The most recent education statistics indicate that in 2011-2 Pakistan had a national primary net enrolment rate of 68%, with 73% for boys and 63% for girls.
To accelerate progress towards the MDG target of universal primary education by 2015-16, each of the eight provincial and area departments of education has developed a three-year plan of action. These plans have identified the challenges of increasing primary enrolment, quantified the number of out-of-school children (OOSC), developed strategies for enhancing existing educational opportunities and innovative approaches to maximize enrolment within the stipulated time frame, and estimated the number of additional children to be enrolled and the corresponding costs. The subsequent consolidation of these plans led to the National Plan of Action (NPA).
Four overarching strategies were prepared in advance of the Learning for All Ministerial meetings:
- Enrolment of new students in existing schools: This strategy focuses on enrolling out-of- school children in existing formal and non-formal schools with under-utilized capacity through enrollment drives. (Additional children to be enrolled in 3 years: 3.2 million)
- Enrolment of new students in formal schools through provision of an additional room: Construction of an additional classroom and provision of a teacher in existing public formal schools will help in accommodating new students. (Additional children to be enrolled in 3 years: 0.5 million)
- Establishment of new schools to accommodate additional students: Construction of new two-room formal school and/or opening of one-room non-formal schools in under-developed areas where enrolment is low due to non-availability of formal public schools. (Additional children to be enrolled in 3 years: 1.3 million)
- Incentives for attracting and retaining students, especially those from disadvantaged groups, including girls e.g. stipends, food-for-education, uniforms, etc. These incentives will be given to children from poorest families. (10.3 million children in 3 years i.e. 3.4 million children per year).
The Pakistani Government committed to doubling its education expenditure from 2% to 4% of GDP by 2018 – representing an increase of approximately $4 billion USD for education. The government also committed to continue to use incentives such as stipends, free meals and uniforms to help attract and retain students to stay in school.
Photo Credit : DFID