Sindh Government’s Education and Literacy Department has formally launched a gender unit with an aim to encourage and promote girl’s education across the province. The unit has been jointly initiated by the Government of Sindh, Oxfam and Indus Resource Centre.
If reports are to be believed, Sindh has had a rather dismal performance in ensuring enrolment of girls in schools despite incurring heavy expenditure for the cause. A recent news report revealed enrolment of girls in schools across Sindh had actually gone down in the last five years despite heavy spending. The report revealed that middle-level government schools Net Enrolment Rate decreased from 23.50 in 2012 to 19.20 percent in 2017.
Now, authorities say the new unit will ensure a greater participation of girls in the education system and take other steps like guaranteeing that the syllabus remains free of bias. At a panel discussion on Sunday, Sindh Education Minister Jam Mehtab Dahar, Oxfam chair-designate Caroline Thomson and IRC Executive Director Sadiqa Salahuddin told attendants that the unit will endeavour to promote gender equality in schools.
Incentives for increasing enrolment of girls in public schools including stipends, the panellists said, adding that the government had allocated Rs 1.5 billion for 275,000 female students in 2015-16 and 280,000 female students for 2016-17.
Education Minister Jam Dahar said the Sindh government was focused on increasing girls’ enrolment in schools. During the discussion, Thomson said poverty and inequality affected girls and women the most. “Without educating women we will not have advancement in our communities. We need to have role models for female students in the form of teachers who they can look up to and who encourage them to continue their education,” she said, according to a news report.
The 2016 Global Education Monitoring Report estimated that approximately 5.6 million primary-aged children remained out of schools across Pakistan.