The neglected Mega Project

PAKISTAN District Education Ranking 2017, released on Thursday, portrays a dismal picture of the state of education especially in Sindh, Balochistan and KP. Azad Jammu and Kashmir can legitimately take pride in securing first position followed by Islamabad Capital Territory and Punjab. Gilgit-Baltistan is at number four as far as quality of education is concerned, KP at five, Balochistan has improved its position to six and Sindh has dropped to seven in the ranking based on retention from primary to middle and middle to high schools, learning among students and gender parity.
The study by Alif Aalan has pointed out some of the very relevant issues and problems, which, if addressed properly could make a difference in years to come. It shows authorities focus more on infrastructure than on what is happening in classrooms and as a result the quality of education suffers. It also highlights the fact that most of the school-going-age children are out of schools because of non-existence of any educational facility above primary level in the neighbourhood. This should be a source for concern for all provincial governments, which now have sufficient financial resources following announcement of the last NFC award and devolution of powers. However, it is unfortunate that they are reluctant to invest adequately on quality education and have left the field to the private sector that has its own dynamics of commercialism, while thousands of registered and unregistered Madaris are further adding to the woes of falling educational standards. As for gender gap, it highlighted that there are more than 55 districts in Pakistan where the total number of girls enrolled in high schools is less than one thousand. While appreciating Alif Alan for its good work, we would urge both Federal and Provincial governments to review their strategies, allocate more resources for education and apart from infrastructure and facilities, priority should also be given to induction of properly qualified and trained teachers, their retention through incentives, availability of modern training and above all elimination of massive corruption from education departments.

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