ISLAMABAD - A district education ranking has rated Chakwal the highest-ranking district in the country followed Rawalpindi and Attock.
The Alif-Ailaan Pakistan District Education Rankings 2014 divulge wide variations in the quality of education across Pakistan's 146 districts. The ranking measures district-level performance in terms of access, attainment, achievement and gender parity at primary level.
The study has been conducted by Alif-Ailaan and SDPI from already available data of various government and nongovernmental organisations.
Out of a maximum education score of 100, no district reached the level of 90 and only eight districts have scored in 80s. Among top 20 districts, 14 are from Punjab, 3 from Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), one each from Balochistan and Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) along with Islamabad, and none from Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhawa.
The lowest ranking districts are from Balochistan and FATA with many of agencies and areas not included in the ranking due to insufficient data. Last year Poonch had topped the district ranking in the country scoring 82.94 but this year it was placed at 9 with 79.12 score.
In terms of province and territory wise ranking, Islamabad Capital Territory tops the raking followed by Punjab, AJK, GB, Sindh, KPK, Balochistan and FATA.
The report says that districts in Punjab, especially those in the northern part of the province, dominate the education ranking. All 36 districts in the province score above 50 on the education index, compared to 35 out of 36 last year.
The highest-ranking districts in the province are Chakwal, Rawalpindi and Attock while Ranjanpur, Rahim Yar Khan and Muzaffargarh are the poorest performing districts.
Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi maintained that education should have been on the priority of the government instead of projects like metro bus.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) is the second worst performing province despite the government's commitment to improve the situation. This is owing to gender disparities as well as poor learning outcomes in the province. Malakand and Haripur are the highest-ranking districts in KPK while Kohistan and Shangla are the poorest performing districts.
'It seems from the rankings that Pakistan is only Punjab', said Bushra Gohar, former Member of National Assembly. 'All taxpayers' money goes to security and for spending on education we see towards donors. The state's narrative of security should be changed now and it is time that we start investing on our children'.
In 2014, Karachi is the only district in Sindh to appear in the top 50, compared to none last year. Hyderabad is placed at 53. Thatta, Mirpurkhas and Umerkot are the lowest-scoring districts in Sindh.
As was the case in 2013, districts from Balochistan continue to perform poorly. As a whole, the province showed the greatest improvement in education scores compared to other provinces and regions (11.4 percentage points). Gwadar and Quetta are the highest-ranking districts in the province, while Dera Bugti and Killa Abdullah are the lowest-scoring districts.
When it comes to middle school level district education ranking, three districts of GB - Skardu, Hunza and Gilgit - have grabbed top three positions respectively.
The study also ranks districts according to availability of basic school level infrastructure and facilities. According to district school infrastructure scores at primary level Bannu is on the top following Islamabad and Lahore. Only 6 of the country's 146 districts scored more than 90 in the school infrastructure index. Punjab and KPK dominate the infrastructure rankings, with 48 of the top 50 districts in one of these two provinces.
Sindh has seen a significant decline in the availability of infrastructure dropping more than 20 points. AJK, Balochistan, FATA and GB continue to rate poorly in terms of infrastructure.