Universal education: A joke

Published: June 12, 2013
Net primary enrolment (5-9 years) moved at snail’s pace over the last few years. PHOTO: INP/ FILE

Net primary enrolment (5-9 years) moved at snail’s pace over the last few years. PHOTO: INP/ FILE


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.

Primary education

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.

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Reader Comments (7)

  • Haris Chaudhry
    Jun 12, 2013 - 4:31AM

    The literacy rate has also been on a
    slow upward climb, going from 45% in
    2001-02 to 58% in 2011-12.

    This is quite an impressive outcome for a country like ours where hardly anything improves ! The increase represents almost a 30% net increase in literacy over the past decade which is in my opinion quite an achievement.

    I dont know why the headline is so gloomy ! If we could get another 30% net increase in the next 10 years, our literacy rate would jump to over 76% which will again be a very significant improvement.


  • Usman
    Jun 12, 2013 - 6:09AM

    One wonders what was stopping PMLN from improving Punjab for the last 5 years?


  • Reason
    Jun 12, 2013 - 8:03AM

    @Haris Chaudhry:
    Literacy rate improved 30% and we had additional improvement with our population and the immigrants. That’s why the picture is gloomy. The literacy rate should increase as the population increases, that is the purpose.


  • Dr. Khalid
    Jun 12, 2013 - 8:31AM

    Although I agree with Haris, but I don’t know if I can trust those numbers!


  • gp65
    Jun 12, 2013 - 11:24AM

    @Haris Chaudhry: You are correct that a 30% decadal improvement is indeed impressive (if the numbers are reliable). However, 30% improvement on a base of 45 is relatively easier compared to 30% iprovement on a based of 58. Apart from the obvious base effect there is another issue. At 45%, you can improve simply by scooping up out of school kids and putting them in school. To get from 58 to 76% you have to deal with adult illiterates and that is a whole different ballgameRecommend

  • A Peshawary
    Jun 12, 2013 - 12:37PM

    @Haris Chaudhry:

    Why the headline is Gloomy? Negative frame of mind what else could be reason; a happy and mostly like appetite for media consumption.

    A Peshawary


  • ashar
    Jun 12, 2013 - 3:07PM

    land Reform is the only solution to this problem.


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