Sindh govt hands over management of 71 schools to private sector for 10 years

KARACHI: The Sindh government signed on Wednesday an agreement with the Education Management Organizations (EMOs) to manage 71 schools, constructed under the USAID Sindh Basic Education Programme (SBEP), for the next 10 years.

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The ceremony took place at the Chief Minister House, and was attended by Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Mission Director Julie Koenen and Minister for Education and Literacy Saeed Ghani.

Secretary of Education, Ahmed Bakhsh Narejo and representatives from the two selected EMOs – Charter for Compassion (CFC) and Health and Nutrition Development Society (HANDS) – signed the agreements.

HANDS and CFC signed four and one agreement respectively. Under these agreements, both organisations would manage 71 government schools, including 25 newly constructed USAID schools, to improve the quality of education in four districts of Sindh – Dadu, Qamber Shahdadkot, Karachi and Larkana.

CM Murad appreciated USAID-SBEP and the US government’s strong support in modernising education in the province.

He added that the Sindh government was the pioneer in launching Public-Private Partnership reforms by outsourcing operations and management of public sector schools for a period of ten years to reputed EMOs under these agreements

“We are proud to partner with the Government of Sindh in this important initiative,” said Julie Koenen, USAID/Pakistan Mission Director. She added that, “The Sindh Basic Education Program is improving the quality of teaching and increasing equitable access to safe learning opportunities for children, especially girls.”

Koenen emphasised on the US government’s commitment towards supporting Pakistan’s efforts in education.

The US government is contributing $159.2 million through USAID, whereas the Sindh government is providing $10 million cost-share for the SBEP.

The project aims to increase and sustain student enrolment in primary, middle and secondary public schools in selected areas of Sindh, with a special focus on bringing back girls who have dropped out of schools.

In addition to constructing schools, the SBEP also supports the provincial government’s reforms in education, school consolidation, merging and upgrading, community mobilisation, public-private partnerships and improving reading competencies of students in schools.

The SBEP is constructing up to 106 modern school buildings in 10 districts – Dadu, Jacobabad, Qamber-Shahdadkot, Karachi-West, Karachi-Malir, Karachi-South, Kashmore, Khairpur, Larkana and Sukkur.

The Sindh CM added that currently 70 schools have been constructed, out of which 43 were previously handed over to seven EMOs.

“Construction of remaining schools is at various stages of completion,” said CM Murad.

Participants of USAID attended the ceremony via video link.

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