Pakistan's first school for labourers opens

Pakistan’s First 'Labour School' has been launched and this is the one real good news on this Labour Day.

Rohayl Varind started slum school as an effort to win war against poverty that turned out to be a successful attempt to educate slum children, who never get the time for education and cannot afford school fee. So the first Solar Night School became a source of studying for the slum children, after which he launched another project named 'Pakistan’s First Solar School Bag Project' through which he gave solar school bags to slum children to study back in their houses. The bags were not just school bags but were also a source of light for the whole household at night. Now, he has started another project with the name of 'Labour School' through which he is trying to educate illiterate adult labor as well. 

The purpose behind this is to change the mindset of the poor people of this country and to make them realize that age is just a number. Education is the right of every individual and it should be accessible to them.

The adults studying in this school mainly consist of the families (parents, elder siblings and relatives) of slum children. They are those people who took interest in reading and writing when they saw their children studying in school but because they believed that their age to acquire education has passed, they took it as a hindrance in their monotonous earning routines. They preferred earning over learning as for them it was not what they needed.

According to Rohayl, when he recently brought his laptop to the school, the adults became very curious about learning this new thing. Living in slums, they had never seen anything like that before. They felt it was easier, more interesting and entertaining to read and write on a laptop than to follow conventional method of reading and writing on notebooks. Also, their children used to make fun of their elders when they saw their parents/elders writing on notebook with a pencil. So he came up with this idea to educate elders with the help of laptops and when they will learn enough, they will be able to write on paper as well. In this way, at least they will be able to read and write and most importantly become better individuals. 

“I want to see them educated so that they can get better job and can lead better lives rather than working as labour and living in slums,” says Rohayl.

In Pakistan, there are very few institutes where the adult dropouts can get education even at their respective ages. This paucity, too, is responsible for their illiteracy for rest of their lives. “Currently, there are six female students and four male students as it is extremely difficult to motivate adults to get education with work and kids but there are people who are taking interest and soon there will be many students studying here”, he says.

Literacy and educational attainment play a pivotal role not only in labour market outcomes and overall national economic development but also in transforming the workers into agents of social change. Developing the skills and knowledge of the labour force is considered critical by the states who aspire for prosperity and growth of society.
In Pakistan, trade unions, informal labour groups and labour rights activists have not fully connected the rights to education with those at workplace. Advocacy for policy, legislative reforms and ratification of ILO conventions needs to be combined with the fight for universal literacy.

The education of a woman, especially contributes greatly towards the education of her child and even the whole family. The World’s Women 2015 study says nearly two-thirds of the world’s illiterate adults are women, a proportion that has remained stubbornly unchanged for the past 20 years. Among 781 million adults over the age of 15 estimated to be illiterate, 496 million were women. Women make up more than half the illiterate population in all regions of the world. Therefore, this is high time that they should be educated properly so that they can pass it on to their future generations. 

Though over the time, literacy rate has improved globally but we need to improve it in Pakistan as well, through such small efforts.

Moreover, the older people who miss education at a younger age do not get the support they need in later life to improve their lives but now according to the founder Rohayl Varind, Labour School will fill this gap.

So now, the poor, uneducated elders will also be able to get education and that too without any social discrimination. All what's needed is the will to educate oneself.

The writer is a Media Graduate and a Broadcast Journalist by profession. She has a keen interest in reading, storytelling, writing and possesses a critical view of the various dilemmas of Pakistani society, especially those concerned with the oppression of women. Follow her on Twitter.

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