With 13 million girls out of school, Pakistan has the second-largest number of out-of-school female students in the world, a report by Alif Ailaan has revealed.
Published last week, the report revealed that of the 24 million Pakistani children out of school, 53% were girls. The greatest disparity between out of school girls and boys was found in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, where 52% girls were out of school, compared to 21% boys in the province.
The report also noted that while the net enrolment rate for girls was 53% at the primary level, for boys it stood at 60%. Furthermore, of the total 154,918 government education institutions nationwide, only 58,042 (37%) catered to girls and young women only.
According to a household survey conducted as part of the study, “The most frequently reported reasons for girls not attending school was unwillingness on part of either parents or children.” The results of the survey showed “lack of basic facilities in schools, poor quality of education, teacher absenteeism and corporal punishment in some cases,” as some of the factors contributing to this.
Highlighting the importance of female education, the report read; “The neonatal mortality rate among mothers with no education is 65 per 1,000 live births, compared to 27 per 1,000 live births among those who have completed higher than secondary education.”
The report added that female education could improve health as “Only 40% of mothers with no education immunise their children, compared to 74% of mothers with a middle, secondary or high school education.” Further, “39% of children born to mothers with no education are underweight. For mothers with secondary or higher education, this figure drops down to 10 per cent.”