6.5 million children do not go to school in Sindh

KARACHI: No less than 6.5 million children in Sindh are out of school, which represents 44% of the province’s total children aged 5 to 16.

This was revealed in a recent study titled “The Missing Third – An Out-of-School Study of Pakistani 5-16 Year Olds” conducted by the Pak Alliance for Maths and Science.

“The total population aged 5 to 16 [children] in Sindh is 14,675,864. [And] 44 percent of this population is declared [to be] outside of school. This represents a total of 6,484,007 children unable to attend school in the province, ”says the study. He says that nearly 100 percent of the children of these five-year-olds have never been to school, compared to 63 percent of all of these 16-year-olds. The dropout rate increases steadily with age. It increases sharply between 10 and 11 years old and 14 and 16 years old. Highlighting the reasons for this, the study indicates that education spending is the basic factor why 95 percent of out-of-school children (OOSCs) never attended school. while the reluctance of children is another main reason behind 30 percent of abandoned OOSCs. Likewise, 19 percent do not go to school because they are required to help with work at home and away from home. Of the 29 districts of Sindh, 21 have over 44% OOSC population. The enrollment rate in public schools in Sindh is considerably high, with 21 districts accounting for 70 percent or more of children enrolled in public schools.

In total, 14 of the 29 districts of Sindh were identified in the study as “highly dependent on the state” for education provision. They include Thatta, Kashmore, Tando Muhammad Khan, Sujawal, Badin, Shikarpur, Jacobabad, Tharparkar, Larkana, Mirpurkhas, Kamber-Shahdadkot, Umerkot, Matiari and Shaheed Benazirabad. These districts are home to 3,295,008 OOSCs, which represents 51% of the total OOSC population in Sindh. All six districts of Karachi have more than half of the students enrolled in private schools. Korangi district in Karachi has the highest proportion of children enrolled in private schools at 75 percent.

Meanwhile, more than 80 percent of enrolled students attend public schools in 15 districts of Sindh. The highest proportion of students attending madrasas is found in Tharparkar district with 10 percent, followed by western district of Karachi with 6 percent and eastern district of Karachi with 5 percent.

Citing the latest data released by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, the study indicates that 13 out of 29 districts in Sindh have an OOSC rate of over 50 percent. The seven districts with the lowest OOSC rate in Sindh include Hyderabad and the six districts of Karachi. Thatta ranks the worst in terms of the proportion of OOSC, as 71% of children in Thatta district are out of school, while Kashmore ranks second with 63% OOSC. Tando Muhammad Khan has 66 percent OOSC, Sujawal 65 percent and Badin 63 percent.

In Karachi region, Malir district has 38 percent of the OOSC population while western district has 30 percent and Korangi district has 23 percent. In the eastern and southern districts, 22 percent of children do not go to school. Karachi Central District has the smallest OOSC ratio.

“17 districts have more out-of-school girls than boys compared to 11 districts with more out-of-school boys. Karachi Western District has an equal proportion of out-of-school boys and girls. The report says that after Balochistan, Sindh has the second highest proportion of 16-year-olds who have never been to school. This means that Sindh has a large population of young adults who have never been to school.

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