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Education in Punjab  comes under scrutiny as 16.1 per cent children are out of school - File Photo

LAHORE, Feb 7: A sample survey shows that over 16.1 per cent of school-going age children are not attending any school in Punjab and those attending show poor learning competencies. The survey -- Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) survey 2011 -- by the South Asia Forum for Education Development (SAFED), was launched at Children’s Library Complex on Tuesday.The citizen-led household survey conducted in 28 districts in the province revealed that 16.1 per cent of out-of-school children include seven per cent of dropouts. Up to 21.8 per cent of five years age children, when one expects children to be enrolled in some schools, are also out of school.

The data shows that among 28 districts, Lahore ranked 15th with 15.1 per cent out-of-school children ratio.

The sample survey shows that almost 84 per cent children in the 6-16 years age cohort are enrolled in schools. Of these enrolled students, 40.8 per cent are girls.

The assessment of students’ learning levels does not paint any encouraging situation as more than half of the tested children could not even read a sentence in Urdu, while 66 per cent of the children failed to read a sentence in English – of level Grade-II.

Arithmetic tests presented even a bleaker picture: 52 per cent of children could not do two-digit subtraction sums with carry whereas substantial 70 per cent of 5-16 years age children could not do three-digit division sums.

Arithmetic tests covering up to grade-III standard national curriculum, asked from grade-V children, showed that 53.8 per cent of children could not do three-digit division sums, while 21 per cent of Class-VIII students could not do the same sums.

The arithmetic learning level of grade-V private schools’ students is better as 55 per cent of students could do division sums, while their counterparts showing the skills in public schools are 43.1 per cent.

Quite interestingly, some 9.7 per cent of the out-of-school children assessed at their homes proved their mettle in solving division sums and 17.2 per cent children could do subtraction.

In the survey of children’s learning outcomes in reading Urdu or their mother tongue and English of grade-II, it was gathered that 51.4 per cent of children could read sentences in Urdu or their mother tongue, while 33.5 per cent of children could read sentences in English.

While recording attendance level of students, the ASER survey found that 84.7 per cent of children as per register and 80.9 per cent according to headcount were present in government schools. In private schools, these ratios stood at 89.2 per cent and 86.6 per cent.

The teachers’ attendance level in government and private schools was recorded at 85.4 per cent and 89.6 per cent.

The survey showed that 80.1 per cent public primary schools and 92.4 per cent private primary schools had useable water facility. While, 69.9 per cent public and 88.1 per cent private schools had functional toilets.

Speaking at the launch, LUMS Pro-Chancellor Syed Babar Ali said private schools’ teachers were drawing less salary than their counterparts’ in public schools, still they were producing better results. At LUMS, he said, it had been made mandatory that every student would teach at a public school for one month as a part of his curriculum activity. He said that a similar initiative should also be taken in public universities and colleges.

Punjab chief minister’s adviser Zakia Shahnawaz, Justice (retired) Nasira Iqbal, Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi director programme Baela Raza Jamil and MPA Asma Mamdot also spoke.