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Dawn

Published Date: Mar 25, 2013

93pc of the poor want daughters to study

About
93 per cent of the poorest of the poor in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have agreed to
send their daughters to schools after being registered for a monthly stipend.
However, unavailability of facilities such as transport is discouraging them.

This
was stated during a briefing and dialogue “Female education in KP” organised by
the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) here on Monday.

The
KP government launched the stipend scheme for the girl students in 2008 and
till now 280,000 pupils have been receiving Rs200 per month. The stipend is
conditional with 80 per cent monthly attendance.

The
participants were informed that the SDPI conducted a survey last year in which
600 poorest of the poor families in the province were interviewed. The result
of the survey showed that 93 per cent of the families showed willingness to
send their daughters to schools if they were registered for the stipend.

Mohammad
Zeshan, a representative of the SDPI, said the stipend scheme can help enhance
the literacy rate but there were so many other difficulties due to which the
parents hesitated to send their daughters to schools.

“Around
44 per cent girls lived one kilometres to 15 kilometres away from their schools
and because of lack of security it was difficult to ensure their attendance in
schools,” he said.

Corruption
is another issue because only 65 per cent students got stipend regularly.
Corruption and delay in disbursement of the stipend should be addressed, he said.

“Besides,
10 per cent girls’ schools are without boundary walls and 37 per cent schools
do not have toilets.”

Prof
Dr Aisha Anees Malik, the head of the department of social sciences at Iqra
University, said girl child in KP was the most vulnerable. She said even
mothers do not want to send their daughters to schools because they help them
in their daily chores.

“More
incentives for the girls’ students should be introduced because parents will
only send their children to school if they got assurance that after getting
education financial position/status of their children will be improved.
Unfortunately, we don’t have the concept of education for the sake of
knowledge,” she said.

There
are also administrative issues and stipends should reach every deserving
student. Besides, the scheme should also be started in the conflict-hit areas,
she said.