An education crisis
“Failure to provide education is, without doubt, Pakistan’s most urgent self-inflicted disaster.”
“50% of school children in Pakistan (aged 6-16) cannot read a sentence. That is an education emergency.”
“Pakistan is crippled by an education emergency that threatens tens of millions of children.”
Quotes are from the Pakistan Education Task Force in 2011, but nothing has changed, and these could still have been written today!
Pakistan’s schools are totally inadequate to meet the needs of the country’s exploding population.
- 30% of the population—60 million children—are between 5 and 16 years old.
- 22.5 million or 50% of school aged children (5-16 years old) are “out of school” . The second highest country in the world according to the UNESCO.
- 50% drop out of school within the first five years (the second highest dropout rate in the world). Only 22 % of girls and 47 % of boys complete primary school (World Bank).
- A report from the International Crisis Group on Education Reform in Pakistan describes “a deeply-flawed national curriculum that promotes xenophobia and religious intolerance”. Because of the strong emphasis on Islamic teaching and ethics, few children from minority communities attempt to enrol in government schools.
- “Madrasas and religious schools of Islamic parties and foundations fill the gaps of a dilapidated public education sector but contribute to religious extremism and sectarian violence.” (ICG report)
- Quality education is the privilege of the wealthy elite who can afford the high fees at private schools. The poor remain illiterate and destined to be servants of the rich.
By any standards this is an emergency, especially for minority communities. One survey estimated that only 6% of Christians have reached Class 5 and only 4% have finished High School, resulting in a Christian population that is not only poor but also without hope.