In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Budget 2015-16, the PTI government had promised to conduct a survey of out-of-school children across the province, aiming to know about the exact data of the out-of-school children across 25 districts.
In an effort to improve access and quality of education KP government planned various effective measures. The out-of-school survey was to be the first step to analyse that very situation. For this purpose, KP government allocated Rs227 million in Annual Developmental Plan (ADP) 2015-16 and decided to engaged a local firm, Institute of Social and Policy Science (I-SAPS), for provision of technical services for the designing, planning, data analysis and reporting writing of the out-of-school children. However, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Elementary and Secondary Education Department failed to start work on this scheme in 2016. The same scheme once again reflected in 2016-17 ADP and includes it in new schemes. Realistically, only once the survey was completed, the situation analysis would have taken place, suggesting areas where improvements are needed. However, so far incumbent government failed to display the exact figures of out of school children and finalize any report despite of passing two and half years.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Elementary and Secondary Education Minister Muhammad Atif Khan told Truth Tracker, “to know the real figures of out of school children in province we had decided to conduct a survey of out-of-school children.” He admitted that due to some technical reasons the survey not conducted and finalized on time but now it has reached a final stage and very soon it final report will become public.
Atif elaborated that with the help of district education officers, the process has been completed on district level. He said that around 40,000 primary school teachers were engaged as enumerators and per teacher 100 houses were covered. Atif said that 7,500 teacher supervisors were hired while each supervisor covered 500 houses in their respective districts. He said that the data has been collected from all districts for children ages 5 to 17 years. Lastly, he reported that the Institute of Management Science (IMSciences) is compiling the data and would give them final report soon.
Awami National Party (ANP) member in KP Assembly and former KP Education Minister Sardar Hussain Babak commented that the PTI government is limited to making promises while they fail to practically execute them.
Sardar said that not only these but several others promises in the field of education have not seen the light of day. He argued that despite of constructing new school in province, this government has closed upwards 700 mosque schools, which has increased the number of out of school children in province colossally.
The ex-Education Minister told Truth Tracker that this province needs more educational institutes for the promotion of education, however, the PTI government closing the existing schools.
All Primary School Teachers Association (APSTA) Provincial President, Malak Khalid Khan, entailed that for last two years they have been hearing about conducting the research of out of school children but so far no real figures have emerged. He criticised the KP government claims that 0.8 million children were enrolled in government schools every year, but the NGOs findings paints a contradictory picture, showing an annual increase in the number of out of school children.
He suggested that government should take tangible steps in this regards because the local people are blaming teachers for huge number of children out of schools across the province which is clearly not the case.
A government schoolteacher Muhammad Hanif Khan told Truth Tracker that the government hired them for conducting out of school children survey in Mardan district and promised to provide Rs 07 per house. He lamented that while the government have collected data but so far government failed to pay them.
A civil society member and child rights activist Imran Takkar informed Truth Tracker that in the event of the unavailability of government official data on out-of-school children, the NGOs use the their own data. He confirmed that according NGO reports focusing on education, 2.5 million children are out of school in the province.
Imran suggested that it would be fruitful for both government and NGOs to use exact figures of out of school children because different figures are quoted by varied organizations creating a reality gap.
After evaluating the views and comments of the provincial Education Minister, opposition leader and independent individuals, Truth Tracker rules that the PTI government has failed to fulfill it promised for conducting out of school children survey in province.