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22.84m children in Pakistan still out of school

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Official statistics released on Thursday show that over 22.84 million (2 284 lakh) Pakistani children are still out of school.There was even a slight increase in the number of out of school children compared to the figures released last year.

Pakistan Education Statistics 2016-17 highlighted the figures in a report, which was launched by the Academy of Educational Planning and Management (AEPAM,) a branch of the federal education ministry. The report was released for public on Thursday.

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The annual report was launched by caretaker minister for education Muhammad Yusuf Shaikh. The report stated that out of total 51.53 million children between the age of five and 16, at least 22.84 million were out of school. The figures state that 44pc of children are not going to school.

44pc of children not going to school.

According to the report, 70pc of children in Balochistan, 57pc in FATA, 52pc in Sindh, 47pc in Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan, 40pc in Punjab, 34pc in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and 12pc in Islamabad are out of school.

Currently, 5.06m children of primary school age are out of school. At the middle, high and higher secondary level, the number is: 6.51m, 4.97m and 6.29m, respectively.

More girls are out of school than boys.

The report also mentioned that in primary to higher secondary level, 49pc of the population of girls were out of school compared to 40pc of the population of boys, making the issue a serious one.

Compared to the period 2012-13 to 2016-17, the overall number of out of school children saw a decrease of only 3.11 million in spire of an increase of 1.22 million in their population in the same period. In 2012-13, there were 25.9m out of school children while in 2013-14 the number decreased to 24.81m. In 2014-15, there were 24m and in 2015-16 the figure was 22.63m.

The report said 26pc primary schools were being operated by a single teacher whereas 18pc of the schools had single classroom and 32pc were being run without electricity, 22pc without toilets, 21pc without boundary walls and 22pc without drinking water.

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According to the report, seven per cent of the total primary schools in the country were without buildings.

Discussing the survival rate of students to grade five, the report said there was no improvement as the rate was still 67pc which was also reported in 2012-13. In 2015-16, the survival rate was 66pc. The statistics also showed that effective transition rate (ETR) from middle to secondary level had slightly decreased from 92pc to 91pc between 2015-16 and 2016-17.

In a bid to attract the attention of policymakers and parliamentarians, the report also highlighted some positive developments which took place after 2012. It said there was an increase of 5.21pc in enrollment between 2012-123 and 2016-17 in class 1-12 while the gross enrollment rate (GRE) in pre-primary education increased from 74pc to 84pc from 2015-16 to 2017-18. The share of enrollment in the public sector for class 1-12 increased from 63pc to 64pc between 2015-16 and 2016-17.

Seven per cent of the total primary schools in the country were without buildings.

Girls’ enrolment at the higher secondary level in the public sector increased by 77pc between 2012 and 2017. There was a significant improvement in physical facilities in public schools during the last four years but the official figures showed there was still a lot to be done in this regard.

Speaking at the report launching ceremony, the caretaker education minster appreciated the efforts of AEPAM for compiling the report, which carried authentic data and would be helpful for researchers and policymakers to take steps in the education sector. The minister said education was the most important sector and needed special attention.

Unesco Director for Pakistan Vibeke Jensen and AEPAM Director General Dawood Shah also spoke on the occasion.

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Independence Day: Sale of Kashmiri flags on the rise

Sale of Kashmiri flags, badges and other decoration items have gained impetus ahead of Independence Day after the federal government had announced to observe August 14 as Kashmir Solidarity Day.

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MUZAFFARABAD, Azad Kashmir/KARACHI, Pakistan: Sale of Kashmiri flags, badges and other decoration items have gained impetus ahead of Independence Day after the federal government had announced to observe August 14 as Kashmir Solidarity Day, ARY News reported on Thursday.

As marking of 73rd Independence Day is right around the corner, the preparations have gained momentum as a huge rush of people were seen at different stalls of Kashmiri flags, national flags buntings, badges, set up by vendors in different areas of Karachi.

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All Karachi Tajir Ittehad Chairman Ateeq Meer said that people are very enthusiastic and passionate for purchasing celebratory items to mark Independence Day.

