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Education for all: The broken promise

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Since 1967, International Literacy Day (ILD) celebrations have taken place annually around the world. Their aim is to highlight the importance of literacy to individuals, communities and societies. Despite the progress made, about 258 million children and youth are still out of school the world over. The total includes 59 million children of primary school age, 62 million of lower secondary school age and 138 million of upper secondary age. These numbers must be a serious concern for the world community.

Pakistan has the world’s second highest number of out-of-school children. Data shows that Pakistan is facing a serious challenge to ensure education for all. According to UNICEF, an estimated 22.8 million children (aged between five and 16) are out of school in Pakistan. This is the world’s second highest number of out-of-school children. It represents 44 percent of the total population in this age group. The country is facing a serious challenge to enroll and retain disadvantaged children, particularly rural girls, in schools.

Nearly 10.7 million boys and 8.6 million girls are enrolled at the primary level and this drops to 3.6 million boys and 2.8 million girls at the lower secondary level. This means that after primary-school age the number of out-of-school children doubles. Disparities based on geographical location, gender and socio-economic status are significant. 32 percent of primary school age girls are out of school, compared to 21 percent of boys. These statistics show high numbers of out-of-school children, with significant gender disparities, across the country, but Sindh and Balochistan are much worse than........

© Pakistan Today

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