DESPITE consecutive raises in the annual education top, all provinces outshone Sindh in the literacy rate as its school girls’ enrolment has declined while the dropout ratio has risen.

The enrolment ratio of school girls in Sindh has declined to 39 per cent compared to 61pc boys. On average, the overall dropout rate in primary classes in Sindh is 23pc, according to an investigation report. The investigative report based on research, interviews of stakeholders and filed observations, says, the main reason of low enrolment and high dropout in rural areas is location of schools five to 10km from villages and other settlements.

Other reasons are corruption from top to taluka level in school funds, the non-availability of transport, poverty, age above 13 (parents disallow girls), harassment of girls along school routes the price hike, and non-availability of female teachers in almost 99pc schools. However, these factors are 50pc low in urban areas and that is why literacy rate in cities and towns is high.

According to a report of Alif Ailan, an organisation which records enrolment and dropouts, the major reasons for girls’ dropout are parents needing help with work (29pc) and parents not allowing them to continue education (27pc). For girls, access is also an issue: among boys, only 5pc dropout because their school is too far, compared to 13pc of girls.

The latest Economic Survey of Pakistan 2019 says that literacy rate for females and males in Sindh has decreased from 63pc to 62.2pc, triggering a new challenge for Sindh’s education department.

However, the literacy rate has increased in three other provinces. This rate has increased in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa from 54.1pc to 55.3pc, in Punjab from 61.9pc to 64.7pc and in Balochistan from 54.3pc to 55.5pc.

Muhammad Qamar Abdul Qadir

Karachi

Published in Dawn, October 28th, 2019

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