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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan will launch on Wednesday (today) the Ehsaas Education Stipends Programme that aims to provide quarterly cash stipends ranging from 1,500 to 4,000 rupees to deserving students from primary to higher secondary levels while lending preference to female students over male students in terms of stipend payments.

The programme will be rolled out nationwide across all districts, according to the federal government. Under this initiative, primary school boys will get quarterly stipends of Rs 1,500 and girls Rs 2,000; secondary school boys will get Rs 2,500 and girls Rs 3,000 and higher secondary-level boys will get Rs 3,500 and girls Rs 4,000 a quarter.

All education stipends will be paid biometrically to mothers on attainment of 70 percent attendance of their children, an official handout said. Ehsaas Education Stipends Programme will empower the deserving families to overcome financial barriers in accessing higher education, the statement added. "Safeguarding, that girls are not underrepresented in education, the Ehsaas Education Stipends Programme is fully skewed towards girls, offering higher stipend amounts for them," it added.

Presently, there are 18.7 million children in the age group of six to 16 who remain out of school in the country and the fallout of Covid-19 has also accentuated it, the press release said. It cites the findings of Demographic and Health Survey 2017 (Kaplan and Meier estimates) which indicate that dropout rate is highest for the poorest two quintiles in secondary education.

In addition, the Household Income and Expenditure Survey (1990-2018) featuring enrolment trends for both boys and girls in primary and secondary education reveals that girls are severely disadvantaged in initial enrolment levels for poorest quintile, and they drop out faster from grades five to eight.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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