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In its annual report, the Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (Sparc) said about one fourth of the 19.75 million children in Pakistan aged five to nine were out of school — Photo AFP
In its annual report, the Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (Sparc) said about one fourth of the 19.75 million children in Pakistan aged five to nine were out of school — Photo AFP

KARACHI, June 27: Pakistan ranks the second with the most out-of-school children in the world with only Nigeria ahead of it, said a child rights body on Thursday.

In its annual report titled ‘The state of Pakistan’s children 2012’, the Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (Sparc) said about one fourth of the 19.75 million children in Pakistan aged five to nine were out of school and factoring in adolescents increased the number to 25 million. Of them, seven million children (aged three to five) had yet to receive primary schooling.

“The country reduced its spending on education from 2.6 per cent to 2.3pc of the GNP (gross national product) over the decade and ranks 113th of the 120 countries on the Education Development Index,” said the Sparc report launched in a hotel here on Thursday.

At the provincial level, Punjab has the highest NER (net enrolment rate) for children in primary schools at 61pc followed by Sindh with 53pc, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa with 51pc and Balochistan with the lowest at 47pc. Pakistan has an NER of 74.lpc for all age groups enrolled either in primary, secondary or higher education.

Pakistan has the lowest youth literacy rate with 70.7pc. Only 61pc of girls are literate as compared to 79pc boys in the age group of 15-24 years.

Progress has been slowest in low-income countries, especially Pakistan, where only 15pc children received pre-primary education in 2010. It quoted a recent report saying 63pc of children aged three to five years were not receiving any education related to early childhood development.

The country ranks 129th among the 135 countries on the Gender Gap Index 2012 according to the Global Gender Gap Report. Data shows that gender parity for primary schools in Azad Kashmir is close to 1 (0.97). The GPI for Punjab stands at 0.98, in Balochistan it is 0.83 and in Sindh 0.81.

The report said 43pc children born in Pakistan were afflicted with stunting. It was estimated that 21.7pc children were severely and 21.3pc were moderately stunted.

It quoted the United Nations Children's Fund as saying that under five years mortality rate had declined from 122 per 1,000 births in 1990 to 72 per 1,000 births in 2011; far from reaching the assigned target of 52 per 1,000 births as per the millennium development goal.

More than 423,000 children die before reaching their fifth birthday, and almost one in five of these deaths are due to pneumonia.

Pakistan accounted for nearly 30pc of all polio cases recorded worldwide. A total of 142 cases were reported in 2010; 198 cases in 2011. In 2012, the official reports show, 58 cases were recorded, excluding cases in the North and South Waziristan agencies.

It is estimated that 2.1 million cases of measles are reported annually in Pakistan and 21,000 of the reported cases die of complications from the disease. Pneumonia and diarrhoea account for 29pc of deaths among children under five worldwide or more than two million a year; with Pakistan ranking fourth among the countries with the highest prevalence of the disease.

A total of 55 of 96,000 infants, children and adolescents had been identified as HIV positive in Pakistan In 2012, around 5,659 cases of violence against children were reported across Pakistan from January to October 2012. These included 943 murders, 1,170 cases of injuries, 302 of sodomy; 204 of child trafficking, 410 of forced marriages and 164 of Karo-kari (honour killing) incidents, and 260 cases of missing children. Other incidents of violence included 407 cases of sexual assault, 547 torture cases, 323 child suicides, 530 kidnappings and 176 Vani cases.A total of 3,861 cases of child sexual abuse were reported in different parts of the country last year. Most of the cases were reported in Punjab (68pc), followed by Sindh (19pc), Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (5pc), Balochistan (3pc) and FATA (3pc).

The report said 197 of the 3,581 victims of drone strikes since 2004 were children.

The participants said children in Pakistan had to cope with a lack of educational opportunities, poor health conditions, a near absence of protection for poor and vulnerable children, miserable conditions in juvenile jails and continued employment of children in hazardous occupations.

Violence against children remains culturally entrenched as children in Pakistan have to cope with physical violence, sexual abuse, trafficking, recruitment in armed conflicts and acid attacks. In the absence of a national database on violence against children, the report relied on secondary sources to give the prevalence of various forms of violence against children.

