ISLAMABAD - Around 78 percent of children aged 5-16 years were enrolled in schools in rural Pakistan during 2014, showing the same percentage of last year.

According to the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) for the year 2014, there was a constant gender gap among out-of-school children with more girls than boys not enrolled or dropped out of school. In 2014 and 2013, among the 22 percent out-of-school children 10 percent were males and 12 percent were females.

The ASER is the largest household based learning survey mostly in all rural and selected urban areas. It is conducted each year across the country, which measures learning levels of children 5-16 years - the same age group identified for compulsory education in Article 25-A of Constitution. The ASER further revealed that in 2014, 21 percent of children (age 6-16) were reported to be out-of-school and 15 percent children have never been enrolled in a school and 6 percent have dropped out of school for various reasons.

Furthermore, 79 percent of all school-aged children within an age bracket of 6-16 years were enrolled in schools. Amongst these, 70 percent of children were enrolled in government schools whereas 30 percent of children were going to non-state institutions (27 percent private schools, 2 percent Madrassah, 1 percent others).

Significant shift was witnessed in terms of enrolment from government to private schools. In 2014, 70 percent of enrolled children were seen to be going to government schools while 30 percent were going to private schools. Similar trend was witnessed in rest of provinces where private sector was observed to be growing.

With regard to pre-school enrolment (3-5 years), it was 39 percent in 2014 as compared to 41 percent in 2013. Around 61 percent children of age 3-5 were not enrolled in any early childhood programme/schooling. The highest enrolment in this age group was 76 percent in Islamabad and the lowest in Balochistan with 28 percent. In urban areas, it was 58 percent.

During the period, private tuition incidence and uptake seemed more prevalent among private than government school students like that seen in previous years. Around 25 percent of all private school-going children were found taking paid tuition compared to only 6 percent of all government school children.

The survey also found that only 24 percent of mothers in sampled households had completed at least primary schooling against 48 percent of fathers. With regard to school facilities in rural parts, the ASER showed that during the period 3,968 government and 1,532 private schools in 144 rural districts of Pakistan were surveyed.

Overall teacher attendance in government schools was 88 percent and 93 percent in private school. Overall student attendance in government schools stood at 85 percent whereas it was 90 percent in private schools.