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Alarming dropout rate in schools

By Our Staff Reporter 2013-01-31
LAHORE, Jan 30: Only four children reach up to class-X out of 17 children admitted to class-I in Punjab, according to the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) Punjab, 2012. The report launched at Children`s Library Complex on Wednesday says the school education system in the province is plagued by a large number of out-of-school children, dropouts and lack of infrastructure facilities in primary schools. The prevalence of out of-school children in Punjab is 16 per cent.

The report conducted in 36 districts (rural areas) and two urban districts (Lahore and Multan) says that Punjab offers only 2.8 classrooms on an average in primary schools 6.6 rooms in elementary and 11.1 rooms in high schools that result in multi-grade teaching. As high as 36 per cent of the surveyed public and 34 per cent private schools are imparting multi-grade teaching. At class-VIII level, 14 per cent of gov-ernment and 30 per cent of private schools are offering multi-grade teaching.

At the launch ceremony, Punjab Commission on Free and Compulsory Education Chairman Justice Khalilur Rahman Khan (retired) said no scientific data was available with the Punjab school education department when he started making draft law for free and compulsory education to implement Article 25-A of the 18 Constitutional Amendment. He said the draft law had also given suggestions that how out-of-school children could be brought to schools.

HRCP General Secretary IA Rahman said the government had made several compulsory primary education laws but none of them could give required dividends. He said only 4.6 per cent of the GDP was going to social sectors, including education and health. He said the Punjab, the most developed provincein the country, too had almost 16 per cent of out-of-school children. He said ASER data showed the school education in terms of enrolment, physical facilities and learning outcomes `but we avoid facing the facts`.

AGHS Director Hina Jilani said the ASER survey had identified a huge challenge by identifying fundamental issues. She said the Right to Education was much broader a subject than merely discussing number of classrooms and facilities. She also stressed the need to identify what children were being taught in classrooms.

Planning and Development Board chief economist Capt Muhammad Yousuf said Punjab had allocated 23 per cent of its total Rs780 billion budget for education.

FOSI Programme Officer Nargis Sultana said students` learning outcomes in schools was the key question and the government as well as politi-cians should be held accountable. She said that all political parties should make Right To Education part of their manifestoes while going to forthcoming general elections.

Punjab School Education Department Additional Secretary Hassan Akhtar said that he had studled ASER data and found its figures close to the PMIU data, which covered on ground situation up to December 2012. He said the PMIU data had reported that almost one million out-ofschool children had been enrolled this year.

School Education Department Deputy Secretary Qaiser Rasheed said that there were 3.2 million out-ofschool children in Punjab. He said the department had imparted training to head teachers and was in the process of producing 20 critical textbooks, which were in the pipeline.

Earlier, ITA director programmes Dr Baela Raza Jamil gave a presentation about ASER Survey.