Only education can defeat terrorism, says CM Qaim

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Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah has said that education in the only weapn through which an effective war could be engaged against terrorism Presiding over a meeting of World Bank-assisted Sindh Global Partnership for Education (SGPE) programme at the Chief Minister’s House on Monday, he said, “I would not allow any body to compromise on merit. He directed the officials of the Education Department not to compromise merit.

The meeting was attended by Senior Minister Nisar Khuhro, Chief Secretary Siddique Memon, CM’s Secretary Iqbal Durani, Education Secretary Fazalullah Pechuho, Finance Secretary Sohail Rajput and others.

The chief minister said that there were reports that over 3,000 schools were still closed in the province. However, Nisar Khuhro said that there were 1,100 non-viable schools in the province, which cannot be allowed to function. “During the tenure of General Musharraf the nazims had constructed these schools unnecessarily. In a village of 200 population four to five schools have been constructed,” he explained.

The chief minister directed the chief secretary to present a detailed list of these 1,100 non-viable school buildings so that they could be used for other purposes. “The list may be provided with necessary recommendations,” he directed.

The education secretary informed the chief minister 2,500 schools in the province are still closed due to shortage of teaching staff. “We would start recruitment once the ban is lifted,” he said, adding when Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah took over for his second term, 8,000 schools were closed. “With the constant efforts of the government most of the closed schools have been made functional and still 2,500 are to be made operational,” he added.

The chief minister pointed out that most of the schools were over staffed; therefore rationalisation of the staff should be made in such a way so that extra staff members of one school could be sent to the closed schools to make them operational. He directed Education Minister Eduaction Nisar Khuhro to personally supervise the rationalisation process.

Talking about SGPE programme, Education Secretary Fazllullah Pechuho said that it was a $66 million World Bank funded project for which the bank has released $22 million. The objective of the programme is to establish a monitoring structure that improves performance, transparency of government-run schools. He said that one of the components of the project is to establish Sindh School Monitoring System. It is designed and put in place to collect, analyse and disseminate data on key school level indicators, including student enrolment and teachers presence.

The secretary said that the data would be collected on monthly basis and collection would be carried out by independent monitors. By June 30, four monthly reports would be generated, he told the meeting.

Senior Minister for Education Nisar Khuhro said that 225 monitoring assistants or what they can be said supervisors have been selected through IBA test, as was directed by the chief minister. There would be 29 junior clerks, and 11 data processing operators and others.

The chief minister directed the Education Department to run the monitoring system effectively. “The purpose is to put in place a proper education system in which every one, including teachers, students and play their respective responsibility,” he said, adding under the monitoring system each and everyone has to be responsive.

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