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Quality of education remains a concern in rural districts report - Dawn News

ISLAMABAD: Education quality remains a concern in rural districts in Pakistan, with 41pc of surveyed fifth graders unable to read a story in Urdu and 45pc unable to read sentences in English, according to a report launched on Monday.

The Annual Status of Education Report was compiled and launched by Idara-i-Taleem-i-Aagahi. It is based on a survey conducted in 155 rural districts covering 92,008 households.

The launch was attended by Minister for Defence Production Zubaida Jalal, MNA Mehnaz Akber Aziz, Gilgit-Baltistan Education Minister Mohammad Ibrahim Snai, Mosharraf Zaidi, Baela Raza Jamil, Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Dr Jahanzeb Khan, Department for International Development Deputy Head Kemi Williams, Oxfam country head Mohammad Qazilbash and others.

The participants also held a discussion on how to improve the education sector.

The report said that 41pc of students in grade five could not read a second grade level story in Urdu, Sindh or Pashto, while 45pc of fifth graders could not read second grade level sentences.

Says 41pc of fifth graders unable to read Urdu story, 45pc unable to read English sentences

The report said that 84pc of third graders could not read second grade level sentences, and 43pc of fifth grade students could do two digit division.

But, the report added, although the level of quality is alarming there has been improvement in learning outcomes compared to previous years.

It said that 17pc of children were reported to be out of school in 2019, the same as the previous year. A survey of 20 urban centres across Pakistan found that just 6pc of children were out of school.

With 40pc of the population living in urban areas, this presents an opportunity to accelerate universal access for urban five to 16 year olds while also focusing on rural areas.

The report also pointed out missing facilities in schools, stating that 39pc of primary schools in Pakistan do not have usable water facilities for students and teachers, 41pc do not have usable toilets and 56pc do not have computer labs.

The report found that 98pc of government primary schools do not have ramps for disabled students and 96pc do not have disabled-friendly toilets.

Regarding the progress and challenges to Article 25-A of the Constitution, as well as progress towards Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4, the report said the government has endorsed and is committed to meeting the SDGs by 2030 to end poverty with an educationally entitled society as elaborated in SDG-4, its seven targets and three means of implementation.

The report said Azad Kashmir, Gilgit-Baltistan and Punjab have recorded a slim annual increase in enrolment – between 1pc and 2pc.

The report also found a decline in the number of children enrolled in private schools; 23pc of children between six and 16 were enrolled in private schools in 2019, compared to 30pc in 2014. The report said the shift to government and public sector schools increased the enrolment share from 70pc in 2014 to 77pc in 2019.

The report said that the attendance of teachers in public and private schools stood at 89pc on the day of the survey. Private school teachers were reported to have better qualifications at graduate levels – 40pc compared to 33pc in government schools; however, a when it came to masters qualifications a larger percentage of public sector teachers had higher qualifications than their private school counterparts.

The report said that multi-grade classrooms highlight teacher shortages.

Published in Dawn, February 11th, 2020

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