Right of access to girls for primary and secondary education and to the extent that it is provided is largely dependent on Pakistan’s socio-economic development. Lack of infrastructure, monitoring mechanisms and finance has led to the underlying cause of low quality education. According to the UNDP Human Development Report published in 2011, approximately twice as many males as females receive a secondary education in Pakistan, and public expenditures on education amount to only 2.7 percent of the GDP of the country. Pakistan has the third largest out-of-school population in the world after Nigeria and India, accounting for seven percent of global absentees (UNESCO, 2009). In addition to that, basic infrastructure and studying settings are required. Most schools especially those in rural areas do not have basic facilities such as blackboards, textbooks, desks, chairs etc. According to the latest Pakistan Social and Living Standards Measurement (PSLM) Survey 2010-11, the literacy rate for the population (10 years and above) is 58 per cent during 2010-11, as compared to 57 per cent in 2008-09. Literacy remains much higher in urban areas than in rural areas and much higher for men than for women. Province wise data suggest that Punjab leads with 60 per cent literacy followed by Sindh with 59 per cent, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa with 50 per cent and Balochistan with 41 per cent. Most children are dropping out due to lack of financial support for / from their families. Almost, 17.6 percent are involved in domestic support according to UNICEF, most of which are girls. Dropouts by the third grade are common at the primary level (Andrabi et al, 2008).
Rational Of The Project
A Framework Funds-in-Trust Agreement was signed on 6 February 2014 between the Government of Pakistan and the Director-General of UNESCO establishing the overarching programme “Support to national capacity building to realize girls’ right to education in Pakistan”. Education indicators are comparatively encouraging in ICT and fairly above the country’s average indices.
ICT has the highest literacy rate in Pakistan i.e. 88% as compared to 58% for the overall country. Most public schools in ICT have reasonable infrastructure, and since Islamabad is a capital city, adequate investment is being made by the federal government for provision of school facilities (boundary walls, availability of clean drinking water, sanitation and electrification etc.). These facilities are far better than other provinces/areas. The share of primary level enrolment to total enrolment in Government schools in ICT is however lower than for the country as a whole (this may be an indicator of higher demand for quality education offered by the private schools and /or higher income levels of ICT residents as compared to the rest of the country). At the same time there are over 40,000 out of school children at primary level age 5 to 10 years in ICT. Most of the out-of-school children are in the rural sectors of ICT, while Nilor and Tarnol sectors are no exception.
Given the existing absorptive capacity of existing public sector schools, especially for girls, there is a possibility of starting evening classes in the existing schools to absorb the out of school children. OOSC (out of school children) in the catchment areas will be ensured with collaboration with the Federal Directorate of Education.
In rural sectors of ICT, e.g. Nilor and Tarnol, lack of awareness about girls’ education is still evident and calls for vigorous advocacy and awareness raising especially for illiterate parents and community members. The issue of long distances in most of the cases is also contributing in low enrolment especially for girls as people living in rural areas in ICT are from different background having different perceptions. The migration of temporarily dislocated people and permanent resettlement of large number of low-income people from other parts of the country to various rural areas in ICT are yet to be sensitized. In view of the foregoing, there is adequate justification to look into the organizational context of education sector in ICT (Nilor and Tarnol) with focus on girl’s education (primary level), identify institutional needs both from right holders and service providers’ point of view and establish baseline for periodic reviews across time and territory.
According to agreement signed between UNESCO and Taaleem Foundation (TF), the overall purpose of the project is
“to support the government’s efforts in increasing access to and improving the quality of girls’ education at the primary level through capacity building and targeted interventions at both institutional and community level. Geographically, the project will target the most marginalized areas where girls’ access to and quality of primary education are most challenged and has high illiteracy rate of adults particularly among women.”
Project Objective :
- To increase girls’ enrolment at primary level through creation of supportive family and community environment and building teacher capacities
- Retention of girl students by providing them with comfortable physical and learning environment at school level
III. Improving quality of formal education at primary schools through use of innovative technologies