Lahore: A foundation has established five schools for street children in a bid to transform them into responsible and productive citizens.
Two “Mauqa Schools” and a vocational training centre have been established in Farash Town while two have been set up in Junejo Quarters, Tarlai, to serve street kids, said Dr Naeem Ghani, Chairman of the Sultana Foundation.
Talking to a group of journalists, he said that on-site education would give us flexibility to support school-less children whose number has crossed 25 million in Pakistan.
Getting millions of such children into schools is one of the big challenges, as many impoverished parents who rely on their income see no point in education, he said.
Some poor parents are so focused on getting enough money to survive that the value of education falls which is unfortunate, he added.
However, he said, we have started teaching poor parents that education will eventually translate into a better life; we are encouraged as some minds are changing.
Dr Naeem Ghani informed that educational counsellors have been trained to deal with these unschooled children as some of them don’t know how to hold a pencil properly.
Many steps taken for improving education has all been cosmetic as nothing has really changed on the ground, the veteran educationist said.
Rising population and depressing socio-economic conditions have increased the number of youth which could drive economic development or become a disaster for society and country, he warned.
He said that India has a literacy rate of 65 per cent, China’s literacy rate is 91 per cent while we are lagging behind with thirty seven per cent of the total population below 14 years of age while half of these children have never attended any school.
Project Director Brig. (retd) Muhammad Amjad said that we are conducting surveys in different localities and establishing schools for neglected children with the help of local communities.
We must stop vulnerable children from growing into seasoned criminals, drug addicts or fall prey to militant ideology, said Vice Chairman Academics Engr. Aziz Ghani.
He said that recently inaugurated Justice Yousaf Saraf Centre for Research and Rehabilitation would serve as secretariat for the project.