A seminar titled “Female Education in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P)” was recently held to discuss factors that can be utilised to improve girls’ education in the province. The seminar was organised by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) to discuss findings of its long-term impact assessment study, begun in 2006, to analyse the effectiveness of a stipend programme to encourage girls’ enrolment in K-P’s secondary schools. The group found that when a stipend of Rs200 was given to each girl between grades six and 10, school enrolment increased by seven per cent. The study also found factors that impact school enrolment include distance between home and school, unequal socio-economic conditions and family size.
It was revealed that with each additional family member, the probability of a girl’s schooling decreases by 0.7 per cent. This fact should be shared with populations who frequently choose to conceive more children than the average family size. Families should also be made aware of the financial demands that are incurred when a new life is brought into this world. Once a child is born, parents have additional food, furniture, clothing and medical costs — and, of course, the cost of educating each child. Hence, awareness needs to be spread about how family size can impact the probability of a child obtaining education, especially for girls. Conversely, families should be made aware of the economic benefits of education because this can increase female participation in education by 5.2 per cent, as found by the SDPI.
The Institute also reported that many young women are discouraged to pursue education because of unequal socio-economic conditions. The challenge here is that until more women obtain education and learn to fight for their rights, the inequality will remain. The next government must undertake initiatives similar to this stipend project by the SDPI. Because this initiative proved successful, other provinces should follow suit as girls’ education all across Pakistan is in a dreary state.
Source: The Express Tribune