Islamabad - Although there has been a considerable 4 percent increase in primary level enrolment in a year for the first time, yet about 6.2 million children of age 5 to 9 are out-of-school across Pakistan.

The Pakistan Education Statistics 2013-14 launched on Tuesday recorded 4 percent increase in enrolment of primary aged children as net enrolment ratio (NER) has surged from 68 to 72 percent.

Overall, about 53 percent (2.9 million) out-of-school children and 43 percent out-of-school girls live in Punjab, says the study. In Islamabad Capital Territory, 24,000 children are out of school, in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 0.4 million, in Sindh, 1.8 million, and in Balochistan 0.54 million children of primary age do not go to school, it states.

The report has been prepared by Academy of Educational Planning and Management (AEPAM), and National Education Management Information System (NEMIS), Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training in collaboration with Alif Ailaan.

The National Action Plan (2013-16) last year had recorded 32 percent children out-of-school while this study has found 28 percent children who do not go to school showing a 4 percent improvement in enrolment rates, maintained Yasir Irfan, Senior Programmer at AEPAM.

Massive enrolment campaigns in provinces and territories and various government policies that enhanced the role of private sector and vocational institutions increased the overall enrolment ratios, he said.

Though the National Action Plan (2013-2016) had set the target of 78 percent enrollments till 2015 that currently stands as 74, yet 4 percent NER increase is a considerable improvement that should be appreciated, asserted Minister of State for Federal Education and Professional Training Baleegh-ur-Rehman.

According to the report, the overall population of primary age group boys in Pakistan is 11.2 million and out of them 8.6 million are enrolled whereas remaining 2.6 million are out-of-school. Likewise, overall primary age group population of girls is 10.4 million in the country and of them 6.8 million are in schools while remaining 3.6 million are out-of-school.

There has been an increase of about 4.30 percent and 7.32 percent in 2012-13 in boys and girls enrolment at pre-primary level in government schools, an increase of 11 percent at middle level of education, a very significant increase of 29.60 percent in higher secondary level but a decline of 8.89 percent and 5.61 percent for boys and girls enrolment at primary stage of education all over the country since 2008-09, it says.

Moreover, the report points towards a low level of effective transition rate between primary and lower secondary level that shows a significant proportion of school going age population is excluded from the system at the very early stage of lower secondary level.

Except of Punjab and ICT, the transition rate from primary to lower secondary level is less than 80 percent in other parts of the country.  The same issue persists at the upper secondary level as lower levels of transition between lower secondary and upper secondary level is observed implying that gradually higher number of school age going children are getting out of the system.

Currently the survival ratio of grade-5 stands at 68 percent. Pupil-teacher ratio at primary level is 34 percent that should be 30 according to international standards. And, pupil-classroom ratio is 39 overall at the primary level whereas there should be 30 students in a class as per set standards.

Adult literacy rate (Age 10+) stands at 60 percent in the country and youth literacy (Age15-24) rate at 72 percent.  

Regarding the availability of physical infrastructure, the report reveals that 65 percent educational institutes have drinking water facility, 69 percent have toilet, 59 percent have electricity, 92 percent have buildings and 70 percent have boundary walls. The report reveals the enrolment of students at primary level both at public and private level is 17.790 million, at middle level (Class VI to VIII) 6.270 million, high level 2.309 million, higher secondary level 1.411 million, degree colleges (grade 13 and 14) is 1.336 million, at universities level 1.595 million.   Besides, a formal education set up about 0.309 million students are enrolled in technical and vocational institutes and 0.537 million in non-formal education set up i.e. basic education community schools. About 1.836 million pupils are enrolled in 13,405 religious seminaries in Pakistan, of which 393 (3 percent) are functional in public sector while 13,012 (97 percent) are in private sector.