According to a study made by Federal Bureau of Statistics on Pakistan Social and Living Standard Measurements (PSLSM) 2010-11 Gross Enrollment Rate (GER) at primary level (AGE5-9) in Kyber Pukhtunkhwa is 86 per cent. The second most in the country after Punjab having 98 percent GER and leaving Sindh, 82 per cent and Balochistan 37 per cent behind. This mean education is available to most of young people in the province.
But according to statistics conducted by PSLSM the GER at middle level (AGE 10-12) stands at 54 per cent in KP which gradually decreases. The GER at metric level (AGE 14-16) in KP is 52 percent. According to published report of World Bank only 30 percent of children receive secondary education and only 19 percent attend upper secondary schools. The report further states Tertiary (University) enrollment rates are less than 5 percent of the eligible age group (AGE 17-23).
The question is about seeking factors responsible for this fall out in the statistics. There are various factors responsible but the main is the mother of all evils “poverty”. Poverty is the basic factor that makes the parents, decide the academic life of their children quit. Majority of people in this province hardly make their ends meet through their daily wages. Most of them are not able to provide two times bread to their family with ease. The number of members of a single family is also an issue in society like ours. A single person ought to nourish nine to ten members of his family-comprised his children and wife. The parents relying on fewer amounts earned as a daily wage are compelled to indulge their children for supporting the family.
The children quit their studies for the sake of earning livelihood for the family. Most of parents that make the children out of schools are of the view that the existing education hardly benefits them. They consider it as waste of time and money. One with such mind perception, Ahamd Gul, 47, is of the view that most of graduated students are without any job. Ahamd Gul has made Imran, 16-his son, out of school when he was studying in class four. Imran help me in the shop and earn his pocket money as well while his fellows would still be in schools without earning a penny, Ahmad Gul added.
Due to the lack of awareness among the parents the education is considered only the mean for earning money. But despites this, education enable its beneficiaries to judge the bloomy and gloomy scenario of the world. Who will make Ahmad Gul understand that Imran can establish and expand his business on batter grounds, after getting educated? Through the strength of education, a person can establish and sustain his business comparatively far batter than an illiterate.
The parents who made their children out of schools not solely agree with Gul Ahmad. Some of them wish to educate their children but due the financial challenges they make their children out of schools. These parents are of the view that due to current circumstances with high price hikes they are not able to afford the high fees and other expenditures of schools and colleges.
Provincial government provides free education until secondary level. Shahriyar Ahmad a father of a student, who quit the study in 8th class, said the parents hardly afford the expenses of their children in spites the government subsidies for books and fee. How they would further afford their children if the education is not free, Shahriyar asked.
Education is not a priority for our policy makers. The budget allocated for education in the country is less than 1.5 per cent of the federal budget. Imtiaz Hussain Gilani the ex-provincial minister and Vice Chancellor of University of Engineering and Technology Peshawar, is of the view that Pakistan is at the bottom of those countries list, which allocated the lowest amount of its budget for education. He said we are even behind from Bhutan and Nepal, as they spent more amount of their budget for education than that of ours.
Majority of people hardly make their ends meet. They are not able to afford the children to secondary level, how would they afford the expenditures of colleges and universities. The government is required to cut-off awful expenditures and may copy the neighboring country Sri Lanka where government is responsible to provide free education up to Tertiary level. It would benefit the country as well as national economy. Keep in mind an educated wouldn’t easily be pry of Indian, Russian, Israeli or US propaganda but unfortunately before keeping this in mind the politician had already kept in minds that an educated Pakistani wouldn’t easily be manipulated through their emotional slogans and promises for acquiring their votes.