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Pakistan News Today

Published Date: Jun 21, 2013

District rankings: Public debate urged to help meet education challenges

The
state of the country’s education is stark and urgent action is needed to end
Pakistan’s education emergency.

This
was stated in a report on Pakistan’s district education rankings, launched by
Alif Ailaan and Sustainable Development Policy Institute on Thursday.

"Besides
the challenges of terrorism, energy crisis and governance, the state of
education is the top priority of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N)
government," said State Minister for Education Balighur Rehman.

"We
made it a priority in our manifesto and we will make every effort to cope with
the mindboggling numbers of millions of out of school children and state of
education in the country," said Rehman.

He
said it is shameful that 25 million primary school kids are out of school in
Pakistan, adding that the only solution is to tackle it progressively,
systematically and with a clear policy relying on sound data. “We not only need
to focus on increasing enrolment but also ensure that quality is not
neglected,” remarked Rehman.

The
report dispels the commonly held perception that providing infrastructure and
facilities will automatically improve the overall quality of education.

In
fact this is not the case, as demonstrated by the findings for Azad Jammu and
Kashmir which ranks highest in terms of the quality of education but lowest in
terms of school infrastructure, according to the report.

No
district in Sindh makes it in the top fifty of the report, not even Karachi.
Meanwhile, Punjab takes the top position in the overall provincial rankings
while Balochistan is the worst performing province.

An
interesting and innovative part of the event was the interactive ‘Education and
Budget’ map, the first of its kind in Pakistan. Available on the Alif Ailaan
website, the map allows users to access key education statistics for each
district and to send a letter to elected representatives in each constituency,
pressing them to play their role in ending Pakistan’s education emergency. To
reinforce the message, Alif Ailaan will also post a copy of each letter sent
through the map directly to the Member of National Assembly or Member of
Provincial Assembly in question.