The Punjab Education Foundation (PEF)

The Punjab Education Foundation (PEF) has developed much desired child-friendly schooling for one million students by developing composite institutional mechanism against corporal punishment in 2000 partner schools in Punjab.

According to a hand out, there is need to proactively involve the civil society organs like media, NGOs and the legal fraternity in this crusade to develop a society benevolent towards its children. It will also help to encourage learning without fear.

This was stated by Chairman Chief Minister’s Taskforce on Elementary Education/ Punjab Education Foundation Raja Muhammad Anwar while addressing the concluding ceremony of one-day “Workshop on Corporal Punishment & Redressal System”, held under the aegis of Plan Pakistan in Murree. Concerned Officers of Punjab Education Foundation, heads of partner schools and civil society members from Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa took part in the workshop and shared their experiences with each other to strengthen and improve the institutional mechanism in schools against violence.

Addressing the gathering, Raja Anwar said that Punjab Education Foundation has emerged as the best model of public private partnership in fostering free education in the poorest of the poor strata at the grassroots.

He maintained that PEF has given new hope to the hopeless by arranging education for their out of school children. Besides strictly banning the corporal punishment, Punjab Government is also working to ensure quality education for all, he added.

He maintained that top of the line quality education will be provided to poor students of “Have-not families” in Danish School System. Despite meager resources, Punjab Government is ensuring that suitable resources are provided to school sector. We have decided to set up Science Labs in all PEF partner schools so that students could best learn Science subjects.

PEF has also planned to arrange free technical and vocational education for Matric students in TEVTA institutions so that they could become self reliant. Raja further maintained “Knowledge gives respect to nations; therefore, we should make learning our first priority.”

Raja Anwar, however, lamented that access to education still remains a challenge in Pakistan. Punishments in schools contribute to increasing drop-out rates. There is a need that all the children are raised in protective and encouraging environment, where society is responsive to their rights without any gender discrimination.

Earlier, Mrs. Farrah Naz, Program Support Manager, Plan Pakistan presented a report about a study conducted by Plan Pakistan in the districts of Chakwal, Islamabad and Vehari to study the state of corporal punishment among 8 to 18 years students. According to the study, overall prevalence of corporal punishment was 89 percent.

It was found that punishment is practiced during 8 to 12 years age bracket and the most common reasons are because of the students making noise, fighting or quarrelling with their class mates. It was also revealed that students are punished more in the rural areas, that does not indicate that urban areas are free from this dilemma but the ratio is less in comparison.

Syed Safdar Raza, Advocacy Advisor Plan Pakistan stressed that without hampering a delicate equilibrium of teachers-people relationship, the teachers should stop beating children. He added that violence against children is not perpetrating only by the teachers but from parents and work places as well. All forms of corporal punishment must be stopped immediately, he demanded.

He also explained that Plan Pakistan, in collaboration with Punjab Education Foundation, has initiated to develop a pilot rederessal system against corporal punishment in PEF Supported schools in Punjab as well as incorporating child rights in teachers training curricula. Mr. Raza added that apart from PEF, Plan Pakistan is also working with the provincial government of Balochistan and Gilgit-Baltistan, on ending corporal punishment from schools.

In the end, participants presented various proposals for ending corporal punishment from schools.

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