As many as 25.5 per cent of children (aged five to 16 years) in Sargodha are not enrolled in a school, states a survey carried out by the National Commission for Human Development.
The NCHD annual report shared with the media at a seminar on Tuesday stated that these included 16.3 per cent five-year-old children and 13.2 per cent six to 16 years old children.
As many as 38 per cent of the fifth grade students interviewed in the survey faced difficulty in reading and writing Urdu. In 5-16 age group, 15.8 per cent of the school going children performed poorly in reading and writing Urdu and 19.9 per cent in reading and writing English.
The survey found that 72 per cent of the school going children were enrolled in public-sector schools and 27.2 per cent in private schools.
As many as 10.4 per cent of public school students and 21.7 per cent of private school students were getting after-school tuitions in the evenings.
As many as 46 per cent of the women interviewed for the survey were illiterate.
Speakers at the seminar criticised the Education policy of the provincial government. They said the policy was focused only on development of infrastructure and neglected the quality of education imparted at the schools.
However, the survey found, the quality of education in public schools was marginally better than that in private schools, NCHD district manager Syed Umer Daraz told the seminar.
Other speakers said that successive governments had neglected the quality of education and focused only on upgrade of physical infrastructure. Such school systems, they said, could not be relied upon to prepare students for higher education and were responsible for the poor performance of most students in colleges and universities.
“Civic behaviour is shaped by (your) education. School teachers should be qualified enough to ensure that they train children to become productive members of society,” one of the speakers said.
District coordination officer Azmat Mahmood and EDO (Education) Muhammad Mansha were present at the seminar.
Talking to The Express Tribune, EDO (Education) Muhammad Mansha said they had recently launched an enrolment campaign in the district.
He said it was personally monitoring the campaign and would ensure that no child in the 5-16 age group was left out. He said efforts were also underway to improve the quality of education at schools.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 25th, 2012.