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ISLAMABAD: The population of the age of 10 years and older that has ever attended school at national level is 60 percent in 2019-20 as compared to 62 percent in 2014-15, while regional comparison also shows a declining trend in both urban and rural areas with 73 and 52 percent, respectively in 2019-20 as compared to 77 and 52 percent in 2014-15.

This has been revealed in the “Pakistan Social and Living Standards Measurement Survey (PSLM) 2019-20,” released by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, which also noted that Pakistan is ranked among the top three countries in the world that have the highest number of out-of-school children.

The low economic growth rates, high levels of public debt, high rate of inflation, and budget shortfalls make the situation more worse, the survey noted. Households were asked in the survey to compare their economic situation with the last year.

Forty-six percent household reported no change in 2019-20 as compared to 44 percent in 2014-15.

Twenty-six percent household reported worse and 12 percent reported much worse situation of household in 2019-20, as compared to 30 percent and seven percent in 2014-15 respectively.

While 13 percent household reported better and two percent much better situation of household in 2019-20 as compared to 16 percent and two percent in 2014-15.

According to the PSLM survey, educational data results are showing decreasing or stagnant trend when comparing its results with previous rounds.

Therefore, it is highly recommended that the government should give a very high priority to develop a high quality, equitable and widely accessible education system in Pakistan. The survey noted that Punjab has the highest percentage of population that has ever attended school with 66 percent in 2019-20 as compared to 65 percent in 2014-15 followed by the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (excluding merged areas) with 56 percent in 2019-20, as compared to 55 percent in 2014-15.

However, Balochistan is at the bottom with 44 percent as shown in Figure-1 and this proportion is higher in males with 70 percent than in female with 50 percent.

The Islamabad capital city has the highest percentage of ever attended school population with 85 percent.

While, the district-wise comparison shows that Rawalpindi with 83 percent, Korangi with 82 percent, Abbottabad with 77 percent, Pishin with 59 percent are the top districts in their respective provinces.

Furthermore, District Rajanpur with 40 percent, Thatta with 26 percent, Mohmand with 28 percent, Dera Bugti, Shaheed Sikandarabad and Sherani with 14 percent are at the bottom in their respective provinces.

At national level population that has completed primary level or higher shows slight decline with 51 percent in 2019-20 as compared to 52 percent in 2014-15.

Such as this percentage shows decline in urban areas with 65 percent in 2019-20 as compared to 68 percent in 2014-15; however, in rural areas, it remains stagnant at 42 percent in 2019-20 as in 2014-15. Further, gender comparison shows that males who have completed primary level or higher is 60 percent compared to females with 42 percent in 2019-20.

According to the PSLM survey, out-of-school children is calculated for the first time at district level in PSLM 2014-15.

So far the overall regional comparison shows that out-of-school children are higher in rural areas with 37 percent as compared to 22 percent in urban areas. Overall Punjab has the lowest out-of-school children with 24 percent while; Balochistan has the highest out-of-school children with 47 percent.

The net enrolment rate (NER) is the number of children with specific age group attending specific class divided by the number of children with specific age group.

The overall NER primary age (6-10) is reported as 64 percent in 2019-20 as compared to 67 percent in 2014-15. In Pakistan, almost 93 percent of household reported with mobile/smart phone.

Percentage is higher in urban area that is 96 percent as compared to 91 percent in rural areas.

Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa is at top with 95 percent of household with facility of mobile phones, with 98 percent and 94 percent urban and rural areas respectively.

In Punjab 94 percent, Balochistan with 92 percent, and Sindh with 91 percent household reported with mobile/smart phone.

In Pakistan 33 percent household reported internet facility at home.

It is observed that this percentage is more in urban areas with 48 percent and 23 percent in rural areas.

Overall seven percent individuals 10 years and older reported use of computer/laptop/tablet in the last three months.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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