Pakistan has made only one per cent improvement in net primary enrolment rate in the age bracket of five to nine years in fiscal year 2011-12, far below the Millennium Development Goals requirement.
Meanwhile, there was no improvement in the literacy rate of children age- 10 and above.
The Pakistan Economic Survey for the fiscal year 2012-13 has also painted a grim picture of the Higher Education Commission (HEC), with budget cuts in education seeming to be the norm.
Pakistan is struggling to achieve the MDG goal to ensure that boys and girls complete full courses of primary education and another goal promoting gender equality and women empowerment.
According to the survey, net primary enrolment (5-9 years) moved at snail’s pace over the last few years, going up by one per cent per year for the last three years. The MDG target Is 100% primary education by 2015. The literacy rate has also been on a slow upward climb, going from 45% in 2001-02 to 58% in 2011-12.
Under the proposed National Education Policy (NEP) 2009, the literacy rate would be increased to 86% by 2012 by upgrading ongoing adult literacy and non-formal education programmes in the country. The actual performance was far from the 86% figure, as the literacy rate stood at 58% in 2011-12, with 70% male and 47% female literacy. Province-wise date shows Punjab and Sindh lead with 60% literacy, followed by K-P with 52%, and Balochistan at the bottom with 46%.
Gross Enrolment Rates
In a worrying sign, gross enrolment rates (total enrolment at class level regardless of age) at primary level actually fell by one per cent in the last year, declining to 91% in 2011-12 from 92% the year before. Among the provinces, Punjab and K-P remained stable, with 98% and 89% in 2011-12, while Balochistan and Sindh declined from 74% to 69% and from 79% to 84% respectively.
HEC planning and development
According to the survey, disparity has been witnessed in both allocations and total funds released to the HEC by the government.
In the development portfolio of the HEC, there are 168 approved development projects, while only seven new projects were allowed to be included in the Public Sector Development Programmes for 2012-13. The allocation has been revised during 2012-13 from Rs15.80 billion to Rs15.59 billion, but only Rs10.27 billion was released up till April 2013. The HEC would be able to complete 56 development projects during the current financial year if entire development budget were released.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 12th, 2013.