ASER NewsGo Back
Year 2022
Punjab Launch

Number of out-of-school children in Punjab up by 5pc: Dawn News

LAHORE: Fourteen per cent children of school age are not attending schools in rural districts of Punjab – a five per cent increase from nine per cent out-of-school children recorded in 2019.

For the first time, the number of out-of-school boys (8pc) has surpassed the girls (6pc) by two per cent in the rural areas.

“About six per cent girls and eight per cent boys are out of school in the rural districts of Punjab,” says Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) Punjab Rural 2021.

However, the learning level of children, mostly fifth graders, improved in public schools.

The report titled, ASER Punjab Rural- 2021, the largest annual citizen-led household survey, was launched on Tuesday. It calls for urgent action to be taken for an educated Punjab to halt the protracted devaluing of its social capital.

ASER Pakistan is a flagship program of Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi (ITA). In Punjab, it collected data from 35 districts, 20,062 households, 1,018 villages, 51,067 children (54pc males, 46oc females) belonging to the age group of three to 16 years. Out of these, 44,670 children aged 5-16 years were assessed in grade-2 level language and arithmetic skills.

At least 910 government schools and 446 private schools were surveyed. ASER Pakistan tracks children’s enrollment covering age group of 3-16 and learning outcomes for 5-16 years old, aligned to Article 25 –as a fundamental constitution right and Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4.


In 2021, 14pc of children in Punjab were reported to be out of school with an increase of five per cent compared to 2019 (nine PC); there is an increase in out-of-school children (OOSC) across Pakistan during the Covid-19.

In Punjab, the OOSC, 6pc were never enrolled in a school and 8pc dropped out of school. This calls for the urgency to address the issue through second chance accelerated and bridge programmes through both non-formal education and mainstreamed SED schools in afternoon/morning shifts on a fast track.

Eighty-six per cent of all school-age children (6-16 years) were enrolled in schools, including 77pc in government schools, 23pc were in the non-state institutions (22 pc private schools and one per cent madrasa). Private schools enrollment dropped by 5pc, which can be improved by supporting low-cost NSPs/private schools in the rural areas through the Punjab Education Foundation.

For early childhood education (ECE) (3-5 years), the proportion of enrolled children has decreased in 2021 (43pc) as compared to 2019 (52pc). Fifty-seven children of age 3-5 are currently not enrolled in any ECE program in Punjab. Hence, a campaign for ECE in Punjab, foundational learning and holistic ECE health/nutrition is urgently needed.

The report said that the learning losses are a trend across Pakistan, including Punjab as 68pc of class 5 children could read a class 2 level story in Urdu, compared to 75 pc in 2019. English learning levels (in class 5) improved marginally with 73pc of children being able to read English sentences (class 2 level) compared to 71 pc in 2019. Sixty-nine per cent class 5 children could do two-digit division as compared to 82pc in 2019. This requires continuity of learning with outcomes programmes – built on hybrid/ICT efforts.

Children enrolled in private schools are performing better compared to their government counterparts in Urdu (7pc gap) and arithmetic (5pc gap).

However, learning levels of class 5 children have improved in government schools as 65pc class 5 children in government schools can read English sentences, compared to 63pc private school children.

Gender gap in learning continues as the boys outperform girls (age 5-16) in literacy and numeracy skills. Fifty-four per cent of boys and 51pc of girls can read at least sentences in Urdu. 58 pc boys could read at least English words while 56pc of girls could do the same. Similarly, 53pc of boys are able to do at least subtraction whereas only 52 pc girls could do it. Twenty-two per cent teachers of the surveyed government schools have done graduation as compared to 37pc teachers of the surveyed private schools. However, 31pc in government schools have done M.Ed compared to 16pc in private schools.

Private tuition incidence is greater in private school students. Overall paid tuition for students in private schools is 38 pc compared to 30 pc in government schools.

Regarding the learning support received during the Covid-19 by children, the report says that 63pc got support from PTV Tele School sessions, 63pc availed support from family members, 45pc had access to smartphones, 31pc had computers, 35pc paid tuition, 12pc used digital learning resources and 11pc accessed radio programmes for learning support.

In Punjab, 77pc of households have mobile phones and 71pc smart phones. Amongst mobile users, 92pc use WhatsApp whilst 68pc use SMS facility, 29pc have internet and 24pc have computer/laptops, 81pc households have TV and 18pc have radio.

Published in Dawn, April 6th, 2022

Out of school - The News

Punjab, the largest province of Pakistan, with nearly 120 million people has a relatively advanced industrial base and better agricultural areas thanks to its water resources. If a province of this size and capacity cannot put all – or at least almost all – its children to school, something has gone very wrong in how we have imagined and conducted governance and education management. According to the latest Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) for Punjab, 14 percent of children that are of school age in the rural districts of the province are not attending schools. This shows a five percent increase – in 2019 it was at nine percent. Traditionally, there have been more out-of-school girls than boys in Punjab, but now this trend has changed; for the first time more boys are not attending schools than girls in the rural areas of the province. Regardless of girl or boy, this is an alarming situation and calls for urgent action. Pakistan is celebrating its 75th independence anniversary in 2022 and it should be a matter of great concern for our education managers who have not been able to achieve universal literacy rate, what to talk of universal primary education.

