The total number of out-of-school children at primary level in the country has dropped from 6.7 million in 2012-2013 to 6.2 million, says the Pakistan Education Statistics Report 2013-2014 released on Tuesday.
As per the report, the total number of out-of-school children is 2.9 million in Punjab, 0.4 million in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P); 1.8 million in Sindh and 0.54 million in Balochistan.
The report for 2013-2014 is the second such report released this year. Interestingly, the report for 2012-2013 was also released earlier this year.
The latest report was released after the Minister of State for Federal Education and Professional Training Balighur Rehman stressed release of all such pending reports within the current year. He also directed releasing the reports on an annual basis and in time.
Though the report portrays a dismal state of education in the country in general but there is some encouraging development.
“The change is visible because of the four-year National Plan of Action (NPA) launched in 2013,” said Nasir Amin, director general of the Academy of Educational Planning and Management (AEPAM).
The Rs188 billion plan was aimed at ensuring enrollment of 5.1 million children between the ages of five and nine.
Out of the total 11.2 million male primary-school-age children in the country, 2.6 million are out of school.
Of the 2.6 million, about 53 per cent live in the Punjab.
In the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) 24,000 children are out of school, says the report.
Similarly, of the 10.4 million female primary-school-age children, 3.6 million are out of school.
About 43 per cent of the 3.6 million girls live in the Punjab.
According to the report, of all the primary-aged (5-9 years) children, 68 per cent are enrolled in schools.
The highest net primary enrolment recorded is 83 per cent in K-P followed by the ICT 71 per cent and the Punjab 70 per cent.
In Balochistan, the enrollment is slightly above 50 per cent, while in Sindh it is over 60 per cent.
The minister said that there were lots of good things happening in the education sector and the media should shed some light on the positive developments too.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 22nd, 2015.