Importance of Schools

Insertion of Article 25-A in the Constitution has guaranteed the provision of free and compulsory education by the state to all children in the age cohort of 5 to 16 years. The 18th amendment and insertion of Article 25-A has the potential to accelerate the pace of achievement of national and international targets towards the achievements of MDGs since right to free and compulsory education has been recognized. In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa the lack of appropriate public sector educational institutes leads to the high ratio of drop out from schools. The available public sector schools in KP are not able to support high influx of students passing out from primary schools. Each second union council in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province has no high school for girls, leaving thousands of female students to drop out after completing primary education. Latest official data reveals that around 505 out of the total 990 union councils in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have no high school for girls showing the apathy of the successive governments towards female education in the militancy-ravaged province.

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Similarly, 158 union councils have no high schools for boys. In the absence of high schools both for girls and boys majority of the students in the respective areas have no option but to stop going to schools after completing primary education. Unfortunately, on one hand a number of educational institutions, particularly for girls, were blown up or torched in the militant-infested districts of the province while on other the government in past failed to pay heed to establishment of high schools to boost the already deteriorating standard of education. The insecurity and lack of schools have increased the dropout rate of the children