ISLAMABAD: Around half of all government primary schools in Sindh and Balochistan and 29pc in Pakistan as a whole have only one teacher each.

This was stated in the Pakistan Education Atlas 2016, which added that currently 36,408 primary schools in the country were run by one teacher each.

Pakistan is the second country after Nigeria with over six million out-of-school children. The report said there were total 124,070 primary schools in the country.

Balochistan topped the list with 54pc single-teacher schools followed by Sindh with 47pc, KP 19pc and Punjab 15pc. In Gilgit-Baltistan, which has 797 primary schools, 281 of the institutions (35pc) had only one educator each.

Interestingly, the situation in Fata was satisfactory where out of the 5,114 schools only 370 (seven per cent) had one teacher. In AJK, seven per cent of the total 4,202 schools had single teacher.

“The quality of the process of education can be measured with the help of key indicators such as pupil-teacher ratio, pupil-classroom ratio and the availability of physical facilities,” the report stated. There are several deficiencies in these three sectors as currently the average teacher-student ratio in the country is 1:37.

South Waziristan has the ideal 1:13 teacher-student ratio as it has total 20,161 students and 1,532 teachers. But in Bajaur, there is an alarming teacher-student ratio of 1:108. The area has only 1,275 teachers for 137,148 students.

The report said Islamabad had 1:19 teacher-student ratio but sources in the Federal Directorate of Education said on the ground the situation was very different as in many schools there were only two to three teachers for over 100 students.

“This data is based on the total number of teachers and students but the problem is in rationalisation of teachers in schools which has been creating problems as many schools are under-staff and many are burdened,” said an official of the FDE, who requested not to be named.

The Atlas, which was jointly launched by the Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training and the United Nations World Food Programme on Tuesday, stated that school enrolment was still an area of concerns as about 22 million of the total population belonged to the age group of 5-9 and of these about 6.1 million children were out of school.

It said only 69pc of students who started Grade 1 stayed on to Grade 5. The report said currently 33pc of government schools had no drinking water while 31pc were without toilets, 43pc without electricity and 29pc had no boundary walls.

The Atlas urged the government to increase the education budget to four per cent of the budget to bringing improvement to the sector.

Speaking at the launching ceremony, Secretary Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training Haseeb Athar said the updated, credible and detailed information in the Atlas could assist the government in making informed policy and programme for education sector.

Lola Castro, the WFP country director, said the data from the Atlas also served as a baseline for measuring progress towards the fourth Sustainable Development Goal), which aimed to ‘ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.’

Speaking to Dawn, Nasir Amin, one of the authors of the Atlas, said there was a need to pay special focus to improve the quality of education and physical infrastructure in schools.

Published in Dawn, September 28th, 2016