The state of education in Sindh

THE STATE of education sector in Sindh is horrific as government schools are either lacking basic facilities or are poorly managed. Due to several loopholes in the system, it is found that more than half of all children in Sindh are not in school. There are about 12 million children in Sindh of age ranging from 5-16 years. Out of them 6.2 million children are not in schools that makes 51% of it. A deep insight uncovers that out of those 6.2 million, the girls constitute a major fraction of it i.e. 3.3 million (54%).

Net enrollment for girls in primary school is as low as 38% in the rural areas of the province. This drops to just 9% in middle school and5%in high school. The government supply of education is extremely inadequate. There is a serious shortage of supply, with 46,724 government schools in Sindh, of which 42,391 or 91% are primary schools and only 354 or 0.75% are higher secondary schools.

Too many children in Sindh are dropping out of school. With poor facilities, crumbling infrastructure and not enough schools, enrolment among both boys and girls falls dramatically after the primary level. There are 660,158 children enrolled in Class 1 and this number falls to just 205,614 in Class 6-a drop of nearly half a million. Elsewhere in the country at least 80% of students attend class regularly but in Sindh school attendance is just 67% which is the lowest attendance rate in Pakistan.

Learning outcomes are poor. Sindhs children score poorly in reading and mathematics as compared to children in the rest of the country. The education spending is not rationalized and resources are not allocated according to needs. Tharparkar is home to 0.8% of the total number of children in Pakistan but has the largest number of government schools in the country (around 3% of all government schools).

Where schools do exist, their condition is abysmal. Across Sindh, 87% of government school buildings surveyed are in an unsatisfactory condition, according to the Education Department. Nowhere else in the country is this figure more than 50%.

43% of all government schools in Sindh are deprived of basic facilities of toilet. More than half of the schools have no drinking water availability. Electricity situation is stale as 56% of government schools are being operated without electricity. To add insult to injury, more than 41% of the schools in Sindh are without the boundary wall.

Apart from these basic facilities lacking; ghost schools are also a serious challenge. As per the recently conducted survey of non-functional and ghost schools by Supreme Court of Pakistan, there exist at least 6,164 non-functional and ghost schools in Sindh. This means that every 7th school in Sindh is either a ghost school or non-functional. The statistic also reveals that 3 out of every 4 non-functional or ghost schools in Pakistan are in Sindh. Thatta and Tharparkar have the highest number of non-functional and ghost schools in Pakistan (897 and 858 respectively). Effective measures are inevitable to be taken by the provincial government to prioritize education and bring it at par to the desired level of standardization.

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