BAHAWALPUR - Poverty and low standard of education are main reasons behind high dropout rate, said Engineer Blighur Rehman, state minister for education, training and standards in higher education.

“We, the people of Pakistan, are passing through grievous time pertaining to education with high dropout rates at primary and secondary levels and gender inequality. In the country, the education of girls is given less importance as compared to the boys’,” he said during an international conference on education held at NUML Islamabad.

He further said that another hurdle in the way of education was insufficient financial resources on the part the state as well as the parents. He told the audience that 50 percent people comprise youth below the age of thirty. Although the situation at the higher education level is better than that of the primary and secondary levels, only eight percent of the students are able to make way to the universities so the access to higher education is also very low, he said.

Discussing the reasons of high dropout rates, the minister said that the students’ access to high school is very limited in certain areas and the government was not able to help these children in this regard. Because of poverty, they have to leave education, he said. He further said that there was another reason of the dropout rate when students and parents feel that nothing valuable was being added to the personality of the learner due to poor quality of education. He stressed a need for devising a plan to promote education and emphasised excellence in every field of life.

He elaborated that Islam has given paramount importance to getting education. To make the things better, he said, there must be strong liaison among the universities, the government and the industries. He also mentioned the current national crises like loadshedding, lawlessness and deteriorating economy, and said that even then the promotion of education was the top priority of the government. He said that the funding of Higher Education Commission had been increased from Rs49 billion to Rs58 billion. He said that his government was planning to enhance educational budget. He said that the government was planning to widen the tax net to increase funds for the education sector. He said that the federal government would evolve a curricula commission in collaboration with the provinces with minimum standards to be followed.