Flood resilient education system sought for flood-hit student

ISLAMABAD       -       Stakeholders at a policy discussion session have stressed the need to taking immediate measures to recover the loss of learning during floods and develop a flood-resilient education system in order to prevent disruption to education in such calamities.

The policy discussion was arranged on the sidelines of the launch of a report on the postfloods education situation in Pakistan, “Towards a Resilient Education Recovery from Pakistan’s Floods - Rapid Response Research,” published by Pakistan Coalition for Education (PCE) in collaboration with Education Champion Network (ECN). The PCE held the policy discussion in collaboration with the Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training (MOFEPT), Malala Fund, and ECN. Representatives from the World Bank, JICA, FCDO, International Rescue Committee (IRC), UNICEF, and the UNDP participated in the policy roundtable.

The report highlighted several issues in the education response in flood-affected areas. These include a lack of emergency response planning within the education system and a lack of focus on widespread learning poverty among students.

It also calls for rigorous coordination between the district, federal and provincial governments for recovering learning losses and enhancing the educational infrastructure in Pakistan. Speaking on the occasion, Waseem Ajmal, Additional Secretary Education, said, 3.6 million children were affected and over 34,000 schools were damaged during last year’s floods. All education departments, including the education ministry are now working to ensure education continues for those children affected by the floods.

“Several districts across Pakistan that were affected by last year’s catastrophic floods are the same as where massive flooding occurred in 2010 and 2011. However, there is no evidence to suggest that any meaningful measures were taken during the decade between these two calamities to protect against disruption in children’s education during times of emergency,” Executive Director PCE Zehra Arshad expressed. In his remarks, Programme Director Malala Fund Pakistan office, Javed Malik, said that to structure an effective response to educational needs, this important report asks for using rapid response mechanisms like a public-private partnership to help build schools at a faster pace.

The author of the report Dr Moizza Binat Sarwar said that merely constructing buildings has had no significant impact on curtailing school drop-outs or improving learning outcomes as we need to focus on education for both boys as girls equally. The author also highlighted the lack of focus on rebuilding shock-resilient infrastructure that can survive the onset of another natural calamity. During an interactive discussion participants highlighted the need to address long-term learning losses, and the importance of standardising Temporary Learning Centres (TLCs) that had been set up in several flood-hit areas.

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