An improvement has been witnessed in school infrastructure, according to a comparative ranking of the education sector nationwide.
Alif Ailaan’s Pakistan District Education Rankings 2015 compared statistics including enrolment, literacy, learning outcomes, gender ratios and survival rate data from the Pakistan Social and Living Standards Measurement Survey, the National Education Management Information System and the Annual Status of Education Report. The document read that the nation’s overall education score remained steady with the figure recording a 1.67 per cent increase. While the greatest decline was witnessed in the learning score, improvements were recorded across retention and gender parity, the report read.
The Federal Capital Territory topped the ranking with Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) and the Punjab secured the second and third spots respectively. “This represents a reversal from last year when the Punjab secured second place. The province’s score declined by 3.38 per cent while the AJK’s remained unchanged,” the document read.
Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) secured fourth position with its score increasing by 1.69 per cent. Sindh and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) swapped positions with the latter reclaiming the fifth spot. While the K-P recorded a 13.15 per cent increase in its score—the second highest—Sindh’s score dropped by 1.02 per cent. Balochistan and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) remained at the bottom of the league table with the former’s score dropping by 3. 67 per cent and the latter’s score increasing by 15.12 per cent.
The report encompassed all 148 districts and agencies across the AJK, Balochistan, the FATA, the G-B, the K-P, the Punjab and Sindh. The document employed two indices; an educational outcome-based ranking that measured district performance regarding access, retention, learning and gender parity while the second recorded performance on the basis of basic school infrastructure availability. The report said that infrastructure standards across public schools varied more than recorded educational outputs. The document revealed that less than fifty per cent of schools across the FATA, the AJK and Balochistan had functional toilets and provision of clean drinking water for students. The report found that Islamabad, the Punjab and the K-P continued to outpace the national average.
With eight districts from the Punjab securing places in the top ten, the Punjab continued to dominate the ranking, according to the report. Furthermore, the top three spots were taken by Lahore, Rawalpindi and Chakwal, all districts of the Punjab. The document said that only two districts of the province had been ranked below the top 100.
According to the report, only three Punjab districts scored higher than 70, representative of the poor quality of education being imparted. The document said nine Punjab districts had scored over 80 on the education score.
Provincial Assembly’s Standing Committee on Education Chairperson Qamarul Islam Raja told The Express Tribune that shortcomings in the education sector in the Punjab were conspicuous due to the comprehensive monitoring system instituted there. This, he said, was particularly true in comparison to other provinces and territories.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 17th, 2016.