The federal Minister for Education and Professional Training, Shafqat Mahmood, introduced a COVID-19 Learning Losses Report on Wednesday.
According to a statement issued by his ministry, Idara-e-Taleem-o-Agahi had conducted the report in collaboration with the United Nations Children’s Fund.
The aim of the study was to assess the extent to which Pakistan’s constitutional right to education (Article 25-A) and commitment to education (Sustainable Development Goal-4) has been affected by the pandemic.
The study used the ASER assessment tool to evaluate the educational losses incurred as the schools were closed in the lockdowns.
It examined how variations in factors such as parental education, access to technology, and the wealth indexes of families have affected childrens’ learning.
The report findings are based on a survey conducted across 16 rural districts of Pakistan in which a total of 9,392 households, 25,448 children aged 3 to 16 and 21,589 children aged 5 to 16, 457 government schools, and 198 private schools were covered.
The report found out that the enrolment for the 6 to 16 age group dropped by two percent in 2021 in comparison to enrolment for the same age group in 2019.
32 percent of children were provided learning materials from their schools during the pandemic and 58 percent reported that their school management did not reach out to them at all during this period.
Minister Mahmood said that the study has highlighted serious educational issues, and this will ultimately help the government in policymaking.
He also stated that learning poverty is a serious issue in Pakistan that has worsened on account of the pandemic.