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Pakistan has lower education spending rate in South Asia

Published on 15th Aug, Edition 33, 2016


Education condition is despicable with literacy rate of 58pc and gender disparity

With a literacy rate of 58 percent, Pakistan’s current expenditure on education is the lowest in South Asia. Pakistan has a literacy rate of 58 percent, which has improved from 35 percent in 1990-91, but still way behind the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) target of 88 percent, which we fail to achieve by the end of 2015.

Although education statistics have improved over the last few years, vast disparities still remain at the provincial level. There are around 24 million out-of-school children in Pakistan, the second highest figure in the world after Nigeria.

Pakistan is spending least on the sector in comparison to 26 nations which are poorer than the country which is a real concern to address. Education’s condition is despicable throughout the country having literacy rate of 58 percent with huge gender disparity. There is estimated 43 percent literacy rate in females.

Punjab is leading all provinces with 60 percent literacy rate while Balochistan has the least rate of 41 percent with a lot of infrastructure problems such as washrooms, classrooms and ghost schools etc.

As per 1973 Constitution, imparting education to each and every child of the country was responsibility of the federal government and provinces.

Education under Benazir plan

Under Benazir Income Support Program (BISP) has achieved the target of enrolling one million beneficiary children in schools under its Waseela-e-Taleem (WeT) initiative. WeT program is four years Co-responsibility Cash Transfer (CCT) Program, which was initiated to financially support the primary education of five to 12 years old children of BISP beneficiary families. Each beneficiary child receives a cash transfer of Rs750 per quarter on meeting the admission verification in first quarter and attendance requirement of 70 percent in subsequent quarters till completion of primary education. The design of the Program was developed by BISP in consultation with all the stakeholders of the program including World Bank, DFID and Provincial/Regional Education departments.

Under the WeT program, total Rs993.50 million have been disbursed to the beneficiaries in 32 districts of the country. Rs161.80 million were disbursed in initial five districts and Rs831 million in extended 27 districts. BISP has set a target of reaching out to 1.3 million children of beneficiary families in 32 districts by June, 2016 and has to-date enrolled one million children wherein 47 percent of the program beneficiaries are girls.

School reform plan

Likewise, in Punjab province, Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif launched the new phase of Schools Reforms Roadmap, ‘Parho Punjab — Barho Punjab’ setting the target of enrolment of every male and female child by 2018 in the province.

As per program, in the new phase the students studying in schools will have to give correct answers to at least 85 percent questions in examination, which will help improve standard of education as well as abilities of students.

A senior PML-N leader Mohammad Pervaiz Malik told PAGE that the Punjab government has made investment of billions of rupees in education sector during the last about seven years, however, this journey is very long and much is still to be done for uplifting education sector. He said that there are still a number of schools, which lack educational facilities.

He said that millions of rupees were spent on Daanish schools but desired results have not been achieved. On one side there are missing facilities in all schools while huge amount is wasted on useless projects.

Daanish school system is running for the last five years and besides free education, boarding and lodging facilities are also provided to poor and destitute children at these educational institutions.


Historic measure

Likewise, Educational Endowment Fund has been set up first time in the history of the country with a sum of Rs12 billion and more than 85 thousand talented but deserving students are receiving education in local and foreign educational institutions with the help of this fund.

All federating units of Pakistan have been included in this program. Laptops have been given to boy and girl students and IT labs have been established in all schools of the province.

The Punjab Skills Development Program is also continuing successfully in Punjab with the cooperation of DFID and various skills are being imparted to the youth under this program.

Educational experts said that there are many talented young men and women in the country who pass out from educational institutions every year but with empty hands to start working on some projects, which should lead not only to an honorable livelihood for them but also to create more jobs consequently strengthening the national economy.

Sadly, in Pakistan, education is now a billion dollar industry due to high cost of education. Despite weaknesses and non-availability of facilities in the state run educational institutions, there are still hopes for millions of poor students who have no other options except to get education from these institutions.

Private sector educational institutions are earning huge money and it is difficult for parents of poor people to impart quality education to their children. Private sector educational institutions need to be regulated properly so that they may not become a source of minting money from people. Education in private is highly costly putting huge burden on parents.

Under spending on education has created huge disparities in Pakistan where public sector schools, though affordable, lag far behind in quality than privately operated schools. The government must address this issue on priority basis.

Economic and social development is inconceivable in a country that neglects the education of its people. Therefore, spending on education must be increased to the maximum.

The government must realize that it is lacking in education budgeting and public financing. According to current report and available statistics, the following is the status of education in Pakistan:


Punjab has a net enrolment rate of 64 percent at the primary level, while the literacy rate for males is 71 percent, and 52 percent for females. The survival rate until fifth grade is 71 percent, and the transition rate from primary to middle is 97 percent. The number of out-of-school children aged between five and 16 is 13.1 million, which constitutes 47 percent of the total population of children of school-going age. Out of this, 52 percent are females.


Sindh has a total of 46,039 public schools, of which 15 percent are for girls and 62 percent are co-educational schools. Of these schools, the majority are primary schools – 91 percent – followed by 4 percent middle, 1 percent elementary, 4 percent secondary and 1 percent higher secondary schools.

Overall enrolment in government schools is 4.04 million, out of which 65 percent are enrolled at the primary level. The net enrolment rate at the primary level is 48 percent, while the literacy rate is 67 percent for males and 43 percent for females.

The number of out-of-school children is 6.2 million – 51 percent of the total number of school-age children, and 54 percent of these are girls.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

The net enrollment rate in this province at the primary level is 54 percent. The literacy rate is 72 percent for males and 36 percent for females. The survival rate to fifth grade is 67 percent and the transition rate from primary to middle is 82 percent.The number of out-of-school children in the province is 2.5 million, which makes up 34 percent of the total population of school-going children. Of these, 4.7 percent are girls.


There are 12,576 public schools in Balochistan, 28 percent of which are for girls. Of these, 84 percent are primary schools, followed by 9 percent middle, 6 percent high and less than 1 percent higher secondary schools. Overall enrollment in government schools is 1.1 million, 50 percent of which are enrolled at the primary level.

The report found that 43,620 teachers are working in Balochistan, 32 percent of which are women.


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