Under the Article 25 of the Constitution, it is the responsibility of the state to provide compulsory education from 5 to 16 years old children. But the successive governments in Pakistan failed to fulfill this constitutional obligation. Nearly 20 million children are out of schools. State has failed to provide free education to them.
The PTI government in KPK and leadership nationally made tall claims of transforming the education in state owned schools in KPK during its five years tenure. PTI chairman and now Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan was use to give impressive figures of how many students leaved the private schools to get admission in government schools due to improvement made in these schools. PTI portrayed the KPK government as role model to follow by the others.
The recent report produced by the Independent monitoring Unit of the education department has exposed the tall claims of PTI leadership. The situation is alarming as more children are leaving school after the primary level. The PTI government like the previous governments of KPK has failed to stop the drop of students from the government schools. The government needs to do lot of work on the ground than making statements and tall claims of improvement.
More than 73% of students are forced to leave state owned public schools after completing the primary education due to shortage of high schools, low standard of education and poor results in KPK province. This has been revealed by the report issued by the Independent Monitoring unit (IMU) of secondary and high education department. This unit was established by the PTI provincial government in KPK in 2014. This unit collects information from all the 28,000 government schools in the province.
Only 27% school children completed their education of matriculation level while 73% dropped out before reaching to that level. According to an annual report of IMU, there are total 21,179 primary schools in KP where 12,593 boys and 8,589 girl students study. But for utter surprise there are only 2,242 high schools in the province and out it 812 are for girls while 1,430 are for boy students, while number of higher secondary is 643 in KP.
Majority of middle class girl and boy students take admissions in private schools, while children of poor parents confine themselves to child labour or homes by leaving their education incomplete. The enrollment of children remains 63 percent in primary level while it reduces to 35 percent in high schools. On the other hand, the same enrollment remains 33 percent and it increases to 65 percent in high schools. There are 180, 0560 children still out of school in KP.
According to official documents 705,542 children took admission in KG in 2006-7 while in 2011-12 only 381,281 children could reach 9th class and so only 223,529 girl and boy students complete their education till 8th class. The documents records that in 2016-17 the 174,334 children reached matric class and so total 23 percent children got their education till matric in government schools while 544,024 children left government schools.
According to IMU, 668,335 children took admission in prep class in 2007-8 and its number reduced to 370,619 in 5th class while number these students reduced to 25 percent in matric in 2017-18. According to facts and figures of KP 64.59 boy students and 46 percent girl students get primary education while only 24.33 percent boy students and 19 percent girl students achieve primary education in the merged tribal areas and these numbers further reduces in high schools. According to the documents 370,619 enrollments of children was recorded in in 5th class in 2012-13 which would further reduce in next years.
The documents showed that 297,646 children took admission in 6th class during 2013-14 while next year 260,968 children admitted to 7th class and in the same way 238,597 children reached 8th class in 2015-16 while the strength further reduced in 9th class while 196,029 children could reach 9th class in 2016-17. The documents showed that 169,782 students could reach 10the class in 2017-18 and this showed that 200,837 children dropped out from government schools during class 5th to class 10th.
The main reason of this big drop out is the socio- economic conditions of the poor families. Many children forced to leave school in the middle of the schooling because of poverty and economic conditions. The lack of high schools is another reason of low enrolment and high percentage of drop out.
This is a serious situation and needs serious response from the KPK government. It is time to translate words into actions. The education opportunities need to be increased. More resources need to be allocated to improve the standard of education at government schools. New schools for higher education need to be built.
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23 March, 2019