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Plummeting Educational Crisis, As Out-Of-School Children Soars To 2nd Highest In World

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Pakistan is facing an educational crisis as millions of children are out-of-school and those who attend schools face issues due to teacher absenteeism and poor learning milieu, said Nadia Naviwala, on Thursday.

Talking to a private news channel, Nadia who is a Global Fellow at Wilson Centre said, Pakistan paid undue attention to increasing its school enrolment figures, as it has the second-highest number of out of school children in the world. However, the central education challenge in the country was that children in school were not learning anything new, which led to early drop-outs, she added.

Naviwala said learning levels in Pakistan were extremely low, as according to study by LEAPS in 2013 found that only 31 percent of third-graders in Pakistan could write a grammatically correct and coherent sentence using the word school in it. Only 11 percent students could complete a task in English. Moreover, just 65 percent students could subtract single digits, while 25 percent students could read and write time from a clock.

She said according to an estimate only 40 percent of girls and 50 percent of boys either never attend school or drop out after completing third grade. She also pinpointed the findings of Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) report published in 2015. The report found that 44 percent of third-graders in rural areas of the country, both private and public were unable to read a sentence in the Urdu language. Moreover, 55 percent students who succeed to stay through school till fifth grade were able to read a story in Urdu. ASER data despite being popular among academicians and researchers was not reliable enough, she added.

Naviwala noted that children in Pakistan were expected to be trilingual but were not given proper instructions in any of the languages. For over 90 percent of students, their mother language was other than Urdu, such as Sindhi, Punjabi, Saraiki, or Balochi. Also, research indicates that children learnt best in their mother languages, however, children studied subjects in Urdu and English languages, which was the major reason behind failure in absorbing the essence of the material, she stated.

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