Crippled by an education emergency

Published March 9, 2011
The economic cost of not educating Pakistan is the equivalent of one flood every year. The only difference is that this is a self-inflicted disaster.
The economic cost of not educating Pakistan is the equivalent of one flood every year. The only difference is that this is a self-inflicted disaster.
One in ten of the world’s out-of-school children is a Pakistani. That is the equivalent of the entire population of Lahore.
One in ten of the world’s out-of-school children is a Pakistani. That is the equivalent of the entire population of Lahore.
Pakistanis have a constitutional right to universal education, a little discussed or known fact of the law.
Pakistanis have a constitutional right to universal education, a little discussed or known fact of the law.
There are 26 countries poorer than Pakistan but send more of their children to school, demonstrating the issue is not about finances, but will and articulating demand effectively. It is too easy, and incorrect, to believe that Pakistan is too poor to provide this basic right.
There are 26 countries poorer than Pakistan but send more of their children to school, demonstrating the issue is not about finances, but will and articulating demand effectively. It is too easy, and incorrect, to believe that Pakistan is too poor to provide this basic right.
30,000 school buildings are in dangerous condition, posting a threat to the well being of children. Whereas 21,000 schools have no building whatsoever.
30,000 school buildings are in dangerous condition, posting a threat to the well being of children. Whereas 21,000 schools have no building whatsoever.
At current rates of progress, no person alive today will see a Pakistan with universal education as defined in our constitution. Balochistan would see it in 2100 or later.
At current rates of progress, no person alive today will see a Pakistan with universal education as defined in our constitution. Balochistan would see it in 2100 or later.
Just one year of education for women in Pakistan can help reduce fertility by 10 per cent, controlling the other resource emergency this country faces.
Just one year of education for women in Pakistan can help reduce fertility by 10 per cent, controlling the other resource emergency this country faces.
Pakistan spent 2.5 per cent of its budget on schooling in 2005/2006. It now spends just 1.5 per cent in the areas that need it most.
Pakistan spent 2.5 per cent of its budget on schooling in 2005/2006. It now spends just 1.5 per cent in the areas that need it most.

Today, Pakistan is crippled by an education emergency that threatens tens of millions of children. No country can thrive in the modern world without educated citizens. But the emergency has disastrous human, social and economic consequences, and threatens the security of the country. 2011 is Pakistan's Year of Education.

It's time to think again about Pakistan's most pressing long-term challenge. – Photos by Fayyaz Ahmed

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