According to a report on out of school children (OOSC) by Alif Ailaan, more than 25 million Pakistani children between the ages of 5 and 16 are deprived of their right to education. One in every five of primary-school going children, does not attend school. This proportion increases at higher levels of education. While making sure that children who are enrolled remain in school is a concern across the country, the report reveals that the majority of out of school children are those who have never seen the inside of a classroom.
Doing a regional comparison, Balochistan has the highest proportion of out of school children, followed by the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). Whearas terms of population, more than half of the total number of out of school children are in Punjab.
What is even more disappointing is that girls comprise more than half of the 25.02 million out of school children. The data also reveal vast regional disparities in providing equal opportunities for schooling to girls, with the greatest disparity in the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK). For both girls and boys, access to schooling is more difficult in rural areas and the gap widens at higher levels of education.
Similarly, children from the poorest families are more likely to be out of school compared to their counterparts belonging to richer families. Nevertheless, retention is a gauge of the quality of education and the data show that across the country almost half of all children enrolled in Class 1 either drop out, transfer to a private school or repeat at least one year during the first five years of schooling.
A significant proportion of students also drop out at higher levels of education, with three times more children enrolled in the first five years of school (Class 1-5) compared to the next five years (Class 6-10). One of the major reasons for both boys and girls dropping out, as reported by parents, is that children themselves are unwilling to continue schooling.
In our opinion, this is exactly what needs to be worked on. Our schools and colleges put immense burden on children, making them weary of attending classes. As a result, children run away from educational institutes. This has highly increased the drop out ratio in Pakistan. There seems a need for schools to bring innovation and uniqueness to their teaching style. Education should be fun for children, not a burden.
One suggestion is to introduce the audio-visual aids in classrooms where children can watch lecture videos on a screen/projector. This will surely add life to the routine lectures of teachers which usually fail to catch the students attention. If such technology comes to the classrooms, it will be possible for teachers to complement their lectures with video lectures in the form of DVDs or online video tutorials. Implementing this idea poses a great opportunity to add flavor to the traditional lectures in schools. The above mentioned video for instance explains how Nitric Acid is Prepared in a Laboratory.
In case the schools do not have proper laboratories to show such experiments, the only way a teacher can fully explain this topics is by using an online video in their lecture. Introducing such things in classrooms can surely attract more children to schools, along with decreasing drop out ratio of our schools and colleges.
Source: Alif Ailaan. 2014. 25 million broken promises: the crisis of Pakistan’s out-of-school children.
Islamabad: Alif Ailaan. x+70 pp.