By: MOHAMMAD ASHFAQ
PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government will soon start paying monthly stipends to girl students of primary schools in seven districts, having low enrolment, to reduce gender and regional imbalances, according to officials.
They said that each girl would be paid Rs200 per month for getting education at government primary school in the respective district. They said that government had already been paying such stipends to girl students of grade-VI and onwards across the province for the last few years to promote female education.
The seven districts, selected for paying stipends on the basis of low net enrollment ratio include Peshawar, Hangu, Bannu, Lakki Marwat, Dera Ismail Khan, Shangla and Nowshera.
According to the data of the elementary and secondary education department, Hangu has been placed on top in the low net enrollment ratio with 21 per cent followed by Peshawar with 28 per cent.
Similarly, the net enrollment ratio in Bannu is 31 per cent, Lakki Marwat 34 per cent, D.I. Khan 34, Shangla 36 and Nowshera 36 per cent. The provincial government has reflected Rs100 million in the budget for 2013-14 for the implementation of this new initiative titled “Provision of stipends for girl students at primary level in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa”.
Officials said that financial support in the shape of monthly stipends would encourage maximum girls to take admissions in the government primary schools as well as develop their interest in getting education.
It would also help to reduce the dropout rate, increase enrollment and remove the gender disparity in the selected districts, officials said. They added that the amount would be provided for academic year (nine months). Officials said that girl students with at least 80 per cent attendance in a month would be eligible for the stipends. Indicators for monitoring and evaluation of the initiative included decreasing the absenteeism of students, reducing dropout rate, increasing enrolment and retention improving, they said.
Asked about the implementation mechanism, officials said that the project would be executed through the existing arrangement of Provision of Free Textbooks Project (PFTP) of elementary and secondary education department.
The data of the enrolled students from the girls primary schools would be collected through assistant sub-divisional education officers (female) of the selected seven districts, they said.
The monitoring assistants of the independent data collection unit, which is in pipeline, would monitor, verify and validate the project.
For this purpose, the provincial coordinator of PFTP would open a joint account for disbursement of stipends to the students. The funds will be disbursed through district education offices and parent teacher councils, established at school level.
The concept was already approved, officials said, adding that education department was doing correspondence with the finance department in that regard and hopefully the fund would be released soon.
The district education offices have been tasked to collect data of the enrolled students and their consolidation by mid of November.
Presently the number of girl students enrolled in the government primary schools in Hangu is 12,304, in Peshawar 102,705, in Bannu 34,628, in Lakki Marwat 29,139, in D.I. Khan 50,170, in Shangla 24,432 and in Nowshera 52,881.