NEWS DESK: Certain areas of Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa have shown marked improvements in terms of school infrastructure as per the fifth annual District Education Rankings launched in Islamabad on Thursday by Alif Ailaan.
According to a press release, the rankings use official government data from across the country, along with data from the ASER survey, to assess the performance of districts in education. “The 2017 rankings show that while certain parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab have made marked improvements in school infrastructure, the pace of progress in Sindh, Balochistan and FATA remains a concern,” it read. “Similarly, Gilgit-Baltistan, Azad Jammu and Kashmir, and Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) all show some progress across all indicators.”
Unfortunately, however, the press release states that “despite strong and continued commitments across all political parties, improvements in education have largely been limited to infrastructure upgrades in primary schools”.
The top 10 scoring districts, in terms of indicators such as total provincial score, learning score, retention score and gender parity score, comprise five from Punjab, four from Azad Jammu & Kashmir (AJK) and one from K-P. The highest ranked district from Sindh is Karachi West at the 14th position, followed by Karachi Malir with the 15th rank. From Balochistan, the highest ranked district is Quetta, standing at the 45th position.
“The rankings also show that the gender gap in education is persistent and deeply enmeshed with the school infrastructure challenge especially for middle, high and higher secondary schools,” read the press release. “As a result, the falloff in female enrolment beyond the primary level is steep and stark. There are more than 55 districts in Pakistan where the total number girls are enrolled in high schools is less than one thousand.”
According to the press release, the rankings also demonstrate “the deep intra-provincial inequalities, and the disparities between districts within a province, reflecting a failure of programming at the provincial level”.
In terms of education scores, AJK is ranked highest amongst all provinces and regions in the country followed by the ICT. Meanwhile, Balochistan, Sindh and FATA fall at the bottom of the rankings at ranks 6, 7 and 8, respectively.
“Among the top ten districts in terms of gender parity, eight are from the Punjab,” says the report. “Among the bottom ten, five are from Balochistan.”
Meanwhile, four districts from Sindh and five from the Punjab are in the top 10 performers in terms of retention score, with six districts from FATA and two from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa in the bottom 10.
In terms of learning score, six districts of Azad Jammu & Kashmir are in the top 10 while as many districts from Sindh and four from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa fall in the bottom 10.
As per infrastructure rankings for primary schools, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa is ranked highest followed by the Punjab and Islamabad Capital Territory in the infrastructure score.
“Azad Jammu & Kashmir is ranked at the bottom of the primary school infrastructure rankings,” say the report.
In terms of middle schools, Punjab leads the infrastructure scores, followed by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Islamabad Capital Territory.
Meanwhile, Balochistan and AJK are at the bottom of the table with the lowest scores.
According to the report, “Islamabad Capital Territory ranks highest in the beyond primary readiness scores followed by the Punjab and Gilgit-Baltistan”.
It adds that Balochistan and FATA are at the bottom of the provincial rankings in this category. “Top ten districts include five from Gilgit-Baltistan, four from the Punjab and Islamabad Capital Territory.”