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9% Kids Aged Between 6-16 Still Out Of School In Punjab: ASER Report

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LAHORE– Punjab has witnessed an improvement in learning and enrollment, however 48 per cent of children aged between 3-5 and 9pc of children aged between 6-16 years still remain out of school.
In contrast, the survey in 7 urban centers across Punjab reveals that only 3% children are out of school, according to the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2019 Punjab (rural) survey. 
These findings were made public in the report of Pakistan’s largest annual citizen-led household based ASER Survey 2019 – the ninth ASER Survey report in a row launched in Lahore on Tuesday, February 25, 2020. 
The report was released by Punjab Minister for School Education Dr Murad Rass here on Tuesday. Chairperson Standing Committee on Education  Ayesha Nawaz, UNICEF’s education specialist Rubina Nadeem, MPA Uzma Kardar, Quaid e Azam Acedemy Director General Amtul Qadoos, Additional Secretary Literacy Punjab Bashir Ahmed Goraiya, media experts and others participated in the event. There was a unanimous consensus for urgent actions to be taken for a future based on an educated Pakistan to halt the protracted devaluing of its social capital.
ASER is a flagship program of Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi (ITA) implemented in partnership with civil society organizations; 3,000 volunteer citizens visited 35 districts in 1,031 villages to implement the ASER survey from 20,677 households and 51,952 children aged between 3-16 years.
For the year 2019, the ASER rural survey assessed 43,293 children of 5-16 year-age cohort in Language (Urdu), English, and Arithmetic competencies mapped to grade 2 curriculum and textbooks. In two districts, the survey was successfully conducted through androids, testing for at scale survey solutions that are paperless, efficient and transparent.
ASER Punjab rural results over the years highlight a decline in the number of children going to private sector schools; 28% children of age 6-16 are enrolled in private sector in 2019 compared to 37% in 2014. The shift to government/public sector schools has increased the enrolment share from 63% (2014) to 72% in 2019.
According to the rural report, student competencies in learning Language, English, and Arithmetic have improved: 75% of the children from Class V read Class II level story text in Urdu; in English, 71% of the surveyed Class V students could read sentences, meant for students at second grade. Arithmetic learning levels have also improved since 2018; now 82% of class V children could do a two-digit division, pegged at second grade curriculum. Overall, 85% of the children enrolled in grade 5 in all urban districts surveyed in Punjab can read a story in the local language, 84% can read sentences in English while 78% can do division.
The ASER report highlights school functioning across every district in Punjab. Teachers’ attendance in government schools was reported 89% while in private schools, it stood at 90%, on the day of the survey. Whilst private school teachers were reported to have better qualifications at graduate levels, 40%, compared to 26% in government schools; however, for MA/MSC qualifications of public primary school teachers, 62% were reported to be higher than private sector teachers which stood at 28%.
Better school facilities in Government Sector:  97% government primary schools had boundary-walls as compared to 93% private primary schools; for functional toilets, the facility was available in 94% public and 89% private primary schools; safe and conducive environments do affect learning positively across public and private schools.
Health and Disability: ASER 2019 school level survey, included a “Health and Disability” section; head teachers/teachers were asked questions pertaining to Children with Disabilities (CWDs) and appropriate facilities in their respective schools. Overall, 22.4% of the surveyed government schools reported having children with disabilities, compared to 18.1% private schools.
Of the types of disability prevalence in schools, the highest reported was physical, 36.90%,  followed by behavioral, 15.18% and hearing, 11.31%. Of the surveyed schools, 3.89% government and 4.21% of private schools had ramps; 5.26% of government schools and 5.39% of private schools had disability-friendly toilets.
ASER Pakistan, collects information from children on learning and other critical indicators across rural and urban households alongside schools producing internationally comparable data on the acquisition of foundational lower primary skills, holding national and global-level institutions accountable for delivering on the 4 promises of SDG.
ASER Pakistan not only collects data to highlight education challenges across the country but it identifies the most under-privileged areas within Pakistan, surviving under extreme poverty, where girls in rural areas, and the disabled are likely to be most vulnerable.
Addressing the ceremony, Mr Rass said that the government would establish 100 new schools in Lahore with the cost of Rs 210 million. He said that the schools were being established in the areas where there were no schools.
He said that the last school in Lahore was opened in 2005 and after that, no new school was opened. He said that there was need to change education system but it required a huge money. He said that it was easy to highlight problems but dificult to find solutions. He said that he PTI government had identified solutions to those problems and the process of their implementaion was continued.
He said that only change in the text book could not resolve issues until the teachers were trained. He said that curriculum books and teachers both should be improved together. He said that if a teacher is not qualified and competent, then books were of no use.
He said that in the past, the governments did not focus on school education but the present government was working day and night for the betterment of education sector. He said that if the foundation stone would be strong, then the whole education system would produce good results. He said that in near future, the number of out-of-school children would reduce considerably.
He said that it was a must to make clear the concept of children about English language  before teaching. He said that the government had completed homework before taking any initiative due to which people would see good results in the future. The minister was of the view that the public and private sectors must play their role to improve education sector.— PRESS RELEASE

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