WB concerned over schools’ shortage
PESHAWAR, Dec 27: The World Bank has attributed governance related problems to serious shortage of schools in rural areas and poor quality of public sector education across the NWFP. The bank, which launched a comprehensive report this week, said that the cost of schooling, distance to the nearest schools and parents’ concerns about security for their children, particularly daughters, restricted their access to education in the province.
The provincial government has been suggested to reduce the cost of schooling for households, address parents’ concerns for the safety and security of girls, scale up education supply by engaging private sector and focus on districts which still lagged behind in development.
Highlighting the major constraints, which affect public sector education in the province, the bank said: “The central causes of poor quality of education are widespread governance problems that result in low teachers attendance, school closures, often poorly- qualified teachers, and serious shortage of schools in the rural areas. Finally, allocated non-salary budget funds do not reach the intended local school, but are illicitly diverted”.
The report observed that due to these factors 1.9 million children, including 1.1 million girls, in the 5-9 years age bracket were left out of school with an overall net enrolment ratio of 47 per cent.
It has been suggested that the government should aim at increasing the overall enrolment by at least six per cent annually and female enrolment by eight per cent, which would improve the net enrolment ratio to 66 per cent by the year 2015.
To achieve this goal, the report suggests that the government should introduce stipends for students in public and private sector institutions, raise demand for girls’ education by providing missing facilities to all secondary schools for girls and focus attention on under-developed districts.
Regarding improvement of quality of education in public sector institutions, the bank said, the government should ensure presence of qualified teachers, non-salary funds should reach the schools, make all new teachers appointments through specific and increase monitoring.