Still 18pc children out of school, those enrolled not learning either

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Annual education status report shares startling revelations

Zubair Qureshi

Despite the recent focus of the federal and provincial governments on enrolment drives to honour Article 25 A, 19pc children between the age of 6 and 16 years are still out of school. This was reveals the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER-2016) National survey. The remaining 81pc are not learning much either. These findings were made public in the report which is the 7th ASER Survey report here on Wednesday.
About 10,000 volunteer citizens visited 144 districts in 4,205 villages. The ASER survey findings are based on the information gathered from 83,324 households and 255,269 children of age 3-16 years. For the year 2016, the ASER rural survey assessed 216, 365 children of 5-16 year age cohort in Language (Urdu/Sindhi/Pashto), English, and Arithmetic competencies.
The report aims to inform the progress or lack thereof with respect to Article 25 A of the constitution making education a fundamental right for 5-16 year old children since 2010 and also for tracking progress towards SDG 4 measuring learning at the lower primary level. Parliamentarians across political parties, they must decide between a future based on an educated Pakistan and a dead end that marginalizes learning and undervalues social capital. The narrative on education must change dramatically under the current and future democratic dispensation
Proportion of out-of-school children is still the same as compared to 2015. In 2016, 19pc of children were reported to be out-of-school. This is unfortunate as the SDG 4 goal and targets have been fully endorsed by the Government of Pakistan and its provinces/areas are engaged in aligning their sector plans to the promise made both for SDG 4 (12 years of schooling) and Article 25 A (the right to education of 5-16 year olds). AJK, Punjab, Sindh, GB and FATA all recorded increases in enrolment ranging between 1.4pc to 4.5pc. ASER 2016 rural results illustrate a considerable number of children going to non-state schools; 26pc of age 6-16 are enrolled in private sector in 2016 while last year the percentage was 24pc. Only Punjab and ICT registered a positive shift in enrolment into public sector schools while in KP and Sindh, the share remains the same as 2015.