Sindh Education Minister Syed Sardar Ali Shah and U.S. Consul General Mark Stroh today inaugurated a new high school building in Karachi constructed through the United States Agency for International Development-funded Sindh Basic Education Program.

The newly constructed Government High School Sindhi Jamaat Cooperative Housing Society, Bin Qasim Town in Malir, the 77th new school constructed under the program, offers students and faculty state-of-the-art classrooms, computer and science labs, a health room, and a library.

The US Consul General, Mark Stroh, USAID Deputy Mission Director David Young, Secretary School Education & Literacy Department-Sindh, Ghulam Akbar Laghari, USAID Director for Sindh & Balochistan, Andrew Rebold, Special Assistant to CM Javed Nayab Laghari and a large number of the community residents attended the inaugurating ceremony.

Sindh Minister for Education Syed Sardar Ali Shah while speaking at the occasion expressed his happiness on the inauguration of Government High School Sindhi Jamat that has been reconstructed under the Sindh Basic Education Program as a state of art child-friendly School. He said that this School demonstrates the efforts undertaken by the Government of Sindh with the support of USAID.

Shah expressed his appreciation for the U.S. Government’s support in modernizing education in Sindh through the province’s ongoing partnership with USAID. Through SBEP, USAID has invested $159.2 million in school construction in Sindh. SBEP reconstructs schools damaged by the 2010 floods and newly constructs other schools to support the Government of Sindh’s policy of merging, consolidating, and upgrading existing schools. Upon its completion, SBEP will have constructed 106 state-of-the-art schools in the following ten Sindh districts: Dadu, Jacobabad, Karachi-Malir, Karachi-South, Karachi-East, Kashmore, Khairpur, Larkana, Qambar-Shahdadkot, and Sukkur.

The Minister for Education Syed Sardar Ali Shah said that Government alone can not do anything unless society owns their schools, and only the community’s positive and constructive involvement can do wonders.

Speaking at the occasion, Consul General Mark Stroh said, “We believe that true and lasting development, for countries as well as individuals, starts with education.”

“The United States and Pakistan share this belief, and that is why we are committed to expanding our cooperation in education – from primary to post-graduate levels – to further this common goal,” he said.

The USAID Sindh Basic Education Program is a $159.2 million award that aims to improve access to and quality of public school education by constructing 106 schools across 10 districts in Sindh in partnership with the government of Sindh. The Government of Sindh’s School Education & Literacy Department contributes $10 million as a cost-share. SBEP also mobilizes communities to increase girls’ enrollment, improve the learning environment and early grade reading, and offer technical assistance to the Government of Sindh. The 106 SBEP schools will serve 80,000 girls and boys.

Operations of these schools is being led by private sector Education Management Organizations (EMOs). Public-private partnership agreements between the Government of Sindh and 10 EMOs have been signed, whereby these 10 EMOs will manage 171 public schools, of which 81 are USAID-funded. This includes the Government High School Sindhi Jamaat Cooperative Housing Society, which will be managed by an EMO called Sindh Madarsatul Islam Board.

Author

Arshad Yousafzai is a Karachi-based journalist covering Education and Human Rights. He can be reached on Twitter @Arshadyousafzay

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