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6 million children out of school despite allocation of Rupees 21 billion: SPARC

HYDERABAD: December 10, 2017. (Abbas Kassar)The SPARC, Society for Protection of Rights of Child, has expressed grave concern that despite allocation of Rs.21 billion for education more than 6 million children were out of schools and 5483 government schools are closed out of 45,555 in Sindh alone. This was stated by Kashif Bajeer head of Sparc in Sindh while addressing press conference here Sunday. He said Sindh government had declared education emergency and with lions share of overall provincial budget, education in Sindh has shown to improvement. On child labor he said despite allocation of Rs.54 million for survey on child labor government has done no work of survey as yet. He said government has earmarked Rs.314 million for rehabilitation of street children and establishment of Darul Atfal but it failed to utilize funds.

Kashif Bajeer lamented that hundreds of children continue to die in Thar alone despite government had earmarked Rs.3000 on Nutrition Support Program. The goal of NSPS was not achieved due to inefficiency of government. He said violation of child rights was increasing day by day as government has failed to carry out survey of child labor since 1994 when figure of child labor was 33 million. He said condition of schools in Sindh was that on some places there was no teacher while on others teachers number was more than students. He said today was World Human Rights Day but even human rights defenders were not safe quoting example of former lady councilor and human rights activist Saira Naseer who was burnt 2 days back in her car. He said state was not doing its own task on other hand it has limited NGOs putting ban on majority of them. Child protection units were also not being set up in districts. He said NGOs work on voluntary basis as their work was to put pressure on government to protect human rights including rights of children and women. To a question as to would his NGO approach courts against government, he said they were already in litigation on various issues. To another question he said he was against micro financing as loans given to poor people under this scheme were stuck because people were not in a financial position to repay same with interest. Talking on health-related budget for children he said Rs. 422 million were earmarked for strengthening and improving national institute of child health Karachi but unfortunately only 7.2 million on it Seriousness of issue their parents are compelled to bear heavy cost ranging from Rs.20000 to 40000 per day. He said more serious issue was of child marriage. Sindh assembly has passed child marriage restraint act 2013 making it punishable but since then law is to be implemented. Monitoring committees have not been formed at district level nor awareness campaign started.

Concluding he said children are most vulnerable segment of society. They are confronted with issues like child labor, domestic slavery, corporal punishment, trafficking, prostitution, sexual abuse and host of other problems but because of negligence of state as well poor enforcement of law children are made victims of these crimes every day.

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