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Pakistan has the second-highest number of out-of-school children in the world.

 Karachi:  The Citizens Foundation (TCF) and Mishal Pakistan signed a memorandum of understanding to create awareness among general public about out of school children through print, electronic and online mediums. Through this collaboration, TCF and Mishal committed to enhance quality reporting on out of school children by building capacity of journalists reporting on Education and Social Development related issues. Mishal and TCF will jointly develop a capacity building initiative by engaging senior journalists on multiple forums across the country.

Both TCF and Mishal aim to identify and mainstream the issue of out-of-school children among general public through media. The organizations have joined hands to conduct training sessions with senior journalists in Islamabad, Lahore, Peshawar, Karachi and Quetta. The purpose is to design strategic media trainings that provides data-sets for journalists to report on the issue with evidence-based journalism.

This collaboration will complement the efforts of TCF to implement changes in education system that are necessary to bring children into school, and to achieve the unanimous goal of keeping children in schools. Mishal Pakistan will also create special category at the AGAHI Awards 2019, Pakistan’s most sought after journalism recognition to include “the Reporter of the Year Award, Reporting on Out of School Children”.

Gaps in service provision at all education levels is a major constraint to education access.  Socio-cultural demand-side barriers combined with economic factors and supply-related issues, such as availability of adequate and standardized school facilities, together hamper access and retention of certain marginalized groups, in particular adolescent girls.

Isfandyar Inayat, General Manager, TCF said, Economic development of a nation is closely related to the development of its human resources. Our partnership with Mishal Pakistan aims to spotlight Pakistan’s education crisis that is affecting the ability of our children to equip themselves with the skills and knowledge needed for effective participation and contribution to our national development. We are thankful to Mishal Pakistan for stepping up to help us in this cause.

Speaking on the occasion Amir Jahangir, CEO of Mishal Pakistan said, Education is the right of every child as envisioned in the Constitution of Pakistan Article 25-A which premises that the state shall provide free and compulsory education to children of age 5 to 16 years.  However, its provision falls well below an adequate standard. Through this initiative both the organizations want to bring public policy focus on the Right to Education by raising awareness on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 4 and SDG5).

According to an estimation by UNICEF, Pakistan has the second-highest number of out-of-school children in the world. Around 22.8 million children between the age of 5 and 16, 44 percent of the total population of this age group, are not in schools.

The Citizens Foundation (TCF) is a professionally managed, non-profit organization set up in 1995 by a group of citizens who wanted to bring about positive social change through education. 24 years later, TCF is now one of Pakistan’s leading organizations in the field of education for the less privileged. TCF has a long history of working in partnership with the private sector to find new and innovative solutions to provide education to the less privileged children of Pakistan. TCF is a non-profit organization, which believes education is the right of every child and not a privilege for the affluent. Established in 1996, TCF has been providing affordable quality primary and secondary education to the impoverished children living in rural areas and urban slums across Pakistan. Current enrolment is 252,000 children from low-income families, through 1567 school units. TCF is also the winner of the Schwab Foundation’s Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award for 2015 at the World Economic Forum (WEF).

Published in The Balochistan Point on August 22, 2019


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