LAHORE: Federal and provincial governments’ efforts to increase enrollment in schools under Article 25-A of the Constitution have yet to target the 100 per cent of population as 15 per cent of Punjab’s children aged 6-16 are still out of school, according to the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2015 Pakistan survey.

The remaining 85pc enrolled are not learning in schools as per desired standards.

The sixth ASER Survey report was launched in Lahore on Thursday.

Up to 2,200 volunteers visited 21,512 households in 1,079 villages/blocks to survey 59,179 children of age 3-16 years (of them 44pc were girls).


Learning competency far from desired standards


For the year 2015, the ASER rural survey was conducted in 36 rural districts and seven urban administrative areas in the Punjab, wherein 5-16 year age cohort 50,686 children were tested for English, language (Urdu), and arithmetic competencies.

The out-of-school children remained the same as compared to 2014. In 2015, 15pc of children were reported to be out-of-school, of them 8pc have never been enrolled and 7pc have dropped out of school. The number of children going to public schools this year has increased as compared to private schools. up to 65pc children of age 6-16 are enrolled in public schools in 2015 while last year the percentage was 63pc. According to the report, student competencies in learning English, arithmetic, and language have improved. In English, 60pc (57pc in 2014) of the surveyed class V students could read sentences, which should ideally be read by students from the second grade. A similar trend was observed in arithmetic capabilities of children where only 59pc (51pc in 2014) of class V children could do a two-digit division, something that is expected in second grade curriculum.

The survey found the children enrolled in private schools are performing better from those studying in government schools; up to 76pc of the class-V children in private schools could read a story in Urdu as compared to 67pc of their government schools counterparts. The difference of learning levels is starker for English, where 67pc of grade V could read the English text meant for class II level as compared to 57pc of the public students. For arithmetic, 64pc of the class V children in private school can do two-digit division as compared to 57pc of government schools’ children enrolled in class V.

Also, boys are outperforming girls in literacy and numeracy skills in rural Punjab as 56pc of the boys read sentences in Urdu as compared to 54pc of the girls. Up to 57pc of the boys and 55pc of the girls could read English words, while in arithmetic, 54pc of class V boys and 51pc of the girls were able to do class II subtraction.

The report also highlights school functioning. Teachers’ attendance in government schools was at 92pc as compared to 91pc in private schools. Private teachers have better qualifications; 37pc of private schools’ teachers are graduates in comparison to only 28pc of the government schools, but a larger percentage of public teachers have a higher qualification than private sector counterparts.

Multi-grade teaching trends are also mixed. The rural survey has found 39pc of government and 33pc of private schools imparting multi-grade teaching to class II. On the contrary, in class VIII, multi-grade teaching is more prevalent in the private sector.

Even though only 3pc of the private primary schools receive funds from the government (as compared to 69pc of public primary schools), the private sector provides better facilities. For example, 95pc of the private primary schools have boundary-walls as compared to 89pc of the government primary schools. Functional toilets are still not available in 6pc of public and 7pc of private primary schools in rural areas.

“Getting education doesn’t mean to go to schools alone, as the main thing is to see that what sorts of education is being imparted to our children,” Human Rights Commission of Pakistan secretary general IA Rehman said on the occasion.Punjab Standing Committee on Education chairman Qamarul Islam Raja said the provincial government had done a lot in improving attendance of teachers in schools that had resulted in improved enrollment and retention ratio of students. “We have ensured 92 per cent attendance in schools. And this has helped us in retaining children in schools,” he added.

The survey is managed by the Idara-i-Taleem-o-Aagahi with the National Commission for Human Development, the Democratic Commission for Human Development, the NRSP and the RCDO.

Published in Dawn, March 4th, 2016

Opinion

A fragmenting ummah
Updated 23 Jul 2021

A fragmenting ummah

Muslims are suffering in many parts of the world, all of which is known by other Muslims, but that nevertheless continues.
Virtual vultures
Updated 22 Jul 2021

Virtual vultures

Pegasus software has stirred a storm of indignation across the globe.
Shifting goalposts
Updated 20 Jul 2021

Shifting goalposts

Afghanistan is one place where proxy war by regional and bigger powers has always been a constant.

Editorial

India’s admission
Updated 21 Jul 2021

India’s admission

It was no secret that India had been manoeuvring behind the scenes to ensure that Pakistan remained on the grey list.
EU headscarf ban
Updated 23 Jul 2021

EU headscarf ban

Moves by the EU to curtail the religious freedoms of Muslims and others in the bloc need to be reviewed.
Disposal of offal
Updated 22 Jul 2021

Disposal of offal

The least people can do is to make an effort and dump entrails in designated areas.
New blow for Pak-Afghan ties
Updated 20 Jul 2021

New blow for Pak-Afghan ties

Islamabad police need to build a watertight case around their final conclusions because the stakes could not have been higher.
20 Jul 2021

FDI decline

THE worrisome, sharp decline in the more permanent, non-debt-creating foreign direct investment, or FDI, should be a...
20 Jul 2021

Another tragic accident

ALMOST every other week, if not every other day, newspapers report deadly road and rail accidents. It has been ...