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25 million children are out of school

October 05, 2012

ISLAMABAD, Oct 4: All over the country 25 million children between 5 to 16 years of age, are out of school. Out of those children, 75 per cent have never gone to school and 25 per cent dropped out.

Every year, an 11 per cent increase (for next 15 years) in educational budget is required to give right of education to every child.

It was stated by the participants of policy dialogue “Educational Budget: Post Devolution Scenario” organised by Pakistan Coalition for Education on Thursday.

Baela Jamil of Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi (ITA) said that the situation in rural areas of Sindh is worse as compared to other parts of the country. In rural Sindh, 29.5 per cent children are out of school as compared to 25.3 per cent children in Fata.

She said that there is no concept of pre-school education due to which all over the country 67.6 per cent children (3-5years of age) do not go to school.

Besides, government has been giving attention to primary level education, due to which enrolment is decreasing at secondary and higher secondary level.

“Out of every 20 students, who are admitted in primary level, only 3 students reach to higher secondary level,” she said.

Ahmed Ali of I-SAPS said that government of Punjab has been spending Rs16,000 monthly on each student of Danish School and only 1,600 on students of common schools.

“Laptops were purchased from the funds of primary education budget and were given to the higher education students, which was not fair,” he said.

Participants recommended that federal and provincial governments must immediately take effective steps to implement Article 25-A of the Constitution, which guarantees free and compulsory education for all children of the age of 5 to 16 years.

Government must take steps to raise revenues through an effective, progressive and fair taxation system, so that funds could be spared for the education system.

They recommended that the overall education budget must be consistently increased each ear to meet the target of 7 per cent of GDP by 2015, as committed in the National Education Policy 2009.

Government should stop building or funding elite institutions like cadet colleges and should not provide grants to elite private schools. All information related to education budget should be made public. Every year, in March or April, all proposals about the next year budget, especially about the annual development programme must be published for public comments.

Parliament and parliamentary committees on education must take effective steps to improve their procedures and capacity for scrutinising budgetary documents and making useful input in budget making process.

Federal and provincial governments must take effective steps to implement Article 19-A of the Constitution, which recognises citizens’ right to information, participants recommended.