WFP says migration causing increase in school dropout rate


KARACHI – The World Food Programme (WFP) has said that the migration of people from the arid zone areas of the province due to drought has forced their children to leave schools where they were enrolled. The project director of the WFP’s Assistance to Girls Primary Education in Sindh (AGPES), Dr Shamaroza has informed Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah in a report that students in the arid zone areas are not dropping out of schools due to the closure of the project, but the actual reason is migration of their parents to irrigated areas during harvesting seasons.
The report was sent to the chief minister in response to a media report on the rising dropout rate of children in primary schools of 45 union councils of nine talukas after the World Food Programme stopped supplying wheat and oil to their parents under the AGPES. The report stated that due to heavy floods in Sindh, WFP authorities have diverted assistance from arid zone districts towards the flood-affected districts of the province.
“WFP authorities started a Flood Recovery Assistance Programme for 468,000 primary school children in seven districts in the province – Jacobabad, Qambar-Shahdadkot, Kashmore, Dadu, Jamshoro, Thatta and Tharparkar in early 2011 and will continue till December 2012,” the report added. It stated that the WFP authorities have also prepared a relief intervention on temporary basis namely Food Crisis Emergency Programme for two years (September 2008 to October 2010).
The programme was designed for 128,000 households of the arid zone areas of four most food insecure districts of Sindh – Tharparkar, Umerkot, Sanghar and Khairpur. The report said that under the programme, 4,200 girls and boys of primary schools were provided wheat and oil, and the main objective of WFP assistance was to provide inflation-proof relief assistance to household in the shape of one bag of 50kg wheat quarterly and one four-litre tin of edible oil on monthly basis, excluding summer and winter vacations, and also ensure retention of primary school students at a time of high risk of drop-out. The WFP authorities had established their own warehouses with their supervision, monitoring, transportation and distribution arrangements, and due to this assistance, the enrolment of students had increased.