Bridging educational gap through accelerated implementation programme in erstwhile Fata to address problems like poverty, illiteracy, unemployment

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By Fakhar Alam  

PESHAWAR,Oct 01(APP)- Embarked on a mission to develop erstwhile FATA, the KP Government has made a ten- year phase wise multifaceted development program-Tribal Decade Strategy (TDS 2020-30) to bolster education and health sectors, strengthen roads connectivity and improve overall socioeconomic conditions of the tribal people.

 The ambitious programmes primarily focusing on sustainable economic development, agriculture, forests, water and infrastructure projects would be implemented through Accelerated Development Unit (ADU), Planning and Development Department of Khyber Pakthunkhwa during three phases i.e 2020-23, 2024-27 and 2008-2030 inerstwhile FATA . 

To achieve TDS goals, the Federal and KP governments have joined hands for speedy implementation of Accelerated Implementation Program (AIP) to address the longstanding backwardness of the erstwhile Fata in a time-bound manner besides providing tribesmen with the same political, social, educational and economic opportunities as being enjoyed by people of Pakistan.

 There are nine gigantic education projects with a total outlay of Rs10,692 million focusing on provision of scholarships to tribal students, basic infrastructure’s uplift, engagement of private sector for increasing students’ enrollment, solarization of schools, institutional strengthening and establishment of new educational institutions.

 Rapid enrollment, quality improvement and school governance reform project with proposed allocation of Rs 200 million would help bring around 4,50,000 street children in erstwhile FATA under schools net. 

 The government has decided to encourage private sector to address problems of illiteracy, schools’ inaccessibility, high dropout of students and other educational challenges in merged areas.

For this purpose, Education Voucher Scheme (EVS) withRs120million allocation would be started in 20,000 schools where poor students would be awarded Rs1200 per month scholarship on merit. In addition to launching of new school programme (NEP) worth Rs96 million to facilitate talented students in 200 selected schools to get Rs1000 per month scholarship, the government is all set to launch foundation assisted schools (FAS) project withRs200 million outlay under which about Rs1000 per month merit scholarship would be given to poor students in 200 selected schools. Likewise, IT labs would be established in 200 schools costing Rs180 million besides Rs 200millionon establishment of science labs in 200 schools and Rs300 million for early childhood education programme in 1000 schools. Four new degree colleges including two for girls in Orakzai and one each for girls and boys in Wana South Waziristan at a cost of Rs250 million would be constructed. A public university would be set up in North Wazirisan on which practical work would soon start after completion of its feasibility studies with an estimated cost of Rs125million. 

The KP government has decided to set up an Education City on 1000 kanal at Pir Kalay Topi in North Waziristan under AIP with an estimated cost of Rs1.5 billion under which reputed private universities would be invited to set up their campuses besides establishment of a medical college, teaching hospital, agriculture university and sports complex. Imran Khan, Senior Planning Officer, Elementary and Secondary Education Department told APP that development work under AIP has been started in merged areas where 21higher secondary schools would be converted into ‘Schools of Excellence’. In line with the PM Quick Impact Programme, he said work on reconstruction and rehabilitation on about 576 damaged educational institutions including primary, high and higher secondary’s schools was under process in erstwhile FATA. He said around 336militancy affected schools with capacity of over 13,000 students were rebuilt in merged areas and around 2500 tribal students were enrolled in top cadet colleges of Pakistan.

 Education Department of the Merged Areas Spokesman told APP that model schools in all tribal districts including FC Public School Khar Bajaur, Education Complex Painda, middle school Kankot South Wazirsistan, FC Public School Darosh and Boni in Chitral and middle school at Ghazi Baig were completed, adding practical work on Cadet College Mohmand would soon commence. The quota fortribal students has been doubled for a period of 10 years and now a total of444 students against earlier 222 students, would be able to get admission in top public universities of Pakistan. Ziaullah Bangash,Adviser to the Chief Minister KP for Education said the PTI government was making solid efforts to ensure availability of all basic facilities inside schools to tribal students. He said AIP program has been developed as per vision of Prime Minister to provide quality education to all students of merged areas. The adviser said these momentous steps would help bridge education divide besides alleviating poverty, address problem of illiteracy, unemployment and improve socioeconomic conditions of tribesmen.