News Details

Schoolchildren not learning much

KARACHI: According to the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) Pakistan-2016 launched here on Tuesday by the Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi (ITA) many children may be attending schools but they are not learning much.

According to Baela Raza Jamil, ITA’s CEO, data for their latest report was collected from 144 rural districts where they visited 4,205 villages.

ASER volunteers visited some 83,324 households to see how 255,269 children were being educated. They also visited 5,540 schools in these areas.

There findings showed that 36 per cent of all school-aged children within the age bracket of three to five years were enrolled in schools as compared to 37pc in 2015. Of these 63pc attended government schools and 37pc private schools.

Meanwhile, 81pc of all school-aged children within the age bracket of six to 16 years were enrolled in schools of which 74pc happened to be government schools and 26 private.

ASER report 2016 launched

The learning levels showed that 52pc of class five students could read Urdu, Sindhi and Pushto, 46pc could read sentences in English while 48pc could do two digit division in arithmetic.

Looking at the facilities at primary schools, teacher attendance in government schools remained 87pc and in private schools it was 92pc. The children’s attendance was 83pc in government schools and 84pc in private schools.

Some 60pc of government schools had usable water whereas in private schools it was 85pc.

There were 54pc toilets which could be called usable in government schools and in the private schools 84pc were in working order. Then 65pc of government schools had boundary walls while 81pc of private schools had them.

Financial grants were received by 37pc government schools and 4pc of private schools.

Other indicators showed that 68pc households had smartphones, computers, solar panels. Baela Raza Jamil wondered if there were progressive innovations at home then why not in schools.

Listening to some of the findings of the report, the Minister for Education and Literacy Jan Metab Hussain Dahar said that it has and will influence learning outcomes, which will make a difference to human development and the right to education.

“Our mission to have every child in school can be helped through such extensive surveys,” he said while congratulating ASER’s 10,000 or so volunteers who went from home to home to collect the data.

Secretary school education and literacy Abdul Aziz Uqaili, also said that the ASER report helps in telling them what is working for the education department and what is not.

“It helps us understand the ground realities,” he said.

“The school education department is progressive and forward-looking and has an open-door policy for partnerships,” he said.

Dr Farukh Iqbal, dean and director of Institute of Business Administration, said that from the report he was puzzled to observe that despite improvement in access to education the quality of education had not improved.

“Many children are attending schools but they are not learning much,” he said.

Edward Davis, senior education adviser, Department of International Development, said that the report told him two stories. “One story is that of the rich boy who is going to achieve higher education and the other story is of the poor girl who will fall way behind,” he said.

Ameena Saiyid, managing director of Oxford University Press, wondered aloud about what could be done to turn education around.

“We are all addressing the challenges of education here. We also need to come together and work for education,” she said.

Published in Dawn, September 27th, 2017


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