48pc children out of school in rural areas: report

Our Correspondent
February 26, 2020

LAHORE :Around 48 percent of children aged between 3 and 5 years, and 9 percent of children aged between 6-16 years are out-of-school in rural Punjab while in seven urban centres across Punjab only...

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LAHORE :Around 48 percent of children aged between 3 and 5 years, and 9 percent of children aged between 6-16 years are out-of-school in rural Punjab while in seven urban centres across Punjab only 3 percent children are out-of-school.

Similarly, over the years a decline in the number of children going to private schools has been noted in the province. Around 28 percent children of age 6-16 were enrolled in private sector in 2019 as compared to 37 percent in 2014. The shift to public sector schools has increased the enrolment share from 63% (2014) to 72% in 2019.

These findings were made public in the report of Pakistan’s largest annual citizen-led household based Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) survey 2019 launched here Tuesday.

The report launch was attended by Punjab Minister for School Education Dr Murad Raas, Chairperson Standing Committee on Education Ayesha Nawaz, UNICEF's education specialist Rubina Nadeem, MPA Uzma Kardar, Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi (ITA) CEO Baela Raza Jamil and others.

According to the rural report, student competencies in learning Language, English, and Arithmetic have improved: 75% of the children from Class V read Class II level story text in Urdu; in English, 71% of the surveyed Class V students could read sentences, meant for students at second grade. Arithmetic learning levels have also improved since 2018; now 82% of class V children could do a two-digit division, pegged at second grade curriculum. Overall, 85% of the children enrolled in grade 5 in all urban districts surveyed in Punjab can read a story in the local language, 84% can read sentences in English while 78% can do division. ASER is a flagship programme of ITA implemented in partnership with civil society organisations; 3,000 volunteer citizens visited 35 districts in 1,031 villages to implement the ASER survey from 20,677 households and 51,952 children aged between 3-16 years.

For the year 2019, the ASER rural survey assessed 43,293 children of 5-16 year-age cohort in Language (Urdu), English, and Arithmetic competencies mapped to grade 2 curriculum and textbooks. In two districts, the survey was successfully conducted through androids, testing for at scale survey solutions that are paperless, efficient and transparent.

The report highlights school functioning across every district in Punjab. Teachers’ attendance in government schools was reported 89% while in private schools, it stood at 90%, on the day of the survey. Whilst private school teachers were reported to have better qualifications at graduate levels, 40%, compared to 26% in government schools; however, for MA/MSC qualifications of public primary school teachers, 62% were reported to be higher than private sector teachers which stood at 28%.

Better school facilities in government sector: 97% government primary schools had boundary-walls as compared to 93% private primary schools; for functional toilets, the facility was available in 94% public and 89% private primary schools; safe and conducive environments do affect learning positively across public and private schools.

Overall, 22.4% of the surveyed government schools reported having children with disabilities, compared to 18.1% private schools. Of the types of disability prevalence in schools, the highest reported was physical, 36.90%, followed by behavioral, 15.18% and hearing, 11.31%. Of the surveyed schools, 3.89% government and 4.21% of private schools had ramps; 5.26% of government schools and 5.39% of private schools had disability-friendly toilets.

Addressing the ceremony, Dr Murad Raas said the government would establish 100 new schools in rented buildings in Lahore at the cost of Rs210 million to bring the out-of-school children back to schools. He added that 250,000 children were out-of-school in the provincial metropolis alone. He said in order to get exact and accurate number of out-of-children in the province a massive exercise was under process and added that the results would be made public.

The minister said there was a need to change education system but it required huge money. He said it was easy to highlight problems but difficult to find solutions. He said the PTI government had identified solutions to those problems and the process of their implementation was continued. He added that 16 new initiatives were taken in school education in first 16 months of the PTI government in Punjab. He said since primary education was the base the government had particularly focused on primary schooling.



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