RAMZAN CHANDIO KARACH The annual report about the status of education in Sindh has painted a worrisome picture of learning outcome of school-going (3-16 years) age children assessed in six districts (rural parts) of Sindh. However, the government authorities, ministers and officials attributed the ill-planning in establishing of schools as well as lack of good governance, politicisation of education and lack of accountability were the major reasons behind deterioration of education system in Sindh. The ASER Sindh (Rural) 2010 sample survey was conducted as part of ASER-Pakistan 2010 by the South Asia Forum for Education Development (SAFED), managed by Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi (ITA) in collaboration with the National Commission for Human Development (NCHD), UNESCO, Foundation Open Society Institute (FOSI) and Sindh Edu Foundation (SEF). The survey findings were divulged by the South Asia Forum for Education Development (SAFED) coordinator Baela Raza Jamil at the launching of ASER Sindh (Rural) 2010 Report at Auditorium, IBA City Campus, Garden Road, Karachi, on Thursday, which painted a worrisome picture of learning outcomes of school-going (3-16 years) age children assessed in six districts (rural parts) of Sindh, explaining that as high as 67 per cent children cannot read sentences in Urdu or Sindhi, 66.5 per cent children cannot read sentences in English and 73pc children cannot do 2-digit subtraction sums with carry. Speaking at the ceremony as chief guest, Senior Minister for Education Department Pir Mazhar Ul Haq admitted the deterioration of education system in the province, holding responsible to devolution of powers introduced by dictator Musharraf. Dr Kaisar Bengali, Advisor to Chief Minister on Planning and Development, said that after 1983, a large number of schools was opened without planning and need basis on political basis in Sindh. The issue is not the demand for education facilities but lack of quality education in the province, he said, adding that the provincial government spends Rs60 to Rs70 billion recurring expenditures on education annually but result is zero. He pointed out that now provincial government has decided to establish about 15000 campuses schools, where education from class one to class ten will be provided, besides proposed schools to be provided all the basic facilities. Besides, the government has taken a decision to authorise the head of schools, Principals for posting of teachers on their recommendation, making them accountable of quality of education in their schools, Bengali disclosed. He added that they have two types of education system, one for privileged class and the other is for the poor section of society. The carelessness of privileged class is also key factor of deterioration of education, he concluded. The Chief of IBA and former Governor State Bank Dr Ishrat recalled his tenure as planning secretary in Sindh and said that the state of education as well as gap of education facilities in rural and urban Sindh was poor in 1970, which also not shrinking this year. He stressed the decentralization of education at lower level. Provincial Secretary of Education Dept Naheed S. Durrani lack of governance, management and politics are the main reason behind deterioration of education in Sindh province. Meanwhile, SAFED coordinator Baela Raza Jamil sharing data of report said the class-wise learning ability of assessed students showed even more gloomy picture because at least 63 per cent Class-III students could not read Grade-I level Urdu/Sindhi text sentences, whopping 74.7pc children could not read English words, while of those enrolled in Class-IV, 62.5pc students just failed to do simple subtraction sums. Jamil said that the survey was conducted in 3,553 households and 165 schools including 17 private schools in 180 randomly selected villages in six districts of Sindh (rural). The selected villages were in Ghotki, Khairpur, Mirpurkhas, Mithi, Sukkur and Umerkot districts. The survey of children in households showed that 30 per cent of them were enrolled in public sector schools, while 47 per cent were studying in private schools. The data-trend of out-of-school childrens reading ability emerged as different from other provinces because they did not show encouraging learning abilities.