ISLAMABAD: While the lion’s share of the Sindh budget goes to education - the allocation increasing each year - the national education rankings articulate a different tale.
The Pakistan District Education Ranking 2016, a report compiled by education campaign Alif Ailaan, reveals that the overall largest decrease in learning scores has been witnessed in Sindh this year. “The lowest learning score is seen in Sindh,” said the campaign’s research chief Saman Naz while presenting the highlights on a PowerPoint presentation at Hill View Hotel, Islamabad, on Tuesday.
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Since the last four years, Alif Ailaan has been launching district-based reports, which focus on education score keeping in view the access, retention, learning and gender parity in educational institutes across the country. This year’s report was launched on the federal level in Islamabad, taking all the stakeholders from each province on board. Sindh is even below the average of the country, which is 66.54 points, reveals the report.
The findings of the education score, for the fourth consecutive year, suggest that Islamabad ranks highest among all the provinces and territories, while Sindh remains at the same rank — sixth — it was last year. There is a decline in the education score of almost two per cent points in Sindh.
The province’s educational performance has been persistently poor. Only six districts — Karachi [counted as one district] Naushero Feroz, Dadu, Larkana, Khairpur and Sukkur — appear in the top half of the rankings table.
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While Karachi secured the 43rd rank from all over the country, it is also the only district from Sindh that managed to get into the top 50 districts. Moreover, the report also states that Thatta was the worst performing district in the province due to low retention score.
Talking about primary school infrastructure rankings, Naz said 91% of the total educational institutes in Sindh are primary schools, which directly increase dropout ratio as students who finish primary education have no access to higher level schools for acquiring further education. About school infrastructure rankings, she said Larkana is the highest ranked district in Sindh at the 53rd position. Karachi stands at 57th, mainly because of reduction in the availability of electricity and toilets.
Sharing findings regarding school facilities’ completeness score in Sindh, Naz pointed out that Karachi is the only district in the province in which 50% of schools have all of four facilities: toilet, water, electricity and boundary walls. “Nineteen out of 29 districts in Sindh have less than 40% schools [that have] all of these basic facilities available,” said Naz, quoting the report.
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Among the eight awarded rankings, which were given to the four provinces, the capital, Federally Administered Tribal Areas and Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Sindh stands at the bottom of the list of primary schools, having the most number of single-classroom schools. Sindh has 26.5% single-classroom schools, while the entire country as a whole has only 16% primary schools that have a single classroom.
A district’s score can be improved through greater effort in improving and ensuring the availability of facilities, which can lead to improved infrastructure scores and, therefore, improved ranks of districts. The availability of facilities such as toilets for girls can help improve female enrolments, the report suggests.
To improve learning scores, teachers’ accountability and performance management can result in improved learning and retention. Enrolment drives to induct out-of-school children, backed by improved infrastructure and teachers’ quality may also boost enrolment, says the report.
Explaining the comparative conclusions of the report for Sindh, Naz shared a slide about how Sindh’s education status remained at the sixth rank in the educational score while the only achievement in Sindh is to get six districts in the top half of the rankings. Even with this achievement, none of Sindh’s districts is in the top 40 ranks.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 25th, 2016.
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