Campaign for Universal Primary Education in Chitral
Chitral— There were 115 million children of school age worldwide who did not go to school as per estimates of 2001. According to Action Aid, Universal Primary Education would cost 10 billion US dollars a year which, according to another source, is less than what US tobacco industries spend on just the marketing of cigarette and smokeless tobacco in a year.
According to World Bank, between 2002 and 2005, number of out-of-school children of primary school age in the South Asia region declined from about 43 to 26 million—in Pakistan the number decreased about two million during that period. Currently there are about 75 million children who do not have access to primary school. UNICEF, in its millennium goals, aims to ‘Ensure that all boys and girls complete a full course of primary schooling’ by 2015.
However UNICEF claims that at the pace of the current progress 56 million children still would be out of school by 2015 and that is what concerns the world. This realization goes as far as to the remote region of Chitral where people step in for Universal Primary Education advocacy.
The community of Chitral, a remote region in Pakistan, feels this pain and organizes advocacy campaigns for elementary school enrolment.
All Primary Teachers Association (APTA), Chitral, mobilizes students and institutions to step up and help increase the primary school enrolment in the regionl.
An advocacy walk titled as ‘Universal Primary School Enrolment’ was organized here in Chitral where scores of people expressed their concern on the issue. The walk led by President APTA marched through bazars and people were holding banners inscribed with appeals to parents to enrol their children in the primary schools. The walk ended at Government Primary School Chitral where it converted into a prompt assemblage.
Executive Magistrate Chitral, Ziaur Rehman was the chief guest and Mr. Muhammad Afzal, General Manager of National Commission for Human Development chaired the programme.
Several people including primary teachers and students addressed the gathering, stressing upon the fact that primary school enrolment and drop-out ratio is alarmingly high in Chitral. Parents normally hesitate to send their kids to government schools for the fact that the schools are under no proper check and balance.
Speakers admitted that there is no system of checks and balances in the inexpensive government schools and parents cannot afford to send their children to the private schools. However, speakers urged public to send their kids to government schools as the government schools have qualified and trained teachers.
The advocacy walk and function was attended by a large number of public.