At the turn of the century, numerous initiatives were launched with a view to achieving full literacy by 2010; then the goalpost was extended to 2020. And now we are still not sure when all our children will be enrolled in schools. A major reason for this inability to enroll all our children in schools is increasing poverty. When poor families find it hard to make two square meals available to their children, it is difficult to persuade them to send their children to schools when they can just as easily get them employed. With nearly one-fifth of our population living in extreme poverty and a similar number in poverty, child labour is rampant. The situation has further deteriorated after the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic which has sapped the economic potential of many families belonging to the lower socio-economic strata.

There have been various commissions and foundations claiming to be working for the school enrolment of Punjab’s children but somehow the root cause is not addressed, resulting in children working rather than going to school. It is no longer an issue of non-availability of schools or teachers. It is the dire financial situation of the parents that needs attention. Combined with poor teaching quality, which leads to school dropouts, this vicious cycle has been continuing for too long, and needs some serious consideration. Since the budget-making exercise is round the corner – despite the current constitutional crisis in the country – it is time to allocate more resources to incentivize at least primary education by offering stipends or meals at schools so that more children enroll and attend school.

Not a happy scene - Business Recorder

EDITORIAL: The latest Annual Status of Education Report (ASER), a citizens-led initiative aimed at providing reliable estimates on schooling status of children, shows that 14 percent school age children are out of school in rural districts of Punjab, which is a five percent drop from 2019.

The data is based on survey of 35 districts; 20, 062 households in 1,018 villages; 51,067 children (54 pc boys and 46 pc girls). In part, this may be attributable to Covid-19 pandemic which hit this country in 2019.

The Economic Survey of Pakistan 2020-2021 report also notes that the education-related expenditure witnessed a decline in the fiscal year 2020 due to the closure of educational institutions amid country-wide lockdowns and decrease in current expenditure (other than salaries) due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Even before that, however, the literacy rate left a lot to be desired. It was way back in 1973 that Article 24-A of the Constitution said “the State shall provide free and compulsory education to all children under the age of five to sixteen years.” Sad as it is, 48 years later the national enrolment rate remains dismal.

During the recent years, it has either stagnated or decreased. Punjab though has done better than the other provinces with literacy rate at 64 percent followed by Sindh with 58 percent, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (excluding merged tribal areas) with 53 percent and Baluchistan with 46 percent. One positive development in the case of Punjab is that learning outcomes, according to ASER’s findings, have improved for fifth graders in public sector schools - presumably, in urban areas.

Its enrolment rate, it seems, is also higher than the other provinces because a previous PML-Q government had started providing incentives such as free books and uniforms. Introduced later was a monthly stipend of Rs 1000 for boys and Rs 1500 for girls (or was it Rs 1500 and 2000, respectively?) to encourage their families to send them to school.

Last year, inspired by the success of that programme the PTI government announced monthly stipends of Rs 3,000 for girls and Rs 2,500 for boys in 6th to 10th class in public sector schools. It also set a target of enrolling 1.75 million children, one million in primary class, and 500,000 in secondary and 225,000 in higher secondary schools. With the change in government that target must not fall by the wayside.

As for the out of school children at present, ASER has called for giving them a second chance through non-formal education, and to mainstream them in special education schools’ afternoon/morning classes. It is hoped that this important suggestion will get serious consideration where it matters.

Other provinces must also assign education the priority it deserves. Needless to say, the future socio-economic progress of this country depends on what these governments invest in human development right from the start.


Number of out-of-school children increases by 5 percent in rural Punjab: Mashable Pakistan

The statistic was revealed by the Annual Status of Education Report Punjab 2021

“About six per cent girls and eight per cent boys are out of school in the rural districts of Punjab,” according to the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) - Punjab Rural 2021. That’s a five per cent jump in the total percentage of out of school children compared to 2019.

This report, that focuses exclusively on Punjab’s rural areas, comes a month after the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2021 was launched. The latter had revealed that 19% of children in the country remained out of school last year.

The ASER - Punjab rural is based on a citizen-led survey conducted by the Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi (ITA). 20,062 households from 35 districts in Punjab were included. 51,067 children (54pc males, 46pc females) belonging to the age group of 3 to 16 years took part in the survey. 910 government schools and 446 private schools were also surveyed

For the first time ever the number of out-of-school boys (8pc) has exceeded the number of out-of-school girls (6pc) in rural areas. Dropout rates also remain high for 2021 at 8 percent.

The increase in out-of-school children (OOSC) occurred nationwide during the Covid-19 pandemic as more and more children turned to child labor to help thier families make ends meet. The report calls for urgent action to address the losses in learning that have occurred due to the pandemic.

For early childhood education – children aged 3 to 5 years – the proportion of children enrolled in 2021 (43pc) decreased by 9 percent compared to 2019 (52 percent).

As is usually the case, children enrolled in private schools performed better on Urdu and arithmetic tests than their public school peers.

Only 68 percent of grade 5 children could read a grade 2 level story in Urdu, compared to 75 percent in 2019. English learning levels (for 5th graders) improved slightly with 73 percent able to read grade 2 level English sentences compared to 71 percent in 2019.

During Covid-19 most children received learning support through PTV tele school sessions, family members, the internet, tuitions or radio programs.


Contact Us
1/A, Canal Park, Gulberg II, Lahore, Pakistan
Tel: (+92) (42) 35711107-9

Engage with ASER
©  All Rights are Reserved to ASERPAKISTAN.ORG