ISLAMABAD: The Economic Survey 2020-21 has revealed that the literacy rate in the country remains stagnant at 60 per cent and education-related expenditures witnessed a decrease of 29.6pc in the year 2019-20.
“According to the Pakistan Social and Living Standards Measurement (PSLSM) district level survey 2019-20, the literacy rate of population (10 years and above) is stagnant at 60 per cent in 2019-20 since 2014-15,” it read.
The cumulative education expenditures by the federal and provincial governments in FY2020 stood at 1.5pc of the GDP compared to 2.3pc in FY2019-20. Expenditures on education had been rising gradually till 2018-19 but in 2019-20 it witnessed a decrease of 29.6pc - from Rs868 billion to Rs611 billion.”
The survey also said literacy rate was higher in urban areas (74pc) than rural areas (52pc).
Punjab has the highest literacy rate of 64pc followed by Sindh 58pc, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (excluding merged areas) 55pc, KP (including merged areas) 53pc and Balochistan 46pc.
The survey, however, claimed that the overall education situation based on the key indicators such as enrollment, number of institutes and teachers had shown an improvement.
The total number of enrollments in 2018-19 was recorded at 52.5 million compared to 51 million in 2017- 18 which shows an increase of 2.9pc. It is estimated to increase to 55 million in 2019-20.
“The number of institutes recorded at 273.4 thousand during 2018-19 compared to 262 thousand during 2017-18. However, the number of institutes is estimated to increase to 279.4 thousand in 2019-20. Similarly, there were 1.76 million teachers in 2018-19 compared to 1.77 million last year. The number of teachers is estimated to increase to 1.80 million during 2019-20.”The Gross Enrollment Rate (GER) at the primary level excluding Katchi (prep) for the age group 6-10 years at the national level during 2019-20 declined to 84pc as compared to 91pc in 2014- 15. The decline in GER mainly due to enrollment of over-aged children is decreasing since 2012-13.
The survey said Net Enrollment Rate (NER) at the national level during 2019-20 declined to 64pc compared to 67pc in 2014-15.
The province-wise comparison reveals that NER in Punjab and Balochistan remained stagnant at 70pc and 56pc, respectively, while a decline in NER has been observed in Sindh and KP.
The survey said Rs4.5 billion have been allocated in PSDP 2020-21 for 22 ongoing and six new development projects of the Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training. While an amount of Rs1.2 billion has also been allocated for six ongoing and new education related development projects sponsored by various ministers.
About the provincial annual development programmes (ADPs) 2020-21, it said Punjab allocated Rs34.6 billion for 110 ongoing and 29 new projects out of which Rs27.6 billion have been allocated for school education, Rs3.9 billion for higher education, Rs0.6 billion for special education and Rs2.5 billion for literacy and non-formal education.
The Sindh government allocated Rs23.4 billion for 399 ongoing and 11 new development projects of education sector. Out of these, Rs15.5 billion have been allocated for school education and literacy, Rs3.7 billion for college education, Rs0.13 billion for the department of empowerment of persons with disabilities, Rs0.7 billion for Sindh Tevta and Rs3.4 billion for universities and boards.
The government of KP allocated Rs30.1 billion in 2020-21 for 188 ongoing and 61 new development projects and this amount is 94pc higher than the last year allocation.
The Balochistan government allocated Rs9.1 billion for 108 ongoing and 176 new development projects.
About HEC’s planning and development, it stated that the government allocated Rs29.5 billion to HEC for implementation of 144 development projects (113 ongoing and 31 new approved projects) of public sector universities and during July-March 2021 Rs22.5 billion (76pc of the total allocation) HEC has been authorised to meet expenditure against development projects.
Published in Dawn, June 11th, 2021