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The Express Tribune

Published Date: Dec 11, 2014

Lack of census: Data on education outdated, irrelevant: experts

ISLAMABAD: The government’s data on education in the country is riddled
with mistakes, at times irrelevant and outdated which is largely because
of the census not having been held since 1998.

Additionally, NGOs are only interested in basic level data, which
helps them confirm that the funds they are utilising are working. This
was stated by Asif Memon, associate research fellow at the Sustainable
Development Policy Institute (SDPI) at the “Data Revolution: Bringing
Data and Evidence to bear upon Pakistan’s Education Policymaking”
session at SDPI’s 17th sustainable development conference.

Panellists were discussing the issue at the session, which was
chaired by UNDP Country Director Mark-Andre Franche, who engaged the
panellists in discussing data revolution and its plausibility in

Saman Naz, data and evidence campaign manager of Alif Ailaan, said
due to a lack of data on the population, and hence the number of
school-going children in Pakistan, the figure for out-of-school children
is highly disputed.

According to estimates by ASER, the figure stands at nine million, 16
million less than the number computed by Alif Ailaan in a report. “You
can’t fix it if you can’t measure it”, said Naz.

Memon also pointed out that national data being used for analysis is
outdated, riddled with errors and irrelevant when it comes to
policy-making. He further added that data inequality is deeply rooted in
an individual’s ability to acquire data from sources that are not
accessible to all.  According to estimates, he said, “Pakistan might
need 135,000 more teachers and 43 billion rupees to get 5.4 million
children back in school (20% more than the current level of spending).”

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