The country’s literacy rate declined from 60 percent to 58 percent, revealed the Economic Survey of Pakistan (2016-2017) that was released on Thursday.
The survey further noted that overall Net Enrollment Rate (NER) at the primary level for the age group at both national & provincial levels 2015-16 was recorded at 54 percent as compared to 57 percent in 2013-14, showing a decline of 3 percent.
NER indicates that amongst the provinces, only Sindh remained stable with 48 percent while Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa declined from 64 percent to 59 percent and 54 percent to 53 percent. Balochistan has witnessed a significant decline from 39 percent in 2013-14 to 33 percent in 2015-16. The overall Gross Enrollment Rate at the Primary level for the age group at national/provincial levels 2015-16 was recorded at 87 percent as compared to 90 percent in 2013-14 showing a decline of 3 percent.
The data shows that literacy remains much higher in urban areas (74 percent) than in rural areas (49 percent) with male (81 percent) and female (68 percent) in urban areas. Province wise data suggests that Punjab and Sindh leads with 62 percent and 55 percent respectively followed by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa with 53 percent and Balochistan with 41 percent.
Expenditure on Education
Pakistan’s public expenditure on education as percentage of its GDP is estimated at 2.3% in the fiscal year 2016, making it the lowest in the region. Public expenditure on education as percentage was estimated at 2.3 percentage in fiscal year 2016 as compared to 2.2 percentage of GDP during the fiscal year 2015. Expenditure on education is increasing gradually since fiscal year 2012. The education related expenditures were recorded at Rs 663.36 billion in fiscal year 2016. They increased by 10.74% to Rs 599.05 billion during this fiscal year.
The Government of Pakistan is looking to increase resources for the education sector by ensuring proper and timely utilization of funds in order to achieve the target of 4.0 percent of GDP by 2018. The provincial governments are also spending sizeable amount of their Annual Development Plans (ADPs) on education to achieve the target.
The government has initially allocated Rs 21.5 billion under PSDP 2016-17 for 122 (83 ongoing & 39 new) development projects being executed in Public Sector Universities/HEIs and HEC. In addition to this allocation, later on, the government allocated development grant of Rs. 5.4 billion for the Prime Minister’s laptop scheme and Rs.0.560 billion for the Project titled “Award of Scholarships to Students from Afghanistan under Prime Minister’s Directive”.
During first three quarters i.e. 2016-17 (July-March), the government has released Rs.8.0 billion for the development projects reflected under PSDP 2016-17, whereas, the releases for 3rd and 4th quarterly installments are under process. Further, Rs.5.4 billion and 0.574 billion have also been disbursed to the Prime Minister’s laptop Scheme and Afghan Scholarship schemes.
Enrollments, Teachers and Educational Institutions
The survey states that overall education condition is based on key performance indicators such as enrollments, number of institutes and teachers which has witnessed minor improvement.
The total number of enrollments at national level during 2015-16 stood at 46.223 million as compared to 43.948 million during 2014-15. This shows an increase of 5.2 percent and it is estimated to increase to 47.834 million during 2016-17.
The total number of institutes stood at 252.8 thousand during 2015-16 as compared to 252.6 thousand during last year. However, the number of institutes is estimated to increase to 257.1 thousand during 2016-17.
The total number of teachers during 2015-16 was 1.630 million as compared to 1.588 million during last year showing an increase of 2.6 percent. This number of teachers is estimated to increase further to 1.667 million during the year 2016.