Comments (46) Closed

Sameer Jun 28, 2013 10:41am

30% Education Budget. Wastage of Money.

Tahir Naseer Jun 28, 2013 11:15am

Probably weapons are more important than the public. The government can spent billions of rupees in those ballistics which will never be used but do not invest in the future.

Dilawer Jun 28, 2013 11:22am

And there will never be a talk of family planning. Nature is going to take control and wipe out the extra population. As long as the religious ideology is in the front seat the kind of News will keep Pakistan in the lime light. Shame on Pakistan and Pakistani mute and deaf government.

Dilawer Jun 28, 2013 11:25am

Why the so called "Civil Society" is not having candle light vigils for million of helpless and forgotten Children. Any answer? Why the focus is on feel good News? If this is not a National Emergency then what is??

Liaqat Yousufzai Jun 28, 2013 11:55am

Better late than never.

Khalid Jun 28, 2013 02:03pm

This is the ONLY reason Pakistan has been going backwards. 2nd in world? I am not surprised. In a country where the government has abdicated the responsibility for education of our children to businesses, what else do you expect. The extent of the problem would be quite apparent if we look around to see how many of our family, friends and acquaintances send their children to government schools. And if you are really curious about how government schools work, just visit one. This is a ticking time bomb. Land of the poor and illiterates and we call it Pakistan! . Stop conspiracy theories about USA, Israel, India, Saudi Arabia trying to destroy Pakistan, we are doing a better job than all of these so called enemies of Pakistan by keeping our children illiterate. And for those of us who believe that "WE ARE OK" because we send our children to "private" schools are living in a fools paradise. Just wait and see.

gary Jun 28, 2013 03:00pm

Unless Pakistan can bring its army under civilian control, the country has no future. More and more resources are used for defense to fight India which has a defense budget six times larger than Pakistan.

Indian Jun 28, 2013 03:10pm

My appeal to all Pakistani brothers and sisters who would read this message. Adopt 2 kids each and educate them. It would be great service to your nation.

mansoor Jun 28, 2013 04:42pm

"Why Nations Fai", recently published book, a must read for anyone interested in the topic how the powerful groups would keep the public excluded from the political and economic spheres. It takes lot of effort intrigue and money to reach the second position. I would however dare not compete with the first position holder.

shabujohn Jun 28, 2013 06:17pm

@Khalid: you said the truth

Pastor Pervaiz Samuel Jun 28, 2013 06:29pm

God Bless All Pakistani Children and save under the hand of GOd

S Bara Jun 28, 2013 07:04pm

@Khalid: You got guts man.

independentthinker Jun 28, 2013 07:04pm

ouch! that hurts. how could we see any future for Pakistan, when 1/4 of our children are not even able to get basic education. Illiteracy is the main attraction for extremism. These fanatics can easily manipulate the children into adapting their extremist views, which results in a good portion of people in our society, who do not have common sense of distinguishing right from wrong and just follow whatever is brainwashed into their minds. Our leaders have a lot of work cut-out for them - let this be their first priority. A country with nuclear arsenal should at least have children's education mandatory in their society.

pras Jun 28, 2013 07:44pm

I heard , in Pakistan the Guns and Bombs are a motivation and every kid wants to have one , where as show him a book of Physics or Computer Science, he or she will start gettng wild and agitated ! Do you guys have schools and colleges? I have seen doctors with long unkempt beards and Nurses with Burkha !!!!

salim Jun 28, 2013 09:15pm

The news is alarming but the trouble is lot more. Literacy which can be broadly tied to children going to school is one thing and being educated has more significance. Khalid in his comments talks about 'private' schools as if they would turn out educated kids. Sadly, neither do they. We are taught to accept and obey and any critical thinking is highly discouraged. A very few end up in excelling their teacher and each generation ends up worse than the previous.

Imran Jun 28, 2013 09:21pm

The situation regarding education of in children in the public (government) schools is hopeless when we see the so called 'change the system' party PTI almost give the education ministry to Jamat-e-Islami group in their province. (KPK). What is one to expect from any of the current politicians when this is the level of priority given to education. Education ministry is just another bone to be thrown to pacify an opponent party.

