PESHAWAR: Around 2.6 million children are still out of schools in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the provincial assembly’s standing committee on education was informed during its first meeting held on Thursday.

The meeting was chaired by the committee’s chairman, Taj Muhammad. Provincial Special secretary Education briefed the committee about the government’s efforts for education in the province.

He informed the committee that provincial government is taking revolutionary efforts for improving the overall education system of the province. However, the committee chairman expressed annoyance over the failure of the KP director education to participate in the meeting.

The members of the committee flayed the inefficiency of the Managing Director (MD) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Foundation (ESEF) who is  taking a salary of Rs 0.6 million every month but has shown zero performance in enrolling thousands of the out of schools children. The members of the committee also expressed concern over the appointment of the MD of the ESEF.

Article 25-A of the constitution of Pakistan provides that the state shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of five to sixteen years in such manner as may be determined by law.

The KP education department has tasked the ESEF to take measures to enroll the out of schools children. The foundation has been tasked to arrange different activities to encourage the enrollment of out of schools kids.

The committee also took notice of long delays in the reconstruction of schools in earthquake-affected areas of KP. According to the official data, a total of 3,669 schools and colleges were extensively damaged in the 2005 earthquake. Of those, so far 1,605 educational institutions have been reconstructed by the Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority (ERRA).

The committee members observed that in the absence of proper buildings, thousands of students are getting the education in makeshift tents, rented buildings or under the open sky despite the passage of over ten years of the disaster.

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