Of all the issues facing Pakistan’s educational system, out-of-school children are the most pressing concern with severe socio-economic ramifications. The gravity of the issue is much more serious in Sindh with approximately 6.2 million children out of school. It has been over a decade since the state made a promise for every child to be provided free education. However, so far, no practical or result-oriented measures have been undertaken.
There is a wide number of non-functional schools, and no considerable progress has been made to address this issue since 2010. Earlier this year, during a Sindh High Court hearing on free education and reforms, the existing educational secretary submitted a report acknowledging that 6,866 schools were closed and approximately 7,974 schools were non-functional. There has been a considerable push by political parties, civil society organisations, and the media to make education part of the national pragmatic agenda reforms agenda. However, it has yet to bear a result.
The education system in Sindh requires a lot of work, resources, and consistent educational reform policies. Without these, the education system will continue deteriorating. The provincial authorities also need to address the underlying issues plaguing the education infrastructure and root out the causes for the increasing number of out-of-school children.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 26th, 2021.