KARACHI - Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah said that the education was top priority of his government and he was happy that the Sindh Education Foundation (SEF) was working on his agenda and he directed them to functionalise 168 closed viable schools.

This he said while presiding over SEF Board of governors’ meeting here at the CM House. “I am looking forward to see your (SEF) school at the Mazar of Lal Shahbaz Qaladar for street children, he added.

Naheed Shah Durrani, MD SEF; briefing the board, stated that the foundation during the last few years has made efforts to supplement the efforts of the School Education and Literacy Determent (SELD).

She added that the foundation has not only expanded the outreach to over 555,943 students through a network of 23,14 schools but also undertaken the quality reforms, including the introduction of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) based teaching and learning in the SEF assisted schools.

Some major milestones as Naheed mentioned including enhancing the post primary school portfolio; Adolescent and Ault learning and training program; undertaking intensive teacher trainings and instituting students’ assessments through third party.

The chief minister appreciated the fact that the foundation has undertaken survey of 941 closed government schools of Thatta, Badin, Jamshoro, Dadu and Sujawal district and has submitted a detailed plan to operationalise 168 of these closed schools which have been found to be viable on the basis of demography and over 35,000 students can have access to education in these remote areas. He also appreciated that a similar survey is being conducted in Mirpurkhas, Tando Mohammad Khan and Tando Allahyar to open the closed schools to get over 25,000 out of school children to be enrolled.

This strategy of identifying and operationalising the closed schools would bring in a large number of children in school. The SEF Board discussed and approved the following:

The partnership with Sindh Rural Support Organisation (SRSO) and the Citizen Education Foundation allowing the SEF to take over the earlier OMV managed schools for the provision of quality education in desert areas of Ghotki, Saleh Pat and Nara on sustained basis.

The introduction of ICT and Science, Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), integrated curriculum in Sindh government and SEF secondary/high schools through the SEF and issued instructions that necessary financing may be secured for such an important intervention.

He agreed with the proposal that the students studying in SEF-assisted and SELD run schools should gradually be acquainted the concepts of ICT-based integrated curriculum.

The school education scholarship programme for award of scholarship to 1,300 meritorious students of the SEF assisted and SELD run schools who had performed well in SEF and government administered assessments for getting post primary (Grade 6 to 12 level) education in the quality institutions like Sukkur IBA University Community Colleges/ public schools across Sindh.

The chief minister approved the budget revised estimated 2017-18 of Rs6.225 billion and estimate budget of Rs9,597,721 million for 2018-19.

He reiterated that education is central to development and in this regard, the foundation has visibly put in commendable efforts. These efforts need to continue in the overall interest of our communities and overall development in the province. The meeting was attended by Minister Education Jam Mehtab Dahar, Chief Secretary Rizwan Memon, Chairman P&D Mohammad Waseem, Principal Secretary to CM Sohail Rajput, MD SEF Naheed Shah, special secretary finance and the non-official members, including Dr Qazi Masood, Dr Muhammad Memon; Hussain Qamar Shah, deputy managing director, directors, Sindh education foundation and others.