The Alif Ailaan Taleemi Karavan makes its first stop
August 26, 2013
The Alif Ailaan Taleemi Karavan set out from Islamabad today to drive 1,578 km through 14 districts of the Punjab. The caravan made its first stop in Dina where an inaugural press conference was held to welcome the travellers.
“We appreciate Alif Ailaan’s initiative to spread the word about every Pakistani child’s right to a free education and the importance of putting all our children in school,” said Mehr Fayyaz, MPA, PML(N). “According to the Education Department there are 3,400 children out of school in Jhelum and PML(N) will do whatever it takes to get them in school.”
The MPA highlighted the uneven distribution of school facilities and promised to implement Article 25-A in his constituency. He said that if the education emergency in Pakistan is to be tackled in a meaningful way, then at least 10 per cent of GDP will need to be allocated to education.
More than 250 members of the local Bar Council and Press Club, civil society organisation, parents, teachers and students participated in a walk held shortly after the conference. The participants pledged their support to end Pakistan’s education emergency and to make the Punjab government’s enrolment drive a success.
Alif Ailaan, a campaign that seeks to put education at the front and centre of public discourse in Pakistan, is working to increase enrolment in the Punjab. The mid-year enrolment drive announced by the provincial government is an important initiative by Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and is an example of the kinds of measures needed to end Pakistan’s education emergency.
The Alif Ailaan Taleemi Karavan, a convoy of five decorated vehicles will drive to the districts of Rawalpindi, Jhelum, Gujranwala, Lahore, Okara, Chiniot, Faisalabad, Jhang, Muzaffargarh, Multan, Dera Ghazi Khan, Rajanpur, Rahim Yar Khan, Bahawalpur before returning to Islamabad. The Taleemi Karavan will stop in key towns and cities along the GT Road, where Alif Ailaan partners and network coordinators will engage with parents, children, teachers, lawyers, journalists, local politicians and community notables.
“The mid-year enrolment season must not be missed because it allows children to be enrolled who may otherwise not be brought into the education system,” said Hannan Abbasi, President, National Youth Assembly. “We are on a mission to not only create awareness about education but actually provide parents with a step by step guide to enrolment to get more children into school.”
This year more than 2.7 million children in the Punjab will turn 5. Of these children, close to 1 million will never go to school. What’s worse, nearly half of all children who are currently enrolled will drop out within the next five years, failing even to complete primary school.
Currently net enrolment in the Punjab stands at 64 per cent. At this rate it will be 2041 before every child in the province is in school. Pakistan faces an education emergency. The time to end it is now.
Urdu press release is available. Please contact Bisma Akbar, Media Manager, Alif Ailaan at firstname.lastname@example.org