Govt plans to enrol 4m children this year

Report
from DAWN Group of Newspapers
Published on 17 Apr 2014 View Original

LAHORE: Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif on Wednesday launched Students Enrolment Campaign 2014 with a commitment to enrol some four million out-of-school children this year and optimum enrolment by May 31, 2016.

The chief minister was speaking at the inaugural ceremony of Students Enrolment Campaign 2014 at his secretariat on Wednesday.

He himself enrolled three students on nursery class at a public school’s stall set up in a corner of the stage.

The chief minister made it clear that retention of enrolled students would be more important than mere enrolment. He, however, did not explain where the new four million students would be admitted as the government had merged public schools to rationalise students and teachers’ strength. This has led to reduce the number of public schools from 63,000 to 57,000. Independent research organisations claim that the Punjab government would require thousands of new schools in the province to accommodate the new enrolment.

Mr Sharif directed the school education department secretary and other officials to come out of their offices and visit rural areas for enrolment. He stressed that teachers should also cooperate in the campaign and added that the state would resolve their genuine problems.

The chief minister announced elevating those MPAs as minister who would ensure 100pc enrolment in his constituency. He said he would also publicly acknowledge the DCOs as well as public representatives of three districts, which would top in the enrolment campaign.

Referring to the establishment of Oxford and Harvard universities in Europe, the chief minister regretted that the Mughals in that era were building tombs of their wives in this part of the world.

With regard to rationalisation policy, he said it was a type of nepotism that more and more teachers were concentrating on urban areas leaving schools in villages under-staffed.

Earlier, Punjab Education Minister Rana Mashhood Ahmad said the government had already started commending the services of those DCOs, who ensured maximum enrolment in their respective districts. He said the government was also planning to revitalise school councils.

School Education Secretary Abdul Jabbar Shaheen said the department had last year enrolled some 3.6 million children. He committed that he would ensure 100pc enrolment in schools across the province by May 31, 2016.

He claimed that the department had moved some 12,000 teachers from over-staffed schools to the under-staffed. He said the department had also recruited some 140,000 teachers and finalised 24,000 more teachers against the 30,000 advertised posts in the province.

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