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ISLAMABAD: The total education budget, actual spending, current infrastructure and available services for the primary education in the country reflect that Pakistan would be unable to achieve Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of 100pc primary enrollment by the next many centuries, analysis of official data suggests.
The official statistics on primary education reflects that the public sector primary education is facing extreme neglect at the hands of federal and provincial governments resulting in poor literacy rate and taking Pakistan away from achieving its MDGs goal for primary education.
In order to analyse whether the government is capable of achieving its MDGs target on education in near future keeping in mind the current educational infrastructure and its budget spending on the education sector particularly on the primary education, this correspondent has divided the data into three different parts i.e. budget spending by the federal and provincial governments on education particularly on primary education, secondly, ratio of budget spending on developmental and non-developmental expenditure and thirdly analysis of the existing primary education infrastructure.
The data analysis of primary education by The News depicts a grim picture of education system. In different provinces and territories, there is just one teacher for more than 100 students. The data further shows that even up to 70 pc schools of some provinces and areas have no electricity. Almost 15 to 19 percent schools are being run even without any building. Similarly 42,487 out of 145,491 primary schools – almost 35 percent of the total number – have no toilets. Also, 50 to 60 percent schools in rural areas of various provinces have not even boundary walls.
On budget spending on education, the data suggests that after the 18th Constitutional Amendment, education is now a provincial subject and federal government has a very small contribution in this regard. The federal
government has allocated 2 pc of the total budget for education. Out of this 2pc of the federal budget, only 7.5 pc is to be spent on primary education. It is interesting to note here that the federal government has allocated 92.5 pc of total education budget for the 60 pc secondary and higher secondary institutions located in ICT and Fata and just 7.5 pc for the remaining 40 pc primary institutions.
The official data of Punjab Finance Department shows that it has allocated 45 pc of its total Rs290 billion education budget for developmental expenditure. However, the primary education has always been neglected by the provincial government as only 4 pc of the total education budget is being spent on primary education and the remaining 96 percent on secondary and higher secondary. Similarly, Punjab government is spending only Rs107 per pupil on primary education and Rs7253 per pupil on secondary and higher secondary education.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province allocated 25 percent of its total Rs111 billion education budget for fiscal year 2014-15 for developmental projects. The province has spent 31 pc of the total education budget on primary education whereas the ratio of developmental and non-developmental budget is like the other provinces. KP is spending 75 pc of the total budget on non-de4velopmental expenditures and only 25 pc on developmental expenditure. It has spent Rs2978 per pupil on secondary education from its developmental expenditure and half of it on the primary education.
Sindh spent 39 pc of its total education budget on primary education and is spending 93 pc of education budget on non-developmental expenditures. The province is spending only Rs222 per pupil on primary education from its developmental budget whereas Rs1857 per pupil on secondary education.
Baluchistan is spending 24 pc of its total education budget on primary education in fiscal year 2014-15 however like other provinces most of its budget is also spent on non-developmental budget which is 71 percent. The province is spending Rs425 per pupil on primary education and Rs17056 on secondary and higher secondary education from its developmental expenditures.
As per the facts revealed in Economic Survey of Pakistan 2014-15, revenue as percentage of GDP was 14.5 pc (including taxes and transfers), 7.1 pc is going to the defense and interest payments (2.5pc & 4.6pc respectively), remaining 7.5 pc is for all the other heads of budget including education. The education gets 2 pc out of this 7.5 pc of GDP and raising the allocation to 4 pc with this revenue to GDP ratio (14.5pc) would be highly unlikely.
As for government claims of raising the allocation for education from 2 pc to 4 pc of GDP by 2018 under the targets recommended by Unesco, it seems to be a hard task. Moving from the present allocation of 2 pc of GDP to 4 pc will require efforts from both the federal and provincial governments. The federal government will need to increase its spending from 0.34 of GDP to 0.80 pc and the provinces from 1.33 pc of GDP to 3.20 pc.
Analysing the annually published yearbook of education statistics by the Academy for Education Planning and Management, Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training, it is learnt that the primary education system in Pakistan is very weak and lacks even basic facilities for the students. The student teacher ratio is at all-time high as in some provinces, particularly in KP, one teacher is for over 180 students per class.
In order to understand the overall picture of dismal condition of primary education infrastructure in the country, this correspondent has divided the data into five different categories which include the student-teachers ratio, how many schools are operating without buildings, how many schools are deprived of electricity, the total percentage of schools without latrines and how many schools are in the country which have not even boundary wall.
The data shows that total 17.869 million children are enrolled in primary schools across the country. Out of the total, 9.37 million children are enrolled in Punjab, 3.37 million in Sindh, 3.03 million in KP, 684402 in Baluchistan, 379937 in Fata, 111528 in GB, 123802 in Islamabad Capital Territory and 381950 in AJK.
