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Seminar regrets poor education for girls, alarming dropout rate

By: Kaiwan Danish

MIANWALI – Mianwali stands at 10 out 36 districts of Punjab in terms of children’s enrolment rate in schools however, it maintains a low enrolment rate of only 68 percent at primary level which shows a dropout rate of deplorable level in the district.

Among those who attend school, almost a 33 percent of them drop out schools before completing primary level education. Calling attention to the situation, parents, teachers and social activists pressed the rulers at a seminar to show commitment towards the situation.

Speaking at the seminar, Malik Muhammad Firoz, ex-MPA and candidate for PP-46 said, “Education in Pakistan can’t be promoted until the politicians really commit to solving the problem. PML N sees education as a political issue and realises that it requires political will to be promoted. This is why, education is one of our top priorities and we will work towards finding a solution to it rather than just making promises.”

Currently, less than two-thirds of the population in district Mianwali is literate. The situation at matric level is even more serious where only 24% of the children attend schools, this is half for girls as compared to boys. On the other hand, the dropout rate at primary level is double for girls as compared to boys.

Haifz Javed Iqbal Sajid, Ameer of Jamaat-e-Islami and candidate for NA-72 said, “Gender disparity in education is a serious concern. There is not only a need to promote education as a whole but also pay special attention to ensuring barriers to female education are addressed. Pakistan needs to meet the Millennium Development Goals by 2015, the clock is ticking. Though a lot of work is being done, still more needs to be done. If the new government fails to address education after these elections, a golden opportunity will be missed. Jamaat-e-Islami will strive to ensure that special attention is paid to girls’ education.”

According to official figures, there are more primary schools for girls than those for boys in the district. However there are only 66 girls middle schools compared to 95 boys middle schools. The situation is even worse when the number of high and higher secondary schools for boys and girls is compared. There are only 94 high schools out of which more than two-thirds are for boys and only less than a third are for girls. As a result the enrolment rate at the secondary level is 16% for girls and 31% for boys.

According to Alif Ailaan, an increase in education budget is not the only answer. “Smart allocation and effective monitoring of fund utilisation is needed as well. The new government will have big task ahead of them, we have high expectations. We all know the problem, what we need to see is if the new government will actually take steps to remedy the education crisis,” he said.

At present the quality of education in Mianwali is so poor that only one in two of the schoolchildren can read a simple story in Urdu and only a third of the school going children can resolve simple Maths questions. Speakers at the seminar said that they will only vote for those candidates who show a commitment towards securing the future of their children by promoting education in Mianwal.

Source: The Nation