PESHAWAR: The Directorate of Education Fata could not enrol 150,000 children in primary schools across the tribal region during two months long enrolment campaign that ended on May 31.
“The directorate had set a target to enrol 150,000 out-of-school children, but only 42,000 toddlers were registered during the drive,” said an official. He admitted that the directorate failed to achieve the desired results.
The mass enrolment drive was launched at a ceremony held at the Governor’s House, Peshawar in the first week of April. Governor Iqbal Zafar Jhagra had kicked off the drive to bring around 400,000 out-of-school children to primary schools during the next three years in the militancy-stricken region of the country.
The authorities organised walks and seminars in all seven agencies and six frontiers regions (FRs) to persuade parents to send their children to schools. However, that targeted children could not be enrolled.
In the first phase of the drive, the directorate had planned to enrol 150,000 children in primary schools. Education emergency has already been declared in Fata to enhance literacy rate up to 100 per cent.
Citing reason for failure of the drive, the official said that strike by teachers in Fata was major factor that badly affected the campaign. He said that teachers went on strike when the directorate launched the campaign. Thousands of schools were closed when more than 20,000 teachers, demanding upgradation, went on strike on April 20.
“The directorate has planned to launch the drive from the next academic year in Fata,” said the official.
He said that Khyber Agency remained on the top where highest number of children was enrolled during the campaign and the lowest number of children was registered in Mohmand Agency.
Education sector, which was already in bad shape, has further deteriorated due to decade long militancy and insecurity. Militants had bombed schools and killed teachers. Around 1,500 educational institutions mostly girls’ schools were destroyed in the area.
Literacy rate in the area, according to Fata Development Indicator Household Survey report (2013-2014), is 33.3 per cent which is far less than the national average of 58 per cent.
The survey also indicates big gap between male and female literacy rate in the region. According to the report, male adult literacy rate is 45 per cent and only 7.8 per cent women are literate. Primary level Net Enrolment Rate for both sexes is 52 per cent in Fata compared to 65 per cent in the country.