The geographically diverse district of Rahim Yar Khan is on the edge of Punjab's southern border with Sindh Province. Spread across vast deserts, agricultural farmland and riverine, District Rahim Yar Khan clearly suffers stark educational inequity. Some of the best private schools are in the urban areas of the district while some of the neglected government schools exist on the fringes. Gender disparity linked to the cultural practices is further aggravated by the poor construction of schools.
Punjab has the dubious distinction of having the highest average literacy rate in Pakistan of 61%, as it remains lop-sided with deep pockets of illiteracy. A closer examination shows that the provincial average does not tell the complete story and masks the poor situation in the southern districts of the province. In Rahim Yar Khan District, only one in three people is literate (33.1%).
There are 227,151 children currently enrolled in public primary schools in the district. However, these children are only 63% of the total children of primary school age in the district. More than 20% children remain out of school, most of whom are from the district's disadvantage and marginalised localities.
There are currently 2,250 public schools in Rahim Yar Khan. The condition of these public schools is substandard. A recent survey declared 87 buildings unsafe for conducting classes. On top of that, public schools lack functional basic facilities.
Humqadam-SCRP is addressing the educational inequity by bringing safe and secure classrooms to Rahim Yar Khan District. In the first phase of the Programme, 365 new classrooms are being constructed in 139 schools across the district.
These 139 schools, identified in collaboration with the Punjab government, are chosen based on a prioritisation criteria that considers overcrowding, multi-grade teaching, Shelter less schools and a focus on Girls Schools. Humqadam-SCRP, through the active participation of the local community, is also working on bringing basic facilities to these schools like drinking water, electricity, libraries and boundary walls.
As part of its community engagment initiative, Humqadam-SCRP has also formed 139 Community Committees for School Infrastructure (CCSIs) to promote community involvement and ownership. The CCSIs are comprised five members of the local community with a strong commitment to provide oversight during the construction process, and management and sustainability of the schools after completion.