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Published Date: Nov 15, 2014

Law to provide free uniforms, stationery to students soon

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) is going to make legislation for the provision of free uniforms and stationery to schoolchildren.

“We are working on a bill that will ensure the provision of uniforms and stationery along with free textbooks to the children,” said MNA Romina Khurshid.

She was speaking at a seminar organised by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) here on Friday.

The seminar, ‘Making quality education accessible in Pakistan – a social accountability perspective’ reflected upon SDPI’s research on the status of primary and secondary education in Khanewal and Vehari.

On the sideline of the seminar, Ms Romina told Dawn that the proposed bill would be tabled in the National Assembly soon.

“We have to pay special attention on education that’s why I’m working on the bill,” she said and added that the provision of quality education in public schools also depended a lot on the recruitment of well-educated and qualified teachers.
MNA Romina Khurshid says bill will be tabled in National Assembly shortly

“Currently, we have committees for overseeing school affairs but they have no mandate to take and recommend action against schoolteachers,” said Dr Shehryar Toru, a research fellow at the SDPI.

Dr Toru said local communities, prayer leaders and politicians, should be included in school management committees to take step for improving school education.

“Though the government dedicates less than two per cent of its GDP for education in Pakistan, due to the poor planning even this meagre money remains unspent. The solution to the problem lied in the promotion of social accountability,” he said.

According to the organisation’s research, one of the biggest reasons behind rampant drop-outs and never-enrollment in the targeted districts was low public awareness about the importance of education. The research also highlighted the centralisation of powers with the district education authorities.

Dr Abid Qaiyum Suleri, the executive director of SDPI, said lack of quality education opportunities in rural areas was responsible for the rapid urbanisation in Pakistan.

He was of the view that unless the urban-rural gaps in education delivery were addressed, migration from rural to urban areas would continue.

Dr Suleri said the research-based intervention designed by the SDPI was witness to the fact that communities’ proactive engagement in the process of development can contribute a great deal towards addressing resource issues, reducing teachers’ absenteeism and in ensuring provision of quality education delivery at the public schools.

Mohammad Sohaib, a research analyst, shared the results of baseline and follow-up citizen report card surveys with the audience and said the project was capable of reducing teachers’ absenteeism and improving availability of facilities in schools.

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