More and more girls might be enrolling in primary schools with each passing day, but the situation of these girls making it past the primary level and on to middle school remains abysmal across Punjab. According to new survey by Punjab Commission on Status of Women, middle school enrollment of girls was half of the same at primary level, meaning fewer girls were making it past the first few years of education.

The survey findings suggested that Pakistan lagged far behind in terms of enrollment of girls in schools when compared to other south Asian countries. The net enrollment rates of Pakistan at primary and secondary level of education revealed that girls had lower secondary school enrollment compared to other developing countries.

Citing factors, it said girls reaching the age of puberty and other social and cultural restrictions attached with educating girls could be reasons for the drop in middle school enrolment for girls, while another major factors could simply be the fewer number of middle and high schools available for girls. The number of middle schools for girls stands at 4,622 compared to primary schools that number 16,029.

But one major reason that is often ignored and not cited, but seriously hampers the quality of education in both rural and urban areas, especially for girls, is the simple lack of key facilities at schools. A large number of schools in Pakistan do not have basic facilities like potable water, toilets, electricity, buildings and even boundary walls. It is no surprise then that parents think it apt to not send their kids to school, especially girls, to avoid putting them through the ordeal of obtaining an education in miserable conditions.

It is time the government quits its fancy schemes and focus on the basics to make conditions conducive at schools for getting a decent education.

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