The Sindh cabinet meeting took important education-related decisions on Saturday, in a meeting that lasted for record eight and a half hours. Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah presided over the meeting, which was steered by the chief secretary and attended by all the provincial ministers, advisers and important provincial government officers.

Addressing the attendees, Minister for Education Syed Sardar Shah said that there were 49,103 government-administered schools in the province, out of which 44,317 were primary, 2,693 elementary, 1,776 high schools and 317 higher secondary schools. He said there were 11,308 schools or 20 percent schools that had basic amenities including washrooms, electricity, safe drinking water and boundary walls.

Shah said 5,922 or 11 percent schools had no facility at all, while 37,705 or 69 percent schools had missing amenities. Moreover, 7,611 schools were shelter-less, 10,516 were single-room schools and 18,507 were two-room schools. He added that 18,660 schools were being managed by a single teacher, 12,136 schools had no teacher at all and 11,441 schools had no student enrolment. Also around 4.2 million children in the province were out of school.

Secretary Education Qazi Shahid Parvez said 90 percent teachers were teaching  arts subjects at schools, while the remaining 10 percent were for science subjects. He said efforts were being made to hire more science, English and mathematics teachers. The cabinet was informed that 40,000 teachers had been trained but still no changes were discernible in their teaching practises. The content of curriculum books’ was outmoded and need reviewing on an urgent basis, Pervaz added.

Revealing his reform agenda, the education minister said that he had taken two pertinent initiatives, holding talks with civil society at Hyderabad and Karachi and school profiling. He said that one- or two-room primary schools located in close vicinity were being merged. Other reforms included “decentralisation of primary school management through bunching with one hub school having a grade BS-17 headmaster, eligible primary schools to be upgraded to elementary schools and middle schools to be clubbed with adjacent primary schools to make one elementary school.”

The CM directed the education department to set up 300 model schools with facilities including early childhood classes and transportation facility for female students and teachers. The cabinet decided to administer these schools through the outsourcing model. The chief minister said he had released Rs8 billion for school furniture, therefore local vendors must be involved, otherwise these funds would not be utilized efficiently. He also ordered budgetary provision for teaching aid, sports and co-curriculum activities.

The cabinet also decided to conduct the examination in open zones, where CCTV cameras would be installed to monitor student activities. The checking of the copies would also be completed under one roof and surveillance cameras.

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