LAHORE: A Round Table Conference titled “Access to Education- Reflections from Practitioners” was held at The Nishat Banquets.
The objective was to discuss the dire education emergency in Pakistan, and to hear from various specialists who are actively working to address this growing concern.
Pakistan has the third highest out of school population in the world with five million children failing to enroll. Despite the increase in access to education, nearly half of Pakistani children drop out of school before the age of 16.
Currently, some 25 million children or one of three have not completed primary education. Girls drop out at twice the rate of boys, lowering female literacy rates in some areas to a mere 8%.
The conference agenda included the showcasing of a short film titled “A for Apple”, which followed the themes of classism and gender bias with regards to education in our society. This was followed by a panel discussion on improving the access to, and quality of education for our youth.
The panel showcased some of the most significant organizations from both the development and government sectors, who are actively engaged in improving the systematic digressions that act as roadblocks for our youth in obtaining quality education.
Riaz Kamlani of The Citizen’s Foundation, Fajer Rabiafrom the Pakistan Alliance for Girls Education, Sehar Saeed of Idara Taleem o Agahi, Ahmed Rajwana from the Punjab Education Sector Reforms Program and Roshaneh Zafar of Kashf Foundation were all present as panelists. The panel was moderated by the renowned writer, theatre director and activist, Mr. Omair Rana.
The session presented the practitioner’s perspective on the programs being run by their organizations to address education disparities and issues, while elucidating best practices from the perspective of girls’ education. The panelists shed light upon the key success factors and challenges for each program, and the models better suited to increasing the enrollment rate of females in schools, and ensuring that they stay for the required periods of time to at least earn a high school diploma. Coupled with this, the panel engaged in discussions regarding experiences relevant to their organizations in Pakistan, while looking at ways to scale up access to quality education across the board.