With the new educational year approaching, the authorities in Islamabad are hoping to see about 1,100 new faces in the schools this year.
While this is just a fraction of the 27,300 out of school kids mentioned in a third-party survey of Islamabad, it is still a promising start.
Education Minister Shafqat Mehmood, soon after he took charge, kickstarted a campaign to survey the out-of-school children along with an enrollment campaign in the federal capital.
The education ministry conducted the survey through an autonomous organization, the Academy of Educational Planning and Management (AEPM). The survey revealed that nearly 27,300 children in Islamabad were not enrolled in any educational institutions.
Furthermore, another survey by the Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) found that 11,000 out-of-school children belong to the six sectors of Islamabad including Urban-1 and Urban-2, Sihala, Nilor, Bara Kahu, and Tarnol.
The data was sent to the related federal schools while the directorate traced the whereabouts of the remaining 26,000 children.
Nevertheless, 1,100 of the identified children were enrolled in the first phase of the drive. These children included three whose forms were signed off personally by the education minister.
Now that the survey is complete, the enrollment drive has practically started. The three students enrolled by the minister are appointed as the ambassadors of the campaign.
These 1,100 children will receive free lunches, whereas, their parents will be given special sessions for awareness regarding the importance of education. These kids will receive free bags and uniforms as well.
Under the new enrollment campaign, admissions of over 2,000 children have been executed in just the first three days. Senior school officials have been tasked to enroll children in areas adjacent to their schools.
Furthermore, Education Foundation Chairman Zafar Qadir said that they are working on ways to attract and keep the children in schools to reduce the dropout rate.