Aamir Jun 28, 2013 11:17pm

@Tahir Naseer: The army needs to cut back and allow more funds for education otherwise they will be fighting these very children when the grow up and become taliban and suicide bombers

Ahmer Jun 29, 2013 01:15am

Shame, shame and more shame.

Sumit Mazumdar Jun 29, 2013 04:17am

@Indian: And what will you do Indian?

Agha Ata Jun 29, 2013 05:14am

With a little more budget for the Defense, Pakistan can be Number one on the list. :)

Safdar ali Jun 29, 2013 08:28am

In education we need radical changes especially allocate the national budget according to international standard.

EQ8Rhomes Jun 29, 2013 09:01am

Pakistan's leaders' Ideology is Pakistan's primary problem. That is compounded sorely by the average Pakistani's inability to tolerate ideas contrary to his/her beliefs. * Anyone in this straight jacket has extreme difficulty verifying his/her perceptions in any field of life. Learning and adjusting to eve-changing realities demands that we be prepared to set aside even our dearly held convictions, when necessary, to understand and accept new knowledge. If we remain convinced that we know all there is to know, then any education is futile. Pakistan's madressas use rote learning and apparently, so do other schools. Many posts in Dawn demonstrate that, as I read them. Pakistanis abroad are very much more sophisticated and their posts exhibit that. They are critical thinkers and able to understand and tolerate contrary ideas, even assimilate new knowledge as necessary. Pakistanis at home seem quick to take offence, argue from theology (whether relevant or not), and exhibit pride that is unsubstantiated by facts on the ground. Pakistan: Your only choices now are: Education, Health, and Economy. The rest will fall into place. Good Luck!

Muhammad Younus Butt Jun 29, 2013 09:23am

Rubbish report and more to blackmail our country. Why do not see almost every citizen of Pakistan is depriving of basic necssacities of life and no proper attention is devoted. A part from education, there are many more basic problems and why fully attention is not given. Why only on female education? Proper and quick need of the time is to educate and provided various jobs opportunities for Males who are roaming and are looking for jobs, but willilingnessly are ignored.

Musa Ali Khan Jun 29, 2013 09:45am

According to National Education Policy document (1998-2010) there are more than 339500 primary teachers working Public Sector Education in Pakistan. Most of them lacking of commitment and professionalism. A recent survey reveals that most of the students in grade 3 and 5 can not read basic alphabets in Urdu. It means, Education sectors has been lacking the capacity to response the challenges. Thus we are wasting time and resources every day. We are on the wrong side of he history. If Pakistan stands second illiterate nation in the world then people who are working in education sector mainly responsible for it.

Abbas Jun 29, 2013 10:23am

Credit goes to Musharraf and Prof Atta for promoting Capitalist friendly education policies promoting private sector to control over the education, taking the very right of education from poor and making different levels with respect to money parents could spend. Public sector institutes were unable match the private sector and poor cant afford it. What we expect education to work ? was it not expected?

Muhammad Ahsen Khan Jun 29, 2013 11:00am

The reason for this state of affairs is that economic problems and military expenditures are given priority over education. Despite the education campaigns run on TV their has been no change in policy at any level of government.

It irks me when our PM and other high-level position holders say that loadshedding and terrorism are Pakistan's biggest problems. They are completely unaware that these illiterate children will become tomorrows terrorists or will become social liabilities for Pakistan.

They should understand that solving education problems would also curb militancy and give our country a better future both economically and socially in the long run. It would also reduce the age of marriage of girls thus leading to less children per couples and they would also choose to have lesser children in search of better economic prospects.

Coming from an XI-grader :D

Age : 15 :D

ibnarastoo Jun 29, 2013 11:23am

The army is an important source of educating the public. Don't listen to these misleaders badmouthing the armed forces. Some of the poorest members of our society get very highly educated just by joining the armed forces (they would otherwise not have the stability or opportunity) But we need to do a lot more! a lot lot more. Every soldier who has an education needs to start getting stationed in remote areas so they can teach a basic class to the children all over the country. That is a greater service to our nation.

SanCha Jun 29, 2013 11:46am

@Tahir Naseer: It is true. Bullets and Weapons cannot achieve targets or enhance the status of the nation. It is only education that can bring revolution, upgrade status of a country and eradicate poverty. Pakistan should now stop arming people with weapons (Military and Terrorists) and expecting them to bring as much disaster as possible, they should equip people with knowledge and expect them to bring revolution in this civilized society.

