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ASER Survey: schools have long way to go

By Mansoor Malik 2013-01-29
LAHORE, Jan 28: Sindh and Balochistan provinces lag behind the other three provinces in terms of school-level education indicators that range from enrolment of 3-16 years of age children, their learning abilities and facilities in schools.

The Punjab province has topped in most of the indicators followed by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Gilgit-Baltistan (GB).

The school-level education indicators have been identified in Pakistan`s largest-ever citizen-led household based Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) Survey of 2012 launched in Islamabad on Monday.

Sindh and Balochistan provinces have even lost the sight of meeting Millennium Development Goals, Universal Primary Education and the latest compulsory and free education for all under the Article 25-A of the 18th Constitutional Amendment with 32.4 per cent and 34.1 per cent 6-16 years of age outof-school children. This ratio drastically grows to 61.2 per cent and 77.7 per cent in terms of 3-5 years of age out-of-school children in Sindh and Balochistan. Of those 6-16 years of age children, who are attending schools in Balochistan, some 5.6 per cent are attending madaris.

The schools` survey in the country shows that some 30 per cent government schools and 88 per cent private schools are offering coeducation.

The ASER survey was conducted in 136 districts (rural areas) and six districts (urban areas) across Pakistan by the South Asia Forum for Education Development (SAFED) and managed by Idara-eTaleem-o-Aagahi (ITA) in collaboration with Foundation Open Society Institute, Department for International Development and other partner organisations in all five provinces as well as Azad Jammu and Kashmir, the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and Islamabad Capital Territory.

The survey targeted learning outcomes of 5-16 years age children, prevalence of early childhood education, volume of out-of-school children, mothers` education, role of private schools, private tuition incidence, medium of instruction, students and teachers` absenteeism, computer labs and libraries, miss-ing facilities and government grants.

According to the ASER report, some 9,000-member volunteer team surveyed 80,209 households in 4,033 villages and collected detailed information on 3-16 years age group 251,444 children. While, 5-16 years age group 244,477 children were tested for language and arithmetic competencies.

ENROLMENT: In Punjab, 15.9 per cent of 6-16 years of age children are out-of-school and this ratio grows to 49.2 per cent when 3-5 years of age children are surveyed.

In the GB, 16.6 per cent of 6-16 years and 56.3 per cent of 3-5 years of age children are out-of-school. In the KP, these ratios stood at 16.2 per cent and 64.9 per cent, respectively.

LEARNING OUTCOMES: The survey focused 5-16 years age children`s learning levels through specifically designed class-II level language and class-III level arithmetic tests.

Up to 93.2 per cent of Balochistan children of class-III cannot read a class-II story text in Urdu or their regional language Pashto. Up to 77.7 per cent of stu-dents cannotread sentences.

When class-V students were given the same test in Urdu/Pashto, some 63.9 per cent of the children could not read story and 27.6 per cent failed to read sentences.

In Sindh, class-II level story text in Urdu/Sindhi proved to be a nightmare for 84.3 per cent of classIII and 40.2 per cent of class-V students. Only 66.1 per cent of class-III and 40.2 per cent of class-V students could read sentences in Urdu/Sindhi In Punjab, the GB and the KP, the percentage of class-III students who failed to read story text in Urdu/Pashto/Sindhi stood at 68.7, 73.7 and 79.3. Among class-V students, this ratio dropped to 33.3 per cent, 44 per cent and 56.7 per cent.

ENGLISH: In the reading test of class-II level English sentences, Balochistan`s 94.2 per cent of classIII and 68.1 per cent of class-V students failed. In Sindh, class-III and V`s 91 per cent and 74.6 per cent of children failed to read English sentences.

Punjab, where all public schools had adopted English as medium of instruction a couple of years ago still lags behind the GB when itcomes to reading Class-II level English sentences. The results show that only 26.7 per cent of class-III students could read English sentences as compared to 37.5 per cent of children in the GB. As many as 21.9 per cent children in KP were able to read the English reading test.

The same test given to Class-V students in Punjab, the GB and the KP shows that 61.3, 67.9 and 47.1 per cent of children could qualify.

ARITHMETIC: The mathematics assessment test covering up to class-III standard national curriculum, asked from class-V students, revealed that 73.1 per cent of students in Sindh and 66.3 per cent in Balochistan could not solve threedigit sums. The failure rations in Punjab, the GB and the KP stood at 44.4 per cent, 44.5 per cent and 55.9 per cent, respectively.

PHYSICAL FACILITIES: The Punjab is ahead of the KP, Sindh, the GB and Balochistan in terms of making available classrooms, useable drinking water and toilets in primary schools and computer labs in high schools.

Though a primary school should have six classrooms ideally, Punjab and the GB have 2.8 classrooms onan average. The KP, Sindh and Balochistan have 2.3, two and 1.4 classrooms on an average.

Punjab has useable drinking water in its 91.5 per cent of primary schools, the KP in 63.6 per cent, Sindh 55.6 per cent, the GB 36.6 per cent and Balochistan have water facility in 43.8 per cent of schools.

The functional toilets are available in 86.8 per cent of schools in Punjab, 59.7 per cent in the KP, 47.6 per cent in Sindh, 32.8 per cent in the GB and 21.7 per cent schools in Balochistan.

With regard to the availability of libraries in primary schools and functional computer labs in high schools, Punjab`s 14.7 per cent and 69.3 per cent schools have these facilities.

The KP, Sindh, the GB and Balochistan`s 30.7, two, 8.2 and 1.9 per cent of schools have libraries, while 17.3, 23, 37.7 and 9.6 per cent of schools have functional computer labs, respectively.

The ASER survey has also assessed children`s enrolment in schools, their learning abilities and physical facilities in schools in ICT, AJK and FATA and ranked them as such, respectively.