Pakistan has one of the highest illiteracy rates around the globe and, more worryingly, the rate hasn’t been increasing at the rate one might hope. Last year, Pakistan’s literacy rate was estimated to around 58% of the whole population, missing the UN target of achieving 88% literacy by 2015 by far and wide.
This finding (and more) constitute the heart of a recent report by Alif Ailaan, an NGO looking to highlight the challenges faced by Pakistani children and their education.
One of the biggest factors contributing to the lack of literacy is the number of out-of-school children, most of which are girls. A new study has found that out of a total of 24 million Pakistani children that are out of school, around 13 million (or 53%) are girls.
“Pakistan has the second-largest number of out-of-school female students in the world.”
Apparently, there is a large regional disparity in providing equal opportunities for schooling for girls. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, especially, has 52% of girls out of school, compared to just 21% of boys.
“In rural areas, 67% of women aged 15 and above have never seen the inside of a classroom.”
The net enrollment rate for girls was found to be 53% and 60% for boys. However, only 58% of girls who enter school complete primary schooling.
Reasons for Not Attending School
They also took a brief look at the chief reasons for girls not going to school. While the child’s lack of interest and the household’s lack of funds for education were found to be the usual culprits, the chief reason for not attending school was found to be a lack of consent from the parents.
The study also goes on to emphasize the benefits of female education, including health benefits. It has been proved that there is a direct correlation between the increase in women’s education and a decrease in infant mortality.