ISLAMABAD - Educationists and experts have stressed on rehabilitating and rebuilding the education infrastructure destroyed in the recent floods to minimize the learning losses. 

They were addressing during a cross-sectoral virtual conversation titled “Defending Education Against Climate Change”, organized by the STEAM Policy Unit of Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training here Friday. 

Strong public-private partnership models, development and implementation of a comprehensive remedial and accelerated learning program, and international commitment to rebuild the destroyed educational infrastructure on war footing were some of the solutions put forward by the experts to ensure nimble access to education for the displaced children.

“From our conversations with the Punjab Education Department, we came to know that it takes around Rs12 million to rebuild one school. This means we need a whopping Rs. 216 billion to rebuild 18,000 schools destroyed in the recent floods,” said senior education expert Javed Ahmed Malik.

Focusing on the infrastructural damages and the looming specter of learning losses, international Education Activist, Moiz Hussain shared, “From the initial reports, over 3.5 million children have been affected by the floods. 

Head of the STEAM Policy Unit, Salman Naveed Khan pointed out that the process was often considerably slow and even staggered. “The reconstruction of the last lot of schools destroyed in the 2005 earthquake was completed only last year in 2021. If we take this as a benchmark, it will take us 16 to 17 years to rebuild the 18,000 schools which were destroyed in the recent floods.”

The situation of girls during this time of crisis is especially vulnerable. With millions displaced and left shelterless, girls’ return to education, it is feared might be compromised in favour of early marriages and child labour. “If we don’t act swiftly, girls, as always, will have far bleaker chances of ever resuming education than boys in the aftermath of this disaster,” shared senior Gender and Climate Change Specialist, Afia Salam.