LAHORE: With Pakistan spending only 2.3% of its GDP on education, the country is unlikely to achieve its target of ‘Universal Primary Education for All’ by 2015, states the 2012 Education for All (EFA) Global Monitoring Report.
The 10th EFA report titled ‘Putting Education to Work’ is expected to be released globally today (Tuesday). It maintains that despite having committed itself to the particular United Nations Millennium Development Goal, Pakistan still has the second largest number of out of school children: around 5.1 million.
Of the 5 million, 63% are girls. However, there are 3 million less out of school children than there were in 1999.
Out of the 775 million illiterate adults in the world, 50 million are in Pakistan, making the country’s illiteracy rate the third highest in the world. It also mentions that 36% of Pakistanis, nearly 12 million, have not completed primary schooling. This leaves Pakistan with the second highest number of unskilled young people, just after India.
It says Pakistan has decreased its spending on education from 2.6% of its GDP to 2.3% in the past decade. This, according to the report, is one of the prime reasons for Pakistan lagging behind.
“One of the reasons EFA goals are not being achieved in Pakistan is insufficient investment in education,” Director of EFA Global Monitoring Report Dr Pauline Rose told The Express Tribune.
Dr Rose said that with just 2.3% of GDP being spent on education, greater political will is required to ensure all children attend school. “For each dollar invested in education, a country benefits by at least $10 in growth.”
This year’s report paints a gloomy picture with progress towards achieving the education goals stagnating, said Dr Rose. “This is an urgent wake-up call for the government and donors to do more in the final push towards the 2015 deadline.”
Claiming that almost half of rural women in the country have never been to school, it adds that the same holds true for only 14% of men.
The EFA Global Monitoring Report is a tool to assess global progress towards achieving education goals. This year, the report focuses on improving youth skills development programmes to ensure provision of greater work opportunities.
The EFA Global Monitoring Report will be launched on October 18 in Islamabad, October 24 in Lahore and later in November in Karachi.
Edited by Alihaider Habib
Published in The Express Tribune, October 16th, 2012.