Employees Rally against decision to close NCHD

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Islamabad (June 8, 2011) – Dozens of employees of the National Commission for Human Development (NCHD) staged a rally from the National Press Club (NPC) to the Geo TV office to raise their voice against the winding up of the NCHD, which would deprive more than 16,000 people of their jobs and over 5,000 children of primary education.
According to information, the Council of Common Interests (CCI), in a meeting held on June 1, decided to wind up the National Commission for Human Development because provincial governments did not agree to adopt the NCHD.
The NCHD was established in 2002 in response to the recommendations of the task force with the mandate to promote human development by supporting government line departments, non-government organisations and elected officials at the district level in primary education, literacy, income-generating activities and provision of basic healthcare services.
The protesters were of the view that the NCHD’s achievements were recognised both at the national and international level so there was no point in winding it up. “It has won the ‘International Reading Association Literacy Award 2006’ and the government of Pakistan declared it the leading agency for literacy in the country,” said a protester.
The protesters, on the occasion, told the media that the NCHD supported the government in enrolling 11.56 million out-of-school children aged between 5 and 7 years; established 13,068 community feeder schools to provide access and cater to the increased enrolment, provided 4,719 feeder teachers in government schools, provided training to 146,225 government teachers on quality education. The NCHD also established 145,411 adult literacy centres, where 3.2 million learners were imparted functional literacy; 95% of whom were females. The NCHD also trained 13 million women in primary healthcare and screened over 2 million children in primary schools for eyesight and hearing.
They said that the NCHD was a public-private partnership model and a number of Pakistani expatriates and multinationals were on board. It has raised US $30 million from private sector. During floods, members of the NCHD Board raised over Rs100 million. They recently contributed Rs25 million to the literacy programme of the NCHD.
The employees of the NCHD said that the winding up of an institution like NCHD would be a big blow to the cause of education as Pakistan is already lagging behind in achieving ‘Education For All’ and literacy targets. It is the responsibility of the government to protect the NCHD, which has the infrastructure and skilled human resource to improve human development indicators in Pakistan.
They said due to the decision, more than 16,000 people will become jobless and over 5,000 children will be deprived of education at primary level, which is a complete negation of Article 25-A of the Constitution under which the state is responsible to provide free education to all children from the age of five to sixteen years.
(Published in “The News” on Thursday, June 9, 2011)

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