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Pakistan: 19% children remained out of school in 2021 - World Asia

No serious improvement witnessed in enrollment in last three years, survey says

The survey said the share of private schools has been dropped by 4 per cent as compared to 2019.Image Credit: AFP

Islamabad: In Pakistan, 19 per cent children remained out of school in the outgoing year 2021 and there was no serious improvement noted as the results of the year 2019 and 2021 are almost the same.

According to the annual report — the largest citizen-led household survey titled Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) Pakistan, 2021 — among the children going to schools 81 per cent were enrolled in the government schools whereas 19 per cent were going to the non-state institutions, 1 per cent in Madrassah (religious seminaries).


The report also highlighted the progress and challenges in the implementation of Article 25-A of the Constitution of Pakistan, which suggests education for all.

The report said that 40 per cent of the government and 23 per cent of the private sector schools imparted multi-grade teaching till grade 8.

The share of private schools has been dropped by 4 per cent as compared to 2019.

Massive increase in paid coaching

The report highlighted that while children in private schools taking tuition has remained at 22 per cent same as in 2019, the paid coaching has recorded a massive jump for children in the government schools from 6 per cent in 2019 to 20 per cent in 2021.

Increase in tuition in government schools by 14 per cent during COVID-19 is a burden on poor households, it said.

This enrolment edge in government schools poses new challenges for supply side actions in terms of facilities and more spaces and teachers for children who can be accommodated, attend and learn above all in public sector as their fundamental entitlement, the ASER report said.

Learning competencies decline

Student competencies in learning language and arithmetic have declined as only 55 per cent of children from grade 5 could read a story in Urdu, Sindhi or Pashto as compared to 59 per cent in 2019, the report said, adding that only 56 per cent of the surveyed students could read sentences in English while 55 per cent could do digit division.

COVID-19 factor

The report found that enrollment and school preparedness figures have indicated some troublesome aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

With regard to the low enrolment districts in all provinces the report suggested it should be targeted for increased enrolment.

However, this provides limited data on early learning in Pakistan, and particularly with regards to out-of-school children, transition rates, gender, and specific learning environments. To inform better poli-cy, there is a need to collect data and figures on these themes.


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