According to Pakistan Education Statistics Report 2013-14, 6.2 million children are still out of schools across the country. As per report out of these 6.2 million kids the total number of out-of-school children is 2.9 million in Punjab, 0.4 million in KP; 1.8 million in Sindh and 0.54 million in Baluchistan.
If we further analyse the data, Punjab has total 51,909 schools for 9.37 million students which mean each school has average 180 students. For 2.9 million more students, at least 16111 more schools are required.
Similarly, Sindh has total 46335 schools for its 2.77 million students which mean each school has on average 81 students. For its 1.8 million new students, it requires 22222 new schools. KP has 25272 schools for its 3.037 million students which mean each school has average 120 students and for its 0.4 million new student it require 3333 more new schools.
Balochistan has 11209 schools for 684402 students which mean each school has average 61 students. Hence for 0.54 million new students, it requires another 8852 new schools. There are total 282581 primary teachers across the country for 145491 schools which means each school has average 1.94 teachers. In order to achieve the target of MDG 2, there is need of 98004 new primary teachers for 50518 new schools.
Majority of the education experts are unanimous that the smaller classes have always proved valuable. However, the data on Pakistan’s primary education system shows that the smaller class’s formula is not applicable here as the student-teacher ratio is very high. The student-teacher ratio shows that one male teacher is for 81 students across the country in rural areas. When the data is further expanded to provinces level it is found that Azad Jammu and Kashmir schools student teacher ratio is 34:95, Balochistan has one teacher for 53:48 students, Gilgit Baltistan’s student teacher ratio is 115:60, Islamabad Capital Territory has 52:78, KP has one teacher for 184 students, Punjab has 76:15 and Sindh’s student-teacher ratio is 53:58 for its rural male primary schools.
The student-teacher ratio for the female primary schools however is slightly better than male as AJK’s student teacher ratio for female is 20:52; Balochistan has 36:46 students teacher ratio. Similarly Gilgit Baltistan’s student teacher ratio is 69:29, ICT’s ratio is 29:52. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has topped the list both in male and female category as the student teacher ratio for girls primary schools is 104:36 whereas Punjab’s student teacher ratio is 25:56 and Sindh has 12:16.
The data further shows that 10597 which is over 7 percent of the total schools across the country are being run without even buildings. Majority of these schools, according to the data analysis are located in Baluchistan, Sindh and FATA. As per data, 17:60 per cent schools in AJK of both rural and urban areas schools are being run without building. Sindh which is the second largest populated province has 15.61 per cent schools which are being run without even buildings. Similarly, 9.29 per cent rural and urban schools of Balochistan are running without even having buildings. Punjab has 0.5 percent whereas Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has 1.42 percent schools which have no buildings.
The data analysis of the schools shows that almost 35 percent of total schools of the country have not even electricity and majority of these schools are located in AJK, Gilgit Baltistan, Fata, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh. As per data, 34.80 per cent of total primary schools in Pakistan have no electricity. The data shows 73.33 per cent schools in AJK are deprived of this basic facility. Balochistan has 13.89 percent schools which have no electricity whereas 55.56 per cent schools in FATA has no electricity. The data further shows that 44.67 per cent schools in Gilgit Baltistan has no electricity and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has 41.34 per cent schools without electricity. Sindh has 47.87 per cent such schools which has no electricity whereas 19.05 per cent schools in Punjab have no electricity. The data shows that majority of such schools which have no electricity are located in rural areas of the respective provinces which include both male and female schools.
The data analysis of the annual schools census shows that almost 30 percent of the total schools across the country including urban and rural areas have no toilet facility. The data shows that 60 per cent schools in AJK have no toilet facility. Similarly 80 percent primary schools in Balochistan are deprived of such basic facility and have no toilets. Majority of the schools in Fata have not reported about the unavailability of toilets however only male and female schools in rural areas have reported about this question. As per the available record 13.27 percent rural areas schools of Fata have no toilet facility. Sindh has 42 per cent schools which have no toilet facility whereas 6 per cent schools in Punjab are without toilet. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as per data has 21 per cent of its total schools without toilets.
Schools without boundary walls
The data further shows that 41 percent of the total primary schools in Pakistan have not even boundary walls. Azad Jammu and Kashmir is on top of the list with 78.57 per cent schools having no boundary wall. Similarly 60 percent schools in Balochistan have no boundary walls. The data further shows that 47 percent schools of Fata are without boundary walls whereas 50.58 per cent schools in Gilgit Baltistan have no boundary walls. According to this data Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has 36.43 percent of its total schools without boundary wall. Sindh the second largest populated province has 47.38 percent of its total schools which have no boundary walls and 21.52 percent schools in Punjab have no boundary walls as well.
In order to meet the MDGs goal the provincial governments need to complete the already existing primary education infrastructure and also build almost 50000 or more new schools and 1,00,000 primary teachers.
However, with this ratio of budget allocation for primary education and developmental allocations it is highly unlikely to achieve this goal in coming few decades.