The claims of parha likha Punjab seem shallower than ever now as UNESCO’s education specialist reveals that 9 million children are out of school in Punjab alone. Among these 9.2 million kids, 5.03 million are girls. This makes Pakistan world’s second highest country with most out of school children, putting it only second to Nigeria.
If the stats weren’t harrowing enough, Punjab is the province with the most out of school children worldwide. According to chairman Eng Qamarual Islam Raja of PEF (Punjab Education Foundation), 11.5 Million children are getting their basic education from the public schools in Punjab. With that, 3 million children are studying at the school supported by PEF.
WHAT ARE THE CONTRIBUTING FACTORS:
As per these numbers, 40% of the children in Punjab are denied their basic right to education. Rubina Nadeem, the UNESCO education specialist, says that the biggest contributing factor towards these horrifying numbers is poverty. She said that Punjab poverty ‘’headcount ratio’’ stands at 31%.
‘’The Headcount ratio (HCR) is the proportion of a population that exists, or lives, below the poverty line’’.
She said that in Punjab particularly, the government has to face challenges that extend beyond financial constraints. Rubina said that in the province, gender inequality paints a concerning picture as due to societal stigmatization, the women are perceived to stay at home. It also draws a boundary of limits as the existing societal structure is yet to accept the fact that women have equal rights to education. She further added that geographical limitation and ethnicity problems are also significant factors that influence the numbers here.
However, despite all these factors, it does expose government’s concerns and misplaced priorities, who despite big slogans and promises have failed to practically deliver.
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