Pakistan’s literacy rate in 2012-13 went up by two per cent, but closer analysis shows that the entire education system was effectively piggy-backing on Punjab’s successes.
The statistics on education were part of the Pakistan Economic Survey 2013-14 on Monday at the Planning Commission.
According to the report, the literacy rate among the people aged 10 and above at the national level was 60 per cent last year as compared to 58 per cent in 2010-11.
Province-wise comparison reveals that Punjab leads with 62 per cent, followed by Sindh 60 per cent, Khyber–Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) at 52 per cent and Balochistan at 44 per cent.
The literacy rate for Islamabad is 86 per cent.
Universal Primary Education
The second Millennium Development Goal (MDG) aims to achieve 100 per cent primary school enrolment and an 88 per cent overall literacy rate by 2015, but Pakistan lags behind and there has been no change in the percentage which is stagnant at 57 like previous year.
Net Enrolment Rate (NER)
NER at primary level excluding kindergarten was 57 per cent nationwide in 2012-13, compared to 56 per cent last year.
Girls have lower enrolment rates (54%) than boys (61%). Similarly, rural areas have 54 per cent NER as opposed to 67 per cent in urban areas.
The province-wise comparison reveals that NER in Punjab increased from 61% to 62%. Conversely, Sindh, at 52 per cent, witnessed a one per cent decrease. Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa registered a three per cent increase and was at 54 per cent whereas NER in Balochistan came down to 45 per cent, registering a two per cent decline.
According to the survey, public expenditure on education as percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is lowest in Pakistan compared to other countries of the south Asia.
Pakistan, registering a literacy rate of 60 per cent, ranks the lowest in terms of education expenditure in the region.
Iran spends about 4.7 per cent of GDP with literacy rate of 85 per cent. India spends about 3.1 per cent with literacy rate of 73 per cent. Maldives lead in the region with 11 per cent spending and with a literacy rate of 99 per cent.
At the national level, a decline of 2.4 per cent was observed in preprimary enrolment as this year it dropped to 9.28 million from 9.51 million in the previous one.
However, it is estimated to increase by two per cent during 2013-14.
Overall, based on key indicators such as likely enrolments, number of institutes and teachers, the state of education has shown a slight improvement.
The total number of enrolments last year was estimated at 41.1 million as compared to 40.3 million during the same period the previous year. This shows an increase of 2 per cent. It is estimated to increase to 42.2 million during 2013-14.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 3rd, 2014.