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Pakistan Today

Published Date: May 23, 2014

Punjab ahead of all provinces but education still in bleak state

Children’s Global
Network CEO says Punjab’s high rank must not be mistaken with province
anywhere near ensuring 100 percent enrollment

assessment of the state of education in the country was released on
Thursday by Alif Ailaan and Sustainable Development Institute.

The District Education Rankings 2014 revealed that Punjab was ahead of other provinces with 14 Punjab districts in the top 20.

and evidence has to be the basis of increased accountability and
gauging the performance of politicians,” said Mehnaz Aziz, CEO
Children’s Global Network. “The government needs to launch a census of
all children between the ages of five and 16 to assess where the country
stands in terms of enrollment, and plan accordingly. Punjab’s high rank
must not be mistaken with the province being anywhere near achieving
its target of ensuring 100 percent enrolment and the provision of
quality education. There is still a long way to go.”

The report
provides a snapshot of the education situation in Pakistan’s 146
districts and shows how widely education standards vary across the

Much like last year, Sindh, Balochistan and FATA occupy
the bottom of the rankings with Sindh making its first appearance at
number 40 with Karachi. This demonstrates a lack of commitment to
follow-up on promises made by the provincial government.

“We need
to stop politicising education,” said PML-F lawmaker Mehtab Rashidi, “I
would urge all politicians to leave education alone. There are other
avenues of making money and patronising transfers and posting. Education
should not be one of them.”

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) is the
second worst performing province despite the government’s commitment to
improve the situation. This is owing to gender disparities as well as
poor learning outcomes in the province.

“It seems from the
rankings that Pakistan is only Punjab, said ANP leader Bushra Gohar. “It
is time that we started investing in our children. The problem is that
the state’s focus is primarily security. Education comes nowhere near.
This needs to change.”

KP is followed by Balochistan which is at
the bottom of the rankings. The province has shown poor performance and
is a matter of pressing concern given that there are 1.76 million
children out of school.

“The situation in Balochistan should not be seen only in light of the 18th
amendment,” PkMAP Senator Abdul Rauf Lala. “The federal government
needs to take ownership of the 65 years of havoc they have wreaked on
education in our province.”

In Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK),
District Poonch has fallen from its top spot last year and comes ninth
in 2014. AJK has shown an overall decline from second position last year
to third position this year.

Chakwal, which ranks highest
nationwide, has a net enrolment rate of just 83 percent, which is far
from the promise of ensuring quality education for all. According to the
report, more than 4 out of 5 children in Chakwal who are enrolled
dropout before reaching grade V111.

“Is the government getting
enough for what it is investing in,” said Petroleum Minister Shahid
Khaqan Abbasi. “The government needs to look at better ways of running
schools. The sad truth is that even our best districts are far from
ideal. Children are still out of school and the quality of education
leaves much to be desired,” he said.

An interactive data portal
which provides a detailed overview of each district along with
provincial and inter-district comparisons was also launched at the
event. This is the first-of-its-kind resource that helps pinpoint the
key reasons behind a district’s low scores, thereby helping identify
hurdles in improvement.