The Alif Ailaan Taleemi Karavan makes its last stop for the day
Lahore: The Alif Ailaan Taleemi Karavan was warmly received by politicians, civil society organisations, parents and students here today in Lahore. The Karavan set out from Islamabad early this morning to drive 1,578 km through 14 districts of the Punjab, making stops in Jhelum and Gujranwala before arriving at Lahore.
“It is the duty of every politician to be committed to the cause of education,” said Dr. Aliya Aftab, MPA, PML(N). “It is our duty as parents, politicians and citizens to ensure that no child is left out of school.”
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 is critically important 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 to 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.