Restraining the escalating dropout rate in schools

There is no denying the fact that a country’s overall progress is directly linked with education. In this regard, it is worthwhile to note as to how many children between 5 and 16 years of age are in the schools, and how many of them are out of schools. Recently, an interesting report came to light. It was titled ‘The Missing Third: An out of School Study of Pakistani 5-16 Year Olds by the Pak Alliance for Maths and Science’.

According to this report, there are more than 63m children in Pakistan. As coincidence would have it, there are some misconceptions about education. Similarly, there are misunderstandings about the number of dropouts. This is a reference to ‘in the school’ and ‘out of school’ children. Population-wise, the biggest province of Punjab is generally regarded to be fairly advanced in the matters of education.

But the statistics show that Punjab is on top with 7.7 million ‘out of school’ children. In Sindh, the number is 6.5 million. In KP, it is 3.8 million, while in Balochistan the number is two million. The report says that the state does not cater to 62 percent of all school-going children. However, 90 percent of them drop out before completing 10 years of education. One is not worried about 27 million (42 percent) children, who go to public schools. As many as 16 million children (26 percent) are enrolled in private schools, seminaries or informal educational setups. The worry is about the remaining 32 percent, which comes up to 20 million-plus, who do not go to school. A concerted effort is required on political and administrative level to incentivise the school attendance of these 20 million boys and girls.