Kachi Abadies In Lahore, Karachi Facing Multiple Issues

Kachi Abadies in Lahore, Karachi facing multiple issues

The Kachi Abadies (KA) in four districts of Karachi and Lahore are facing shortage of water and lacking cleaning arrangements of drains and garbage collection

ISLAMABAD, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 17th Nov, 2021 ) :The Kachi Abadies (KA) in four districts of Karachi and Lahore are facing shortage of water and lacking cleaning arrangements of drains and garbage collection.

According to a Survey, the living condition in these four districts is extremely challenging as around 38 percent of the KAs do not have daily access to water and about 18 percent get water once in 15 days or more, in 46 percent KAs there is no routine system for cleaning of drains and garbage collection.

While majority of the households (79%) had their own toilets, 21% either had shared (13%) or public (5%) toilets andfor 3 %, there was no option but open defecation. On the other hand, 63% of households of KAs have smartphones, almost 80% of households have cellphones and 21% of have computer/laptops and overall, 33% of the households use internet.

This was revealed by the report of first pilot project for a learning and accountability survey in urban slums (4 districts: Karachi West, Korangi, Malir and Lahore) conducted by Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi (ITA) supported by the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).

The survey includes a total of 114 KAs, reaching out to 2, 275 households, 2,285 Mothers and 6,411 children (Age 3-16).The learning tools are mapped mainly to lower Primary or grade 2 level national and provincial competencies.

The findings from this pilot study were shared virtually in the presence of Mr. Waseem Ajmal, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Federal Education & Professional Training (MoFE&PT), Dr. Suhail Shahzad, Special Secretary, School Education Department, Govt. of Punjab; Mr. Knut Ostby, Resident Representative UNDP Pakistan; Mr. Muhammad Saleem Jalbani, Senior Chief Education, Planning & Development (P&D) Department, Govt. of Sindh; Mr. Khalid Sultan, Member Education, P&D Department, Govt. of Punjab; Ms. Kim Bradford Smith, Education Team Lead, FCDO Pakistan; Mr. Omar Masud, CEO, Punjab Urban Unit; and Mr. Muhammad Toheed, Urban Planner, GIS Analyst, Karachi Urban Lab, IBA.

Survey showed that, Of the sampled children (6,411) 54% were boys and 46% girls (age 6-16 years), 82% are enrolled in schools (2021) in Kachi Abadies compared to 97% in urban districts.

Early years enrollment in KAs is 38.1% (girls 42% and boys 58%), significantly lagging behind 53% enrolled in urban districts, with gender gaps setting in early.

More children are enrolled in private schools (59%) including madrassahs (8%) and Non Formal Education (NFE) (1%), whilst 41% are enrolled in government schools. Enrollment increases significantly from the age of 5, reaching its peak at the age of 10.

About 30% or 1 in 3 children of 16-year-olds are out of school. Government school enrollment is higher in Lahore at 59% while private school enrollment is highest in Korangi at 59%.

Enrollment in madrassahs is 8%, significantly higher in KAs than trends observed in the regular ASER national surveys (1.5-2.5 percent).

While Korangi, Lahore and Malir's Madrassah enrollment is 2.6%, 2.1% and 2.5%, respectively, Karachi-Westhas 24% of Katchi Abadis students or 1 in 4 children enrolled in madras, reports showed.

In report further showing that children from KAs attending private schools do better than those attending government schools. For urdu reading, 42% children can read a story from private schools while only 38% government school children can do the same. In Arithmetic, 31% private school going children can solve two-digit division compared to 28% in government schools. In English, 43% private school children can read sentences in English compared to 41% government school children. When disaggregating learning in madrassahs, trends are of extreme concern.

In finding, reports shows that almost 50% of the mothers and 44% of the fathers living in the KAs were found to be illiterate. Of those literate, 10% mothers and 8% fathers had completed primary education (Grade 5); 41% mothers and 42% fathers had education up to matriculation (grade 10) and 9% mothers and 14% fathers had education above matriculation.

The representative of the Ministry, Joint Secretary, Waseem Ajmal, appreciated the report, adding that it will help in policy actions to improve learning outcomes in KAs.

"One of the key challenges of modern education system is how to make it more inclusive and equity oriented. Some segments can afford better education but others remain disadvantaged who have to study in non-functional schools'', ajmal added.

He added that we need to come up with localized models of governance for schools in urban slums and create linkages between formal schools and KA schools while involving the private sector to come up with a solution for quality learning in KAs.

Special Secretray Education, Mr. Shahzad agreed with the findings of the report, stating that the existing urban schools are functioning on rural frameworks.

He said that the mapping of KAs in development framework is not representative, especially considering the population density. "We need to devise a structure for KAs so we can establish schools according to the proportion of population there," the special secretary said.

Mr. Ostby from UNDP Pakistan said that Pakistan is a water stressed country with rapid urbanization and governance challenges. "COVID-19 has further highlighted the challenges facing the informal urban settlements, particularly impacting the learning of children. It's a timely effort to gauge the learning quality of children living in urban slums. UNDP Pakistan recognizes the complex systems and actively works with the government to achieve SDGs. This report will be of great help to the government of Pakistan and development partners to work on urban resilience and development," he said.

Ms. Smith from FCDO said the report shows that children in KAs are being left behind in their learning � all school systems have painfully low learning levels. What school you go to impacts your potential learning, with Madrassah students having extremely low learning levels. The quality of learning in all school systems needs urgent attention, public resources need to be prioritized for the underserved, and teaching in mother tongue needs to be addressed.

Mr. Sultan said what this report shows is just a tip of an iceberg, but we shall reinforce the recommendations mentioned in the report and include them in policy making. Mr. Jalbani also extended his support to the report, promising to use the data collected in the report for actions.

Mr. Masud said that cities are called the engines of economic growth only if the population is well educated and have access to all types of amenities but the issue of urban slums is a low hanging fruit which remains unmapped. The human resource at urban slums remain untapped due to unplanned city growth across Pakistan. Using this data, we can evolve a more targeted approach of integrating KAs in policy frameworks to direct resources for better learning outcomes of children residing there.

Urban planner Mr.Toheed said that we don't have a map for KAs for Karachi which creates disconnect between the authorities and the people. Along with learning losses, the residents also face other challenges such as in documentation and enrollment procedures and lack of cooperation by school administrations.