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The school with 12 students in 3 classes

KARACHI, Sep 10: The teachers of the four-decade old historical Mahnaz Government Boys Lower Secondary School in Keamari Town are paid Rs 73,253 by the Sindh Education department for teaching its 12 students in three classes, it was learned on 'World Literacy Day' Saturday.

"We have five teachers and 12 students in three classes," teacher Amjad Arshad, also acting headmaster, said. "The Sindh Education department would know why we don't have any students but for our part, as teachers, we do our work."

According to information collected from the Accountant General's office, there are seven staffers at the Mahnaz School, 5 teachers and two lower staffers.

Mahnaz school is located at Jackson bazaar near Pir Gaib Shah Shrine and was nationalized in 1977. Over the last few years all of a sudden, the school lost its student body. "There is a lack of the interest by the school management," said a retired headmaster on the condition of anonymity.

Even 60 years after independence, Pakistan is still at the bottom of the education index among 10 countries. Over 68.4 million people in the country are illiterate and the profile depicts a substantial gender specific and rural-urban disparity. The rate for both men and women increased at a very slow pace during last decades, according to experts.

World Literacy Day was marked by several NGOs and educational organizations who arranged discussions and rallies in different parts of the city.For example, the Batik School Network, a project of the Society for Education Welfare (SEW), held a walk starting from the Sindh Assembly and ending at the Karachi Press Club.

Another seminar on 'Education of All' was held in Lyari by the Students Educational Welfare Association (SEWA).

On the occasion, SEWA chairman Muhammad Ismail said that the state of a literate society is still an unaccomplished goal and an ever-moving target. "Tomeet the goal, Pakistan needs not only more effective efforts but also requires renewed political will," he said.

According to the Ministry of Education, Islamabad, district ranking in Sindh of literacy rates, in the age 15-plus group, Karachi's rate is 63 percent of 2.09 million people. This is followed by Sukkur at 44 percent of 281,933 people, and the lowest is Tharparkar at 17 percent literacy out of 374,684 people.

According to an old study by Shahrukh Rafi Khan, public sector salaries, including those that apply to rural teachers in Pakistan, are rigidly determined by educational qualifications and experience. If it can be determined that educational qualifications and experience enhance teacher cognitive skills, which in turn enhance student cognitive skills, one can infer that there is some rationality to such a salary structure and that teacher incentives are compatible with teacher effectiveness. He used two data sets to test these propositions. The first, based only on a survey of government schools, seemed to suggest that some rationality, with many qualifications, existed in rural public sector schooling salary scales. However, a more recent data set that is disaggregated by school type (government, non-government and private sectors) showed no such rationality existed in the public sector, while salaries were responsive to qualifications in the non-government and private sectors. Daily times
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