Pakistan to take measures to address crisis of out-of-school kids

Islamabad:  Pakistan will take special measures to address the issue of out-of-school children and maximise the enrollment of school-age children across the country, according to the Ministry of Planning Development and Special Initiatives.

With an estimated 22.8 million children aged 5-16 years out of school, Pakistan is among countries with the highest numbers of out-of-school children in the world, Xinhua news agency quoted the Ministry as saying in a statement.

In the 5-9 age group, 5 million children are not enrolled in schools and 11.4 million adolescents between the ages of 10-14 were currently not receiving formal education.

The Ministry said that Pakistan has made considerable progress in providing access to education to its school-age population over the years, but the pace of improvement has been slow compared to other developing countries, highlighting that federal and provincial governments have decided to develop a national action plan to address the issue.

A Universal Enrollment Pilot Project will be launched in the capital to ensure that there are no out-of-school children, the Ministry statement said, adding that the project may be replicated to produce similar results in other areas across the country.

Also, a national out-of-school children fund will be created to provide performance-based cash grants to provincial governments for improving education outcomes in the most affected districts.

Additionally, to reduce dropout rates, the government will launch a comprehensive virtual schooling system.

Besides economic factors, gaps in service provision at all education levels and socio-cultural barriers also contribute to children dropping out of schools in Pakistan.


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