MINGORA: The Accelerated Learning Programme (ALP) is one of the best initiatives so far experienced to help the primary pass girls continue their education in remote areas of Swat where there are no middle schools, according to education activists.
The ALP school system has been established as part of a pilot project in those areas where there are no opportunities of schooling for girls beyond primary level. The system has been introduced under a project called Institutional Support for Participatory, Inclusive and Responsive Education (INPIRE-II), funded by Reach Out to Asia and implemented by Initiative for Development and Empowerment Axis.
This information was shared in the district education coordination committee meeting, which was attended by officials of the district education department, civil society members and education activists.
“The project focuses on improving access to education for around 1,000 girl students beyond primary level in 34 existing government primary schools,” said IDEA programme manager Ashfaq Rehman.
He said that the girls who completed grade-five or previously dropped out of school, joined the middle and secondary education at the existing primary schools.
“Selected syllabus of grade 6, 7 and 8 will be completed in 18 months (reduced from normal three years),” he said, adding that 74 feeder teachers were also hired for the project.
He said that the parent-teacher committees of the morning shift primary school for managing the ALP classes were also reactivated.
“The local community especially youth has been involved to organise behaviour change campaign motivating the parents for girls’ enrolment, holding recreational/competitive events and taking part in life skill trainings,” he said.
Iffat Nasir, an educationist who was attending the meeting, told this correspondent that majority of the girls did not go to middle or high school after passing primary education either because of unavailability of schools or due to cultural constraints. “In my view, the parents must educate their daughters as education not only teaches them the proper way of life, but also ensures their future’s stability,” she said.
District education officer, Swat, Zaibun Nisa, who presided over the meeting, appreciated the ALP system and said that the provincial government was also taking steps to upgrade the primary schools to middle or high level where needed. “This is the responsibility of MPAs to identify need for schools in their areas,” she said.