous and on-going process,. KP is keen to catch up in the coming years by setting up a system that will expand enrollments and boost access and the quality of learning.