Ammar Sheikh

With the year 2019 seeing its way out, some 1.5 million children remain out of school in Punjab, the number only a slight improvement over the 1.59 million children that could not be enrolled in schools in year 2018.

The annual enrolment campaign was formally launched on March 20, 2019 by Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar and dubbed the Enrolment and Retention Campaign 2019. The campaign set a target of enrolling 13,201,197 out-of-school children in various grades in schools across Punjab and each district was handed out a specific target.

According to the data retrieved from Punjab School Education Department’s (SED) School Information System (SIS), a total of 1,502,700 children could not be enrolled in schools in the annual enrollment drive for 2019.

As per SIS data, around 88.62 percent of the total target, or 11,698,497 children, were enrolled in different grades for the academic year.

Serial Low Performers

Districts in the south of the province remained the worst performers again this year, with Rajanpur, DG Khan, Rahim Yar Khan, Bahawalpur, Lodhran, Bahawalnagar, Multan, Layyah and Khanewal achieving the lowest targets. Some of these districts continued their low enrollment numbers as in the last year.

Rajanpur remained the worst performer in the whole of Punjab, falling 22.62% short of the target. This meant that 50,586 children could not get into school again this year. It was followed by DG Khan, which was unable to enroll 81,159 children, or 21.35% of its set target. Rahim Yar Khan failed to enroll a whopping 133,182 children that made up 19.41% of its target.

Overall, the 10 worst performers accounted for 622,575 children who could not be enrolled or 41.43% of the overall target.

The districts that were most successful in the campaign were Attock, Jhelum, Mandi Bahauddin, Chakwal, Sialkot, Gujrat, Faisalabad, Sargodha, Kasur and Khushab respectively. Attock was able to enroll 238,661 children out of the target of 249,629 children, falling just 4.39%, or 10,968 children, short of its annual target.

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