PESHAWAR: A nongovernmental organisation’s report on the PTI government’s reforms and challenges in the education sector during five years has painted a bleak picture of the girls’ learning in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

“Girls are at a greater disadvantage with almost half of them (51 per cent) in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa not attending the schools,” revealed the report quoting the Pakistan Education Statistics, 2015-16, data.

Also read: Punjab ranks third, KP fifth in Alif Ailaan's education rankings

The report titled “Five years of Education reforms: KP wins, losses and challenges for the future 2018-23,” was launched by the Alif Ailaan here on Tuesday.

The ceremony was attended by elementary and secondary education minister Mohammad Atif Khan and lawmakers from across the country.

Alif Ailaan praises PTI govt for spending Rs30bn on educational infrastructure

The report appreciated the provincial government for spending around Rs30 billion on the infrastructure development including construction of classrooms, boundary walls, electrification, drinking water, and washrooms.

According to it, KP is leading in terms of infrastructure development.

As the challenge of providing access to all children of primary school going age is yet to be resolve, the most significant test of the government’s resolve is to provide access to children between the ages of 10 and 16 years to middle, high and higher secondary schools.

The report has drawn the government’s attention towards a massive imbalance between the provision of primary and post primary schools across the province.

The report said currently, 9.76 per cent and 8.13 per cent of all schools are middle and high schools respectively.

“The gap is enormous considering that the right to education under Article 25A of the constitution gives the right to education for all children from five to sixteen years of education.”

It says the primary schools outnumber cumulative middle and high schools by a ratio of 4:1. This disparity in numbers means that students are forced to travel further from homes to access schooling beyond the primary level causing low retention rate as well as the persisting gender gap at the middle and high school level.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has seen slight progress in enrolment numbers at the primary level and a significant improvement at the high school level. The enrolment rate has increased by 4.54pc at primary level, 2.3pc at middle level and 26.96pc at high level.

The report also drew the government’s attention towards low quality of education.

“The challenge of improving learning outcomes of students enrolled in schools across KP needs emergent attention,” it said.

It said the data on educational achievement was not as highly developed in KP as in Sindh or Punjab, although that was due to change from 2018 with the introduction of assessment at the fifth and eighth grade level.

The report said the scores achieved by children of KP in the tests conducted by National Education Assessment System are disappointingly low, indicating the distance that had yet to be covered in way of ensuring quality education and learning.

According to it, other positive initiative taken by the KP education department include establishment of areas for play in schools and sports tournaments, technology and science initiative in schools, students assessment at primary and middle level, independent monitoring unit and school quality management initiative.

Published in Dawn, March 21st, 2018