During two days training at Islamabad Capital Territory by Human Development Foundation (HDF), I have attended the sessions as master trainer. Mr. Asghar Hussain (HDF) was imparting the training on ASER 2016 research tools to volunteers. After ending the training sessions we went to field “Pin Mistryan” Village for pretesting of tools and practical exercise of volunteers.
There was a private school was being operating through support of Voice of Humanity (VOH) Foundation in the village. Principal told us about their work for delivering education in the village. The principal was serving schools and working in education sector for many years. She was motivated to improve the situation in area with her school. The school was working with a well-qualified teaching staff. After interview to principal I have taken a look around the school building. There was a playing space for students and couple of classrooms with all basic facilities. There were more than two private schools operating in the village but there was only one government school. Most of the private schools were found being operating with support of Non-Government Organizations.
In village of “Khanna Dak” there was a Non-Formal Basic Education school where teachers were motivated to work. They were getting salaries from government. In other villages students were found taking classes in private schools where as in government school the situation was not satisfactory. In some village there were no nearby schools; children use to cover a long distance to go to their institutions. In Government schools teachers were hesitant to provide information especially on finances openly. They were refusing on couple of information on school funding especially their accumulation.
During field we have reached eligible households and there we had good experience of real assessment of children (3-16 yeas). In “Pin Mistryan” we have interviewed a child student of class-VI. He was playing while we entered his home. He has given us a good response while answering to questions of Urdu and English Language and Arithmetic assessments. In Mathematics he was found unable to attempt two digit division operations. After end of interview, we talked to his family members. It was revealed that his brothers could not continue education because of unavailability of government school above secondary level. They were looking for some good work but due to low education levels they were facing un-employment.
In some villages like “KotHathyal” and “Swan Dihati”, only few children from government schools were interviewed for their learning assessment. Overall, children from government schools were found not better in English learning skill but their Urdu skills were found midlevel. Children from private schools were able to read English above the midlevel but they could not found satisfactory for their Urdu/Local language understanding skills. Assessment for basic arithmetic skill found below average or average. Almost 30% children were found able to attempt two digit division operations successfully.
Parents of children studying at private school were found happy to pay high for their extra tuitions. They believe in better skilled children with good education for their sustainability. Health and Functioning section of Household Questionnaire highlights that, there were rare disable children found during field work.
In Islamabad there could not be found any household receiving benefit from any of Social Protection Program. Whatsapp found to be in use for 80% of households. Most of households found to have smartphones.