How to Enhance Education in Pakistan


The insufficient government funding in education, combined with unsatisfactory results in terms of universal school enrollment and effective learning, impedes the active engagement of Pakistan’s citizens in economic and social activities, thereby limiting productivity and economic growth. The challenges, notably the substantial number of out-of-school children and the prevalence of learning poverty present a complex situation with seemingly insurmountable costs. It is widely acknowledged that the government has a crucial role to play in tackling this issue. Although there may be questions and objections about the feasibility and specifics of this undertaking, this article aims to present an overview of the main aspects and offer valuable insights into the essential steps required to accomplish this objective.

1.  Low Spending On Education

These crises have worsened an already alarming situation, with Pakistan having the world’s second-highest number of out-of-school children, estimated at 20.5 million prior to these events. With a poverty rate of 74%, the nation had a serious problem even before the outbreak. This indicates that a considerable percentage of 11-year-olds lack the necessary skills to read and comprehend texts appropriate for their age. The difficulties in the schooling sector negatively impact the most disadvantaged groups in society. Notably, teaching poverty is most prevalent among the poorest individuals, and children from impoverished backgrounds, particularly those in rural areas, face higher rates of being out of school.

To address this pressing issue, a different approach is required, one that utilizes available information to strategically target education programs and optimize the impact of limited resources. Currently, discussions and analyses tend to oversimplify the situation by categorizing all out-of-school children as a homogeneous group. This approach severely hampers the effectiveness of policy interventions aimed at reducing the number of out-of-school children. Understanding the diverse characteristics of these children is vital. Below are some main characteristics to think about:

  • The Majority Are Females

Before the outbreak of the pandemic, the percentage of girls not enrolled in school stood at 36 percent, while for boys in the age group of 5 to 15, the figure was 26 percent.

  • They Are More Prone To Reside In Rural Regions

Around 36 percent, or approximately 15 million, of children between the ages of 5 and 15 who live in rural areas were not enrolled in school. On the other hand, 21 percent, which is equivalent to 4.5 million children, in urban areas were also not attending school. This discrepancy has remained unchanged over the past twenty years.

  • They Are Likely To Be Older

The number of children not attending school increases as they progress beyond primary school. In the 2018/19 academic year, 41 percent of children in secondary school-age were out of school, which is higher compared to 23 percent of children of middle school age and 24 percent of children of primary school age.

  • The Quantity And Proportion Of Out-Of-School Children Significantly Vary Among Provinces.

Punjab is home to approximately 54 percent of all out-of-school children, while Sindh accounts for 24 percent, which totals nearly 15 million children. However, it is worth noting that Baluchistan and Sindh have the highest provincial rates of out-of-school children in the country.

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