Showing posts with label Global Action Week. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Global Action Week. Show all posts

Monday, May 25, 2015

FRHD bring to light issues of street children

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

A consultative dialogue meeting with street children was organized by the Foundation for Research & Human Development (FRHD) at Beach Park, Clifton, Karachi, as a part of the Global Action Week: Education for All programme.

A group of 25 street children, representatives of civil society, school children and teachers participated in the event. The aim of meeting was to urge the state took serious measures to provide shelter, health and education them accordingly existing domestic laws. 

The literacy rates among children working and living on the streets is very low during the consultative dialogue street children group shared that poverty, corporal punishment and forced begging were some of the major reasons children working on the streets have dropped out of school. 

The majority of vulnerable children disclosed that they had left school because of their family's economic status. Incidences of corporal punishment, violent behavior of peers and others also played their part in expediting dropouts from schools. 

Upon inquiry, they stated that neither did they want to enroll in school nor would their families ever let them, given the fact that they believed earning on the streets trumped educating a child. The FRHD estimates 1.5 million children on the streets of Pakistan's major cities with poverty, unemployment and other economic issues and floods of 2010 and 2011 having contributed increasing number of street children in the country. 

“A study on street children revealed that 56.5% of the children interviewed in Multan, 82.2% in Karachi, 80.5% in Hyderabad and 83.3% in Sukkur were forced to move on to the streets after the 2010 and 2011 floods. According to UNODC, 72% of the working children do not have contact with their families and 10% have no knowledge of their families,” Nazra Jahan, Executive Director, FRHD, revealed. 

She reminded that the laws prevailing to address the issues, the Sindh Children Act 1955, make the state responsible for providing custody and protection to children whilst also punishing parents and guardians who will fully neglects and abuse children. 

“The Sindh Child Protection Authority Act 2011 entailed specific provisions for child protection in the province of Sindh under the authority formed. It shall have powers to coordinate, monitor, support and establish mechanisms for all child protection issues in the province. The Sindh Right of Children to Free & Compulsory Education Act 2013 protected the right to education of every child aged 5 to 16 years,” Nazra Jahan added. 

The FRHD official felt that instead of overburdening in the sense of introducing legislation, the state should take measures to implement the existing laws for protecting the human rights, it’s a very essential obligation. 

The Programme officer Devcon, Shafiq Kandro, observed that the street children in Pakistan form a very young age group, some being no older than four years of age, and are engaged in menial jobs that do not require vocational training. 

“Moreover, these jobs offer no opportunities for advancement or improved lifestyles in the future. Many survive by prostituting themselves, stealing or smuggling and are vulnerable to a number of diseases including STDs and health ailments that are a direct result of their occupations and unsanitary conditions of workplaces,” she concluded.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

FRHD to highlight educational issues in Global Action Week

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The Foundation for Research & Human Development (FRHD), as part of the Global Action Week (GAW), will organize a walk from the Scouts Headquarter to the Karachi Press Club on April 29 while a delegation, comprising of children, will meet the Sindh Education Minister, Nisar Ahmed Khoro, on April 30. 

Members of the civil society will be joining the children to convey a loud message to the policy makers, legislators and others implementing agencies about realization of the educational goals. 

Education is human rights, a public, good and a state responsibility.Pakistan remains obliged under various national and international commitments to provide quality education to children irrespective of their gender, class or religion. 

At the forefront of these declarations is the Dakar Framework of Action, signed by 163 other countries in April 2000 and the world’s leaders made a series of promises intended to guarantee education for all by 2015. 

The EFA goals consist of six broad objectives which include: provision of early childhood care and education, provision of primary and secondary education, improvement in adult and youth literacy rates, provision of vocational and technical education, eradicating gender discrimination and enhancing the overall quality of education. Pakistan’s progress towards achieving the goals have been slow to say the least. 

The education system of the country is emasculated by an inadequate number of teachers, insufficient infrastructure, lack of funds for the education sector and a constant threat of conflict, especially in FATA and parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan. According to the latest ASER 2014 report, approximately 61% of children aged 3-5 years in rural areas and 42% in urban areas are out of school. 

This is an alarming figure given the fact that most of the children who do enter school either drop out or do not progress further on thereby increasing the number of out of school children. There is a dire need for an intervention whereby the provincial governments formulate laws that will ensure that early childhood education is made mandatory and out of school children are brought back into school. 

A positive shift was seen in the budget of 2014-2015 wherein all provinces doubled the amount of funds given to their respective education departments; focusing more on infrastructural development, enrollment and retention of students. Yet more needs to be done, particularly concerning the implementation of Article 25-A of the Constitution. 

The year 2015 presents education activists with a crucial opportunity to demand the realization of the right to education for all, and to set the direction of education for another generation. This year, the world will agree new frameworks for education and for sustainable development more broadly that will help set the tone and the focus for government policy and action from now until 2030. 

As governments prepare to make this new set of promises, it is critical that civil society has a say in what is being promised, ensuring that these commitments respond to the rights, the needs and the priorities of citizens. For these reasons, the GCE members and allies will be campaigning throughout 2015 during Global Action Week (GAW).