Friday, February 26, 2016

Pakistan - Over 24m children out of school

Over 24m children out of school: Report
islamabad - Although the number of out-of-school children decreased by over a million and retention rate also increased by two percent, yet 47 percent - 24.02 million - of all children between the ages of 5 and 16 are out of school in Pakistan, says a latest government report. 

The number out-of-school children decreased from 25 million to 24 million but the primary level enrolment has remained almost stagnant with a meagre increase from 15.5 to 15.8 million, says the report.

The report Pakistan Education Statistics 2014-15 launched yesterday has been compiled by the Academy of Educational Planning and Management (AEPAM), ministry of federal education and professional training, with the collaboration of other government and non-governmental organisations. 

Yasir Irfan, Senior Programme Officer at AEPAM, said though primary level enrolments did not show significant increase, enrolment levels in private sector schools and technical education institutions have increased. Of the 24 million out-of-school children, 5.4 million were enrolled at some point but dropped out while 78 percent or 18.6 million of them have never been enrolled in school.

The highest number of out-of-school children live in Balochistan with 70 percent – 1.8 million- not getting any kind of education followed by Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA): 60 percent, Sindh: 56 percent, Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir: 50 percent each, Punjab: 44 percent, Khyber Pakhtunkhawa: 36 percent. Islamabad has the lowest number of out of school children where about 11 percent or 38,529 children are not going to schools.

Girls are far likelier to be out of school than boys, says the report, as 12.8 million of all out-of-school children are girls while 11.2 million are boys. The greatest disparity is evident in KP where 52 percent of girls are not getting education compared to 21 percent boys followed by FATA and Balochistan where the disparity levels are quite high. 

The report reveals enrolment among both boys and girls falls drastically after primary stage. Though retention rate at the primary level has increased by 2 percent as compared to the last year of 2013-14, still only 69 percent complete primary schooling. 

The net enrolment rate at primary stage that slightly increased from 72 to 72.24 percent further drops to 47 percent at the middle and 31 percent at the high school level. That shows only 28 percent children enrolled in class 1 are retained till class 10. 
The study also shows no improvement in literacy rate ( of age 10 years and older) and youth (age 15 to 24) that remain to the previous level of 60 and 72 percent, respectively. 

About school facilities, the report says that around 45,011 schools are without the facility of drinking water and of them over 41000 are primary schools. After recent terror attacks on educational institutions all the governments have started constructing boundary walls of schools, still 30 percent of the schools lack proper boundary walls, said Saman Naz, research manager of Alif Ailaan, the education reforms advocacy campaign. 

Though the focus on education has increased in recent years and all the governments, including the federal and provincial, have shown improvements in their respective territories, the pace is quite slow, said Mosharraf Zaidi, Campaign Director for AlifAilaan. The momentum needs to be accelerated by 10 folds to bring every child to school, he added.
Published in The Nation newspaper on 26-Feb-2016

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