The Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) have launched the fifth edition of the Pakistan Education Atlas.
“The updated, credible and detailed information can assist the Government and development actors operating in the education sector of Pakistan in making informed policy and programme decisions,” said Haseeb Athar, Secretary for Federal Education and Professional Training, speaking at the launch of the report last Tuesday.
The Atlas is the only national publication providing education indicators by geographic location down to the tehsil level, enabling stakeholders to easily identify priority areas for interventions and resource allocation.
“Education and food security go hand in hand,” said Lola Castro, WFP’s Country Director. “An educated family is more likely to have the means to buy food, and to make smart choices about which foods to eat. WFP, with its broad experience of school meals programmes, is one hundred percent behind the Government of Pakistan’s plans to bring improvement in education sector, and this Atlas is a tangible sign of the deep partnerships that are needed so children can achieve their potential” she said.
In addition to its value as a planning tool, the data from the Atlas also serves as a baseline for measuring progress towards the fourth Sustainable Development Goal (SDG), which aims to ‘ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all’. WFP is committed to supporting the Government of Pakistan to achieve the SDGs by 2030.
The report finds that school enrolment is still an area of concern in Pakistan, with just over half of school-aged children (50.8%) registered, representing only a marginal increase from 50.1% in 2010. Enrolment is higher for primary education, with a net enrolment rate of 72%. This means that 6.08 million children (28% of the total) aged 5-9 years are currently out of school, down from 6.16 million in 2013/14. Of the 6.08 million, 2.55 million are boys and 3.53 million are girls. Just below half of them (44%) live in Punjab, the most populous province.
The report also reveals that only 69% of students who start Grade 1 stay on to Grade 5. Contributing to this is the fact that 67% of government schools have drinking water, while 69% have toilet facilities for students, 57% have electricity and 71% have boundary walls. The availability of these facilities has a direct impact on the retention of students.
The Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training and WFP have worked together on the Pakistan Education Atlas since 2010. Under the one UN Joint Programme of Work, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).