The report sheds light on several critical issues concerning the education response in flood-affected areas
Leading education and development experts have underscored the immediate need to take decisive actions in order to recover the significant learning losses experienced during floods, while simultaneously developing a flood-resilient education system to mitigate disruptions to education during such calamities.
This critical call to action was made during the launch of the comprehensive report on the post-floods education situation in Pakistan, titled “Towards a Resilient Education Recovery from Pakistan’s Floods – Rapid Response Research.”
The report, a collaborative effort between the Pakistan Coalition for Education (PCE), Education Champion Network (ECN), and Thar Education Alliance, was officially unveiled by the Thar Education Alliance.
The launch event also witnessed a policy level discussion, organized by the Thar Education Alliance in collaboration with the Sindh Education and Literacy Department (SELD) Government of Sindh, Malala Fund, and ECN. Distinguished representatives from esteemed organizations such as the World Bank, USAID, JICA, Resource Support Unit (RSU), Dawood Foundation, Microsoft, Indus Resource Centre (IRC), Pakistan Alliance for Math and Science (PAMS), Sindh Education Foundation (SEF), The Citizen Foundation (TCF), The Teacher Resource Center (TRC), and the Akhuwat Foundation actively participated in the policy roundtable.
Report emphasizes the imperative of prioritizing students’ learning outcomes rather than focusing solely on enrollment and infrastructure rebuilding
The report sheds light on several critical issues concerning the education response in flood-affected areas. Key observations include the absence of emergency response planning within the education system and insufficient attention given to the pervasive learning poverty prevalent among students. To address these challenges, the report strongly advocates for robust coordination among district, federal, and provincial governments to effectively recover learning losses and enhance educational infrastructure throughout Pakistan.
Furthermore, the report emphasizes the imperative of prioritizing students’ learning outcomes rather than focusing solely on enrollment and infrastructure rebuilding.
Significantly, the initial findings from this research have been incorporated into the “Pakistan Floods 2022: Resilient Recovery, Rehabilitation, and Reconstruction Framework (4RF)” in the education section, jointly developed by the Ministry of Planning, Development, and Special Initiatives, Government of Pakistan, and the UNDP.
Abdul Qadeer, Additional Secretary Planning and Finance SELD GoS, expressed his thoughts on the occasion, stating, “The 2022 floods have had a devastating impact on Pakistan’s overall development, particularly in Sindh. Approximately 2 million children in Sindh were affected, and over 19,808 schools suffered partial or complete damage. SELD GoS is committed to ensuring uninterrupted education for the flood-affected children, and we recognize the need for sustainable long-term solutions beyond Temporary Learning Centers (TLCs). Therefore, we welcome this significant and practical report at this crucial juncture, especially its focus on recovering lost learning and building long-term resilience. We extend our gratitude to all those involved for their dedicated efforts.”
Mina Zamand from the World Bank stressed the importance of conducting comprehensive geographical and topological analyses to identify areas less prone to such calamities.
She further emphasized the necessity of ensuring easy access to schools for all students, regardless of their location or socioeconomic background.
Incorporating remedial curriculum into leadership training programs was also highlighted as essential to address the educational needs of students affected by these disasters.
Zamand concluded by stating, “By considering these factors, we can implement effective measures to mitigate the impact of disasters on education and foster resilience in our educational systems.”
Prem Sagar, Provincial Coordinator JICA, expressed concern over the lack of meaningful measures taken during the decade between the catastrophic floods of 2010 and 2011 and the recent floods in the same districts of Sindh.
He emphasized the urgent need to protect children’s education during emergencies and highlighted the report’s call for a comprehensive response to address educational needs, including leveraging public-private partnerships for expedited school construction and ensuring that students experiencing significant learning losses can catch up swiftly.
Kamran Hasan from the Dawood Foundation underscored the importance of a rapid response mechanism, particularly through public-private partnerships, to effectively address the long-term learning losses and facilitate the rapid recovery of affected students.
Partab Shivani, CEO of Thar Education Alliance, pointed out that mere reconstruction of damaged or destroyed infrastructure has proven insufficient in curbing school dropouts or improving learning outcomes.
Shivani emphasized the pressing need to focus on rebuilding shock-resilient infrastructure that can withstand future natural calamities.
During an interactive discussion, participants highlighted the urgency of addressing long-term learning losses and the importance of standardizing Temporary Learning Centers (TLCs) established in flood-affected areas. They also emphasized the significance of avoiding duplication of efforts among various development partners to ensure a more extensive outreach and a more effective overall response.
The launch of this report and the subsequent policy roundtable has galvanized experts, policymakers, and stakeholders to work collaboratively in forging a resilient education system that can withstand the challenges posed by floods and other natural disasters. It is imperative to act swiftly and implement comprehensive measures to recover the lost learning, safeguard students’ education, and fortify Pakistan’s educational infrastructure.