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The Express Tribune

Published Date: Dec 13, 2012

Nearly three-quarters of Pakistan girls not in school

Nearly three quarters of young Pakistani girls are not
enrolled in primary school and the number finishing five years in education has
declined, a new UN and government report showed Wednesday.

The
findings expose the miserable state of education for millions in Pakistan,
where the Taliban shot 15-year-old Malala Yousafzai in the head in October to
silence her campaign for the right to an education.

“Nearly
half of primary school age children are not enrolled in school and among
eligible girls the out of school proportion is closer to three-quarters. In
absolute numbers, out-of-school girls outnumber their male counterparts,” it
said.

“Completion
rates to the fifth year of schooling have actually declined in the past five
years,” it said. Fifty-five percent of all Pakistani adults are illiterate and
among women the rate is closer to 75 percent, it added.

The
report said women are denied their basic right to education and to a decent
life.

“Females
in Pakistan face discrimination, exploitation and abuse at many levels,
starting with girls who are prevented from exercising their basic rights to
education either because of traditional family practices, economic necessity or
as a consequence of the destruction of schools by militants.”

On
Monday, President Asif Ali Zardari pledged $10 million to help educate all
girls by 2015 as part of a global fund set up in Malala’s name.

Ziauddin
Yousafzai, Malala’s father, a former teacher and headmaster, has been appointed
to help meet the global target.

His
daughter, who is being treated in a British hospital after the attack on her
school bus on October 9, will herself join the campaign when she is better.

Saba
Gul Khattak, a member of Pakistan’s planning commission, confirmed that the
country was lagging behind on its Millennium Development Goals, including on
education.