PSTA Jun 29, 2013 12:17pm
  • 19.75 million children in Pakistan aged five to nine were out of school.
  • The country reduced its spending on education from 2.6 per cent to 2.3pc of the GNP.
  • Pakistan
Khalid Jun 29, 2013 12:30pm

@Indian: I couldn't agree more. This is the only way to help our children. We can not expect our government to be interested in educating its masses. It has more important things to do. Self help is the only way forward.

S Bara Jun 29, 2013 02:10pm

@Khalid: You are a brave man.

S Bara Jun 29, 2013 02:11pm

You are a brave man.

nandkishor Jun 29, 2013 03:45pm

can't blame only government for this lower literacy rate, those parents who are producing more children without capacity to provide basic needs of children are also responsible,this is the problem of entire sub continent & saarc countries,,indian state of kerala is exceptional case..

Jkumar Jun 29, 2013 04:20pm

I wrote in one of these 'comments' column a year ago, that there are so many diamonds in the dirt/rough, it is the government's and elites responsibility to pick them give proper education which will help them give back to the country in many folds. To a poor country like Pakistan, they are the best natural resource available. You have to change the mindset away from constant wars (geographical, ethnic, religious, tribal) which are taking the mind off the real problems.

indian Jun 29, 2013 04:49pm

send your kids to school teach them humanity ,tolerance else they would keep blowing those who want to contribute to the nation .This is the root case of what happed in that girls medical college ...

Thiru Jun 29, 2013 06:32pm

@Indian: And Indians should adopt two kids to feed them and educate them before wen point our fingers at others.

Paijoo Jun 29, 2013 07:55pm

Shame to the corrupt army and the selfish political leaders of Pakistan who failed to deliver eduactional opportunities to the next generation. They will die leaving billions in their accounts and leave behind an uneducated nation who is looked down upon by free world. Sad!

rahul Jun 29, 2013 09:04pm

Is this an international study ? I am surprised India is not #1 . we have the largest number of child laborers under 14 years of age.

Asim Malik Jun 29, 2013 11:10pm

@Pastor Pervaiz Samuel: God wants us to act vs. constantly ask for miracles..

Khalid Jun 30, 2013 01:45am

@salim: Dear Salim, I am happy to read that both of us passionately want children in Pakistan to get proper education. I never said that private schools are better. In fact I said, and I quote here, "And for those of us who believe that "WE ARE OK" because we send our children to "private" schools are living in a fools paradise. Just wait and see". Do you still believe you understood what I said?

allisa Jun 30, 2013 02:37am

No country can progress when it spends more on defense against imagined threats than on education of its citizens.

Hindi Jun 30, 2013 03:58am

@pras: Pakistan has been in denial about it's exploding population.Not many economies in the world can sustain such a population explosion.People in Pakistan & to a lesser extent in other South Asian countries too should be ashamed for committing cruel abuse against innocent children & ensalved women. Pakistan desperately needs a morden day Kamal Ataturk. Lock up the corrupt politicians & ignorant , fanatical Mullahs.

citizen Jun 30, 2013 05:13am

@pras: you can either come here and make a comment which is constructive or you could make fun and make a fool out of yourself, which is exactly what you have done.. keep that in mind the next time. peace

Darhoon Menghwar Jun 30, 2013 10:31am

Who is responsible? And who will change this situation? What electronic media doing? Plz thought for country, not for any personality or any one party. Electronic Media should give time to real issues that belong to society, humanity and country, plz don't lobbing for militants group and their suppo

rters .... .....

ak Jun 30, 2013 03:06pm

@ all indians, take care of your country, we dont need your advice. The problem i perceive is excessive mixing of religion and politics. unless we keep the religion out of politics we cant improve.

Sabahat Jun 30, 2013 04:32pm

Just speculating here and I may be incorrect so what I am communicating needs to be confirmed first. I wonder whether Pakistan's statistics on NER and out of school children mentioned in the report include the school census data appropriately from both government and the private schools. If the data is based on only information from government schools then the indicators need to revised.