Public education sector suffers from inept polices, lack of funding and insufficient oversight.In Sindh, an annual census report of the education department has found that some 5000 schools have been shut down since 2012. These include schools across all levels — elementary, secondary and higher secondary.Soon after taking charge, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah had declared an education emergency in July 2016. Ground realities show that the announcement was meant as a mere publicity stunt. No plan was devised to ensure effective implementation of emergency measures. Perhaps the most striking deficiency was a lack of devolution of powers to the district and sub-district levels and no system of accountability of government officers responsible for regulating schools.Although 2,000 schools have since been reopened, there is absolutely no evidence of improvements either in schools’ infrastructure or in learning outcomes.The fate of the education emergency proves that ad-hoc measures will not bode well for public sector education. It will be wiser to invest in teachers-training programmes, and establish a coherent policy with objectively verifiable goals for fixing the longstanding problems of the sector. An outcome-based policy should be formed with an aim to equip students with critical thinking skills from an early age.The Alif Ailaan’s district education report ranks Sindh at 7th place, just ahead of FATA and below Balochistan based on its education score determined by aggregating performance on learning outcomes, retention of students following primary school, and gender parity across all levels of schooling.The report shows that the number of primary schools in the country is four times that of secondary and high schools. Thus, thousands of children each year leave formal schooling after the fifth grade.These realities need to be factored in by the provincial government when it finally gets serious about implementing its education emergency. And Murad Ali Shah will do well to learn a lesson from his counterpart in Khyber-Pukhtunkhwa in what is not to be done with schools’ education.In his attempt to appease the extreme right-wing, KP Chief Minister Pervez Khattakhas been overseeing regressive changes in the education system of the province. Under his watch, all curriculum reforms enacted by the previous government in the province have been done away with. Those were precisely the kind of reforms that were needed in schools’ curriculum and should have served as models for other provinces.For the education emergency to be effective, Sindh government should ensure that it revises the curricula to promote pluralism and respect for religious diversity among its pupils. *Published in Daily Times, January 13th 2018.