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Thatta, Sindh
Posted By Hafsa Alvi

On a Sunday morning, my colleagues and I went to monitor ASER trainings in Thatta, which is 2 hours from Karachi city. I have always loved Thatta for its historical significance and beautiful lakes. It was my first month as a Research Associate at ITA and I was excited to go on my first monitoring trip. It was a group of 5 people, two representatives from our partner organization and three representatives from ITA attended this monitoring session. Given that we were only two hours away from Karachi, I imagined the village to have all the facilities of a little town, including water, electricity, gas and infrastructure. To my surprise, the first village we visited looked similar to what a remote village in Pakistan looks like, devoid of all such facilities. It was hard to believe that this was located just a few kilometers from Karachi city, which was brimming with all basic necessities. We started walking in the village, and the first thing I noticed was the school building; it was the size of a standard classroom, with the bathroom in shambles. The door was locked and there was no sign around the facility to indicate that it was a school, just the name written on the wall with faint handwriting which was fading away. There were makeshift houses in the villages, with only some houses made of mud and cement. Our team gathered at the first house, where all the women from the village came to welcome us. We sat on a mat on the floor and asked them about their life and their normal routine. They told us that their life was extremely difficult, in both summers and winters, since access to water was limited and there was no electricity. They also informed us that many politicians had made many promises about providing basic facilities but all of them had failed to deliver. We told them about ASER and why we were there, and then began our basic assessment. We monitored two assessments in this village. It was disheartening to see that students from this village did not know basic alphabets or number counting. The Sindh Right to Education Act guarantees quality education to all children, whereas the Early Childhood Education Policy has been designed to cater to younger students from the beginning. If children in villages which are so close to Karachi city are being denied such facilities, then what can we expect from students in villages that are remote? The province of Sindh always takes the lead in implementing plans and acts, but when it comes to actual implementation, it normally takes a back seat and fails to deliver. It is time that the Sindh Government focuses on not only creating policies but also solid implementation plans so it can reach children like the ones in Thatta City.

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of ASER Pakistan.
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