14 November 2019 (Quetta): A seminar was held on Balochistan’s out-of-school children at Boy Scouts hall in Quetta by ALIGHT Pakistan, formerly known as American Refugee Committee. It was also attended by the Secretary for Sports, Environment and Youth Affairs for the government of Balochistan, Muneer Ahmed Badini, along with regional education experts. The seminar highlighted government and development sector organisations such as ALIGHT and JICA’s efforts to enrol disadvantaged, marginalized children in the province. Case studies of formerly OOSC children were presented with the children also in attendance.
ALIGHT, in partnership with Qatar’s Education Above All Foundation’s ‘Educate A Child’ project and the Government of Pakistan, is implementing the nation’s largest intervention for out of school children, bringing one million children of primary school age into schools through the country. Schools in village and community-centered settings provide free, quality primary education. Children are inducted into a fast track learning program and equipped with basic literacy skills
Secretary for Sports, Environment and Youth Affairs for the government of Balochistan, Muneer Ahmed Badini talked about the necessity of education for individual development. ALIGHT’s Deputy Chief of Party, Mr. Zabardast Khan Bangash, noted that Pakistan has the world’s second highest number of out of school children and said that similar seminars are also to be held in other provinces, to be culminated finally in a national-level seminar. Regional education experts noted that
Former OOSC children’s case studies were highlighted at the event, showing the children and their parents’ determination towards improving the quality of their life by investing in an education. A panel discussion talked about existing issues and innovative solutions. Shields were presented to field teams and regional experts for their impact in the challenge to alleviate the province’s out of school children issue.
Pakistan has the second-highest number of OOSC, with at least 5.9 million children under age 9 not attending school. Collaborative efforts of the public, private and development sector as well as philanthropists have been tackling the challenge.