The new Pakistan Economic Survey 2014-15 while quoting the latest figures pertaining to Pakistan’s Social and Living Standards Measurement 2013-14 says that the literacy rate of the population (10 years and above) is 58 per cent as compared to 60 percent in 2012-13, showing a 2.0 per cent decline.
The data shows that literacy remains higher in urban areas (74 per cent) than in rural areas (49 per cent), and is more prevalent for men (81.0 per cent) compared to women (66.0 per cent) in urban areas. Province wise data suggests that Punjab leads with 61 per cent literacy followed by Sindh with 56 per cent, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa with 53 per cent and Balochistan with 43 per cent.
Gross Enrolment Rates (GER) referred to the participation rate of children attending primary schools divided by the number of children aged five to nine years. GER at the primary level excluding Katchi (prep) for the five to nine years age group at national level during 2013-14 recorded at 90 per cent as compared to 91 per cent in 2012-13. This decline is largely due to stagnant allocations at 2 per cent of GDP; shortage of schools especially for girls in remote and far flung areas; shortage and absenteeism of teachers; lack of trained teachers, especially female teachers; missing facilities such as water, toilets and boundary walls; weak supervision and monitoring; and a host of factors such as conservative and tribal culture; insecurity and lawlessness; and poverty, compelling a large number of children to work rather than to attend school.
A cursory look at the table GER indicates that the only Punjab has shown significant performance by achieving Primary level GER at 100 per cent against 98 per cent in 2012-13, while other provinces have performed negatively i.e. Sindh GER declined to 76 per cent in 2013-14 against 81 per cent in 2012-13 and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa also declined to 89 per cent in 2013-14 against 91 per cent in 2012-13, while Balochistan GER also declined from 67 per cent in 2013-14 as compared to 73 per cent in 2012-13.
Net Enrolment Rates (NER) at the primary level refers to the number of students enrolled in primary schools that belong to the five to nine years age group, divided by the number of children in the same age group for that level of education. In Pakistan, the official primary NER is the number of said children attending primary level (1-5) divided by the total number of children aged five to nine.
The net primary level enrolment rates at the national/provincial (excluding prep/Katchi class) level for the age group 5-9 years. NER at the national level during 2013-14 remained at 57 per cent. Province wise comparison reveals that Punjab NER slightly improved to 64 per cent in 2013-14 as compared to 62 per cent in 2012-13 while NER of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa remained at 54 per cent. Sindh NER declined to 48 per cent in 2013-14 as compared to 52 per cent in 2012-13; while Balochistan also witnessed a declined to 39 per cent in 2013-14 as compared to 45 per cent in 2012-13. The decline in Balochistan and Sindh enrolment rates is probably due to tribal and feudal social systems, not supportive of education for female and poor classes.
The overall education situation based on key indicators such as likely enrolments, number of institutes and teachers, has depicted a slight improvement. The total number of enrolments during 2013-14 was recorded at 42.1 million as compared to 41.1 million during the same period last year. This indicates an increase of 2.4 per cent and it is estimated to increase to 43.4 million during 2014-15. The number of institutes which stood at 240.9 thousands during 2013-14 as compared to 241.5 thousands during last year. This shows a slightly decline of 0.2 per cent. However, the number of institutes is estimated to increase to 244.9 thousands during 2014-15. The number of teachers during 2013-14 was recorded at 1.53 million as compared to 1.55 million during last year showing a decline of 1.2 per cent.