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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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