Govt plans to bring out-of-school children back to school, claims Syed Sardar Ali Shah 

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KARACHI: Minister of Education and Culture, Sindh, Syed Sardar Ali Shah has said that the identification of issues and formulation of policies require a data mechanism. Unfortunately, due to the absence of an effective data system, we face many difficulties in understanding problems and finding their solutions. Building accurate policies based on correct data can be helpful. He expressed these views during the unveiling ceremony of the “Student Census” report of private schools organized at the Arts Council of Pakistan, Karachi here on Thursday.

Present at the event were the Secretary of School Education Sindh, Ghulam Akbar Laghari, Special Secretary Ghulam Ali Barhamani, Chief Program Manager R.S.U. Dr. Junaid Samoon, Director Registration Private Institutions Rafia Malah, representatives of Private School Associations, educational experts, teachers, and others. On that occasion, the provincial minister, Syed Sardar Shah, said that that was the first student census conducted by the Education Department of Sindh on private schools’ enrollment.

He emphasized the importance of complete and accurate data, stating that until they had accurate data, they would keep making assumptions and facing wrong perceptions. “With the publication of this report, we now have data to estimate the number of children outside schools in Sindh” he added. He further added that the Sindh government will plan for their re-enrollment. He further highlighted that due to the lack of a data mechanism, many projects get delayed.

He acknowledged that criticism would come with complete data, but they would accept it and try to improve upon it. He also mentioned that the student census led to the suspension of school registrations, which would now resume. The unregistered private schools will also be given a chance to register, and any unregistered school will not be allowed to operate in Sindh.

The Minister of Education, Syed Sardar Shah, unveiled the student census report of private schools, which involved visits to 12,809 private schools, out of which 11,736 were functional, and 1,073 were nonfunctional. There are 10,264 registered schools in Sindh, and 860 schools have applied for registration. Sindh has 31 madrasa schools as well.
According to the survey, 1,247 primary, 553 middle, 2,784 elementary, 6,546 secondary, and 606 higher secondary/A-level schools are operating under private schools. In these private schools, 39,41,938 students are currently enrolled. Among them, 18,04,333 are female students, and 21,37,605 are male students. The survey also revealed that there are 1,66,788 students from minority communities studying in private schools.

Additionally, private schools employ 2,98,938 staff members, including 2,25,158 teaching staff and 73,780 non-teaching employees. There are 1,71,423 female teachers and 53,735 male teachers in private schools.

Secretary of Education, Ghulam Akbar Laghari, addressing the ceremony, emphasized the significance of data science in today’s world, given that digital currency is the most valuable globally. He stressed the need to work more on data mechanisms to move forward along with the times. The student census data for private schools will also be published on the Education Department’s website. Copies of the student census report were distributed among the participants at the end of the event.”

Hanif Samoon is a senior journalist based at Thar/Badin and contributes reports from different districts of Sindh to Minute Mirror. He has won a number of awards, including the Agahi Award twice for his stories on health and child rights. He tweets @HanifSamoon1 and can be reached through email at