MESSAGE FROM CEO / CHAIRMAN
Human survival and evolution rest upon two critical pillars viz a viz:-
(1) environment which provides access to contemporary learning skills in a rapidly changing global setting and-
(2) political framework for participation according to constitutional and legal entitlements without discrimination.
Democracy cannot flourish without active citizen / mass participation. Participation requires capacity for the cultivation and application o democratic principles. The capacity to develop, understand and apply democratic principles must be generate in turn through higher education and awareness raising process among masses equally.
Unfortunately, education has consistently failed to be a priority for Pakistani leaders. In the last 66 years of Pakistan’s existence, Universal Primary Education (UPE) has remained an elusive goal. Fifty percent of Pakistan 180 million population is below 18 years of age and only 56% of primary age group (5-9) are able to enroll in primary schools. 18% of middle age group (10-14) and 10% of matric age group (15-16) are accessing education on facilities. The urban-rural, female-male and provincial variations make the education apartheid and even more severe. Chronic lack of resources, shortage of resources beyond primary level, lack of competent teachers/ managers, terrorism, unrest, uncertainty and emergencies are even jeopardizing human development and participation.
The gross enrollment rate (including under/overage children) at the primary level is only 86% (PSLM 2006-07 where NGOs / private sector play a vital role as well) out of which 33% drop out while out of those who complete primary school and are eligible for middle level, only 18% are enrolled in the latter stream. Thus such students open a pathway to Child Labour and in-equal level in society. Of those who make it to grade 10, only 30% successfully complete matriculation and 3% make it to the tertiary level. Options for non-formal and livelihood educations are very few compared to enormous needs. Each successive stage of education is operating at sub-optimal levels reflecting chronic systems problem and an exclusionary culture not conducive to promotion of learning for the majority.
The social responsibility of these gaps lies jointly with the government and the citizens to ensure the right to meaningful quality education. The alarming statistics manifests a chronic malaise of a post colonial society and state which thus unable to design an embedded national education enterprise. On a positive note, the experiences of past six decades hold many lessons which can contribute to re-design of our education system.
SHELTER Association with agenda of Sustainable Human-right-through Education is thus a response to the profound crises of education and multiple crises forming the nuts and bolts of the education challenge. SHELTER was born out of a realization and finding solutions for the most critical of human entitlements the right to leaning (on primary + adult levels), knowledge systems, citizenship skills and a 9000 years of living heritage is being denied to inhabitants of Pakistan especially because of lack resources and awareness.
ISHRAQ AHMED HASHMI