According to Article 25-A in the Constitution of Pakistan, the state must provide free education to children between the ages of 5 and 16 years. However, despite more than 5 years since Article 25-A came into force, the state of education in Pakistan remains alarmingly dismal.
Instead of going into a lengthy academic debate, let’s just take a quick look at some key statistics to see where Pakistan stands with regard to educating its children.
Every 10th Out of School Child in the World is a Pakistani
Pakistan has the second highest number of out of school children in the world. Every tenth out of school child in the world is a Pakistani child.
47% Children Are Out of School
The total number of children between the ages of 5 – 16 years in Pakistan stands at 50.8 million. In lay person’s terms this figure would be 5 crore 8 lakhs. Of these children, 24 million (or 2 crore 40 lakh) are still out of school!
77% of these out of school children have never been to school at all. 23% had been to school in the past but dropped out.
Very Few Pakistani Children Transition from Primary to Secondary Education
Primary education is extremely important on its own, however it is equally important for children to transition towards higher grades. Every added year of education not only adds to his/her knowledge but also ensures better earning prospects as an adult.
Unfortunately, we have been unsuccessful in ensuring that every school going child transitions towards secondary education.
The net enrollment rate at primary level stands at 57%. This sharply drops to 22% in middle schools and becomes 14% in high school.
The Dream of a Literate Pakistan Won’t Come True for Another 60 Years
It is not that there has not been any progress at all. Over the years efforts made by the government, the United Nations and NGOs have helped improve the state of education in the country.
However, more needs to be done at a much faster pace. If the current rate of progress stays as it is, it won’t be until 2076 that every Pakistani child is finally in school.
If Pakistan ever needed to do something on war footing, it is to improve the country’s education indicators. We can possibly not imagine a prosperous Pakistan without giving every child his/her right to education.
- All facts and figures have been taken from Ali Ailaan.
- This is the first article in a weekly series highlighting the education emergency in Pakistan.