37 per cent children are illiterate in Pakistan: UNESCO report


KARACHI: The number of school-age children in Pakistan is 50,158,104 out of which 37 per cent are unable to attend school, said a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) report on education on Tuesday.

“We examined household surveys in Nigeria, Uganda, Tanzania and Pakistan, and calculate that an average of 4 per cent of school-age children in these countries lives in families which receive remittances. There are 220 million children in lower and lower-middle income countries who are out of school,” the report said.

UNESCO said this proportion is equivalent to 9 million children that applied to all low-income/low middle-income countries. We use the household surveys to quantify the relationship between receiving remittances and being out of school at the level of individual children and find that children are 40 per cent less likely to be out of school if they are in households which receive remittances.

“Where possible, we controlled for parents’ education levels and household income, which we also found to be an important factor, but the inclusion of which did not, in general, affect the coefficient on remittances very much. From this, we can estimate that 3.5 million children which make 40 per cent of 9 million in lower and lower-middle income countries are kept in school because of remittances,” the report added.

The World Bank estimates that the total value of international remittances was $689Bn 2018. Using the World Bank’s Remittance Prices Worldwide data, we calculate that the average cost of digital remittances is 5.6 per cent, compared to 7.7 per cent for offline remittances.

So, digital remittances are 2.1 percentage points or 27.3 per cent cheaper than offline remittances. If all remittances were digital, this would save $14bn that is 2.1 per cent of $689bn.  We calculate that households in our sample spend an average of 5.7 per cent of household resources on education.

If this fraction of the remittance savings were spent on education, this would amount to $825 million based on the typical household spend in the 4 countries surveyed that are 5.7 per cent of 2.1 per cent of $689bn).