THE integrated education learning programme, the biggest initiative of the Sindh Education Foundation (SEF), has been in financial doldrums for the last one year, as the education department delayed the funds despite promises made by the chief minister and the senior minister of education.
In the year 2009, some 1,500 low-cost schools were set up in the 23 districts of Sindh under the public and private partnership programme.
Schools were established through individuals and organisations that were encouraged to open schools in the most remote areas of the 23 districts of Sindh on a 16-month contract.
The SEF and the Education and Literacy Department had promised to release funds in the shape of a second grant if schools are successful.
The future of 250,000 poor students is at stake as funds have not been released by the education department fore the last seven months.
Under this scheme, 250,000 children were enrolled in low-cost private schools, and 8,000 teachers were employed. Teachers’ salaries have not been released while the schools are suffering. Children’s education has come under threat.
A meeting of the board of governors was held, presided over by Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah, Education Minister Pir Mazharul Haq and SEF chairman Anita Ghulam Ali.
It was decided that these schools would be regularised and registered under the Sindh Education Department.
The school owners have leased land and constructed rooms and washrooms according to SEF requirements. They also went from house to house to create educational awareness among the local communities. But seven months have passed and no financial support has been extended to the 1,500 schools.
School entrepreneurs, teachers and children are apprehensive as in case of more delay in funds a sense of uncertainty will be created among all stakeholders. They will not be able to continue these schools which will adversely impact the education of the children.