KARACHI: The latest report of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) shows how costly education is in the country, with expenses witnessing a 153 per cent hike in September on a year-on-year basis.
The SBP Inflation Monitor for September identified education as the second biggest contributor to CPI-based inflation after house rent.
On Aug 18, parents protested in Karachi against a steep rise in school fee despite the fact that the Sindh High Court restricted all private schools not to increase their fee by more than 5pc annually.
Millions of children are out of school as their parents are unable to afford fees, while the government schools have no capacity to impart education to these children.
Schooling is a costly affair for most Pakistanis. Private education consumes a large chunk of income of a middle-class family.
After house rent, education is the biggest contributor to CPI-based inflation
The Pakistan Education Statistic 2015-16 launched by the National Education Management Information System (NEMIS) — a subsidiary of the Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training — reported in March this year that the number of out-of-school children has reduced from last year’s 24 million to 22.6m.
But the size of children not going schools is so big that it looks that an entire generation is uneducated while the government shows no priority to educate these children.
However, the private schools, which educate most of the children, are charging the highest price for their services. At the same time, the parents are overburdened with costly imported books, copies and stationery, a key factor for pushing up education-related expenses.
The report shows that the inflation for education surged to highest level of 153pc in September from negative 38pc in the same month last year, indicating the very high inflation.
This educational inflation could force hundreds and thousands of children to leave their schools. The official report said as many as 44pc children between the ages of five and 16 are still out of schools.
Since the government schools are in the worst situation, it is unlikely that the children who could not afford private educational institutions could get admissions to the public-sector schools.
The official report said that only 30pc children remain enrolled from class 1 till 10th.
The education has 19pc weighted contribution in the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
Another serious problem that hurts most of Pakistanis is the house rent, which has the highest weighted contribution of 34.6pc in the CPI. In September the house rent showed 7.19pc inflation compared 5.6pc in the same month last year.
Housing is another major sector, which has been solely left to the private sector resulting in to unbelievable price hike of housing across the country. The high cost houses having no match with the income of middle and lower middle class demand higher rents making a major part of the entire society a hostage to these two sectors.
Published in Dawn, October 22nd, 2017