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ASER report sheds light on educational landscape in Balochistan - The News

Students can be seen at a makeshift school in this undated image. — AFP/File

Islamabad: Today marked a significant moment as the ASER Pakistan Provincial Report 2023 was unveiled, shedding light on the educational landscape in Balochistan. Led by Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi (ITA), Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) Pakistan is dedicated to providing accurate assessments of children’s learning, in line with educational goals and Article 25A of the Constitution, says a press release.

The event, attended by Salah Nasar, Secretary of Balochistan, brought together government officials, international non-governmental organisations (INGOs), and development partners. Together, they emphasised the critical need for inclusive education, especially in bridging gender gaps and ensuring access for children with disabilities, girls, and marginalised groups. The launch highlighted collaborative efforts to tackle educational challenges and seize opportunities for improvement.

The report unveiled a significant rise in enrolment rates for both Early Childhood Education (ECE) and children aged 6-16, climbing from 62 per cent in 2021 to 75 per cent in 2023. This increase, particularly notable in rural areas where 90 per cent of children attend public schools, indicates progress in educational access. However, challenges persist in resources and quality, especially in rural areas. ASER 2023 also pointed out the encouraging trend of narrowing gender gaps in enrolment and learning, but disparities persist, particularly concerning gender and wealth inequalities, as well as issues related to disabilities. Urgent action and collaboration are essential to ensure inclusive education and a supportive learning environment for all children.

Although literacy and numeracy showed improvement from 2014 to 2019, the Covid-19 pandemic caused setbacks, notably in numeracy rates, underscoring the need for focused efforts to enhance learning outcomes. Investing in Early Years education, especially at the foundational level of grade 3, is crucial for building a strong educational base and improving overall learning outcomes across Balochistan.

Additionally, the report stressed the importance of addressing moderate learning levels for out-of-school children (OOSC), with innovative programmes required to reintegrate them effectively into the education system. While improvements in school facilities were noted, challenges persist, including declines in certain amenities exacerbated by recent floods. Attention is also needed to tackle declines in multi-grade teaching and teacher attendance to ensure quality education delivery. ASER’s comprehensive data on climate change’s impact on education and households highlights the urgent need for its integration into the education system, alongside efforts to improve birth registration, health, and immunisation services. Despite a 13 per cent improvement in enrolment levels in 2023 (from 62 per cent in 2021 to 75 per cent in 2023), Balochistan still ranks the lowest in learning levels.

These insights serve as vital benchmarks to guide policy and advocacy efforts aimed at enhancing education access and quality for all children in Balochistan, reaffirming the commitment to leave no child behind in the pursuit of quality education and lifelong learning.


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