100% enrolment in Punjab schools by May 2016: CM

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LAHORE: Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has said that 100 percent enrolment of children in schools of Punjab will be ensured by May 31, 2016, under the enrolment campaign which is aimed at bringing all children of school-going age to schools and reducing dropout rate. Calling it a “big challenge”, the chief minister said that collective efforts were required to accomplish it.
He was addressing the inaugural ceremony of ‘Students Enrolment Campaign 2014’ at his office on Wednesday. Punjab Education Minister Rana Mashhood Ahmed Khan, Mckinsey-Pakistan Country Head Salman Ahmed, elected representatives, officials, Punjab Educational Endowment Fund vice chairman, educationists, teachers, parents and a large number of students were present on the occasion. The CM said that if a mega project like metro bus system could be completed in 11 months, the target of 100 percent enrolment could also be realised by the deadline. Stressing the need to impose “educational emergency” to remove the darkness of ignorance from society, he urged elected representatives to play an active role for the success of the enrolment campaign. He said that assembly members achieving the target of 100 percent enrolment in their respective districts would be encouraged. The chief minister said that only literacy could help eliminate poverty and unemployment besides helping in achieving progress and prosperity. He said that the education sector was badly neglected in the past and huge losses were caused to the country in the form of wastage of time and resources. He said that tireless and strenuous efforts were needed to make up this loss and practical measures would have to be taken to achieve such targets. He said that the country was facing terrorism, corruption, nepotism and a number of other challenges but that education was the only solution to all such problems. 
He said that 65 percent of Pakistani population was living in rural areas and there was a need to equip the rural population with education to achieve the goals of progress and development. 
Chief Minister Shahbaz said that a solid strategy had been adopted in the province to promote literacy and billions of rupees were being spent on provision of missing facilities in schools. 
He said that process of provision of missing facilities in all primary schools for girls in the province would be completed in 2014. He said that a realistic policy had been adopted to ensure availability of teachers commensurate with the number of students in any school. He said that teachers deserved all respect and solution of their genuine problems and difficulties was responsibility of the government. However, he said, teachers should also give preference to teaching in schools of rural areas instead of schools of urban areas in the interest of students of far-flung areas. He said that gulf between the rich and the poor was very dangerous and that there was a need to remove this social disparity at the earliest. 

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