It must be noted that government has decided to observe Independence Day; 14 August, as Kashmir Solidarity Day and 15th of this month as Black Day to express harmony and solidarity with Kashmiris in their recent plight caused by the Indian government.

The national flag will fly half-mast on 15th of this month. A notification to this effect has been issued by the Ministry of Interior.

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Pakistan News

Maryam’s interview “stopped forcefully:” Nadeem Malik

An interview of Maryam Nawaz Sharif, a vice president of the PML-N, was “forcefully” taken off air soon after it was run, it was reported on Thursday.

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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: An interview of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s daughter Maryam Nawaz Sharif was taken off air forcefully seconds after it started.

“Just came to know Maryam Nawaz Sharif’s interview has been stopped forcefully just [a] few minutes after it started live,” tweeted show host Nadeem Malik.

Hum News, the channel on which the interview was aired for a few brief moments, released a statement shortly after the incident, saying: “Hum News believes in a free and responsible media. Protecting freedom of expression is one of our core values. At the same time, we stand for the respect and dignity of [the] judiciary in line with our ethical values and the Constitution.”

The development comes days after AbbTakk TV24 News, and Capital TV all had their broadcasts cut after screening a press conference by Maryam Nawaz.

Authorities say the three channels were unavailable due to “technical issues”, but Reporters Without Borders (RSF), a global media watchdog, described the outage as an act of “brazen censorship”.

It slammed the local authorities over the removal of three television channels from the country’s airwaves, saying the move was “indicative of disturbing dictatorial tendencies” as pressure mounts on journalists in Pakistan.

READ MORE: Arrest me if you want to, I won’t run away like your master Musharraf: Hamid Mir

Maryam is the daughter of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif — who is currently behind bars for corruption — and a recent press conference she hosted featured a judge reportedly claiming he had been blackmailed into convicting the former premier.

The move came as Prime Minister Imran Khan’s administration vowed to block any media coverage and interviews of politicians “who are convicts and under trial”.

Earlier this month, Geo News TV abruptly took an interview with former president Asif Ali Zardari off air shortly after it began.

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Several dead and dozens injured in Pakistan train collision

A collision between a passenger train and a stationary freight train near the central town of Rahim Yar Khan in Pakistan has killed at least 10 people, with more than 70 others injured, according to police and hospital officials.

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RAHIM YAR KHAN, Pakistan: A collision between a passenger train and a stationary freight train near the central town of Rahim Yar Khan in Pakistan has killed at least 10 people, with more than 70 others injured, according to police and hospital officials.

The incident on Thursday took place at the Walhar railway station, located about 35km south of Rahim Yar Khan.

“The Akbar Express [passenger train] going from Bahawalpur to Quetta hit a freight train that was parked there at 7.40am,” a local police official told Al Jazeera on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to media.

Senior police official Umar Salamat told local media the collision took place because the passenger train was diverted onto the incorrect track at the station, hitting the parked freight train.

Rescue operations were under way at the collision site, with workers using equipment to get to some of those trapped in the train wreckage, local media reported.

The injured were taken to a nearby government hospital and to a more advanced facility in Rahim Yar Khan, hospital officials said.

Nine of the dead were taken to the government hospital, with more than 60 people injured in the wreck also treated there, Liaquat Chohan, a senior hospital official, told Al Jazeera.

“The injuries were of multiple types – many had fractures, others had bleeding wounds. Some were crushed under objects,” he said.

At least one dead body was also taken to the Sheikh Zayed hospital in Rahim Yar Khan, where 11 of those wounded in the accident were being treated, hospital official Ilyas Ahmer told Al Jazeera.

“One person’s leg was cut off [in the collision], and another is having serious chest surgery,” he said.

‘Emergency steps’

Pakistan’s aging railway network carries both passengers and goods across the country, but suffers periodic derailments and other accidents due to aging infrastructure.

A major Chinese investment in the country is seeking to upgrade the main railway line that connects the length of the country, raising speeds and safety standards.

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan expressed his condolences for those who were killed and injured, and ordered Railways Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad to speed up work on the country’s rail infrastructure.

“Have asked Railways Minister to take emergency steps to counter decades of neglect of railway infrastructure & ensure safety standards,” Khan tweeted after the accident.

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