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Published Date: May 13, 2011

SDPI PRESS RELEASE (13 MAY 2011)

Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) and Affiliated Network for Social Accountability-South Asia Region (ANSA) have started a project to improve equitable secondary level education and to address the rural-urban and gender-based gaps in education sector in Pakistan.

SDPI and ANSA have decided to initially target two slums, Hansa Colony G-8/1 and Alipur Farash, in the vicinity of Islamabad capital territory to lessen the gender and rural-urban gap along with promoting equitable education while particularly focusing female education. The project will address corruption and mismanagement of educational funds, inadequate planning capacity, lack of awareness about education among underdeveloped communities, social and cultural barriers to female education and poverty that encourages child labor at the expense of child literacy. Once implemented successfully, this model will be replicated in other parts of the country.

According to the latest Pakistan Social and Living Standards Measurement (PSLM) Survey 2008-09, the overall literacy rate in Pakistan is 57 percent(69 for male and 45 percent for female) and in context of rural urban divide, its 74 percent in urban areas and 48 percent in the rural areas. The country’s expenditure on public education as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is only 2.0 percent, the lowest in South Asia, which significantly highlights the disparity in the literacy rate of both the genders.

SDPI will be working in close cooperation with school administrations, school councils and targeted stakeholders and will be organizing trainings and workshops for their capacity building and attitudinal change. The specific activities which will lead to the attainment the objective of the programme include extensive desk review on existing literature and policy documents covering public school secondary education in Pakistan along with developing a Citizen Report Card (CRC) to gather citizen feedback on the state of secondary education in public schools in targeted slums of Islamabad.

SDPI also plans to conduct Focus Group Discussion (FGDs) to discuss the core issues with key stakeholders and a consultative workshop to discuss the situation of secondary level education in Islamabad which will form the basis for advocacy and public policy dialogue. SDPI would also help setting up local School Management Committees (SMCs) comprising school administrators, teachers, parents and students to ensure monitoring of the status of public services delivery in target schools.

SDPI will also create and organize Pakistan Social Accountability Network (PSAN) to ensure a national level initiative towards promoting social accountability. The alliance will consist of civil society organizations working on social accountability issues in Pakistan. Some of the potential members include SDPI, Center for Peace and Development Initiatives (CPDI), Shehri, Hisaar Foundation and Integrated Regional Support Programme (IRSP).

It is also decided that SDPI will launch a media campaign for raising awareness on the state of education in public schools and the need for social accountability. It is expected that media campaign will be useful for mobilizing the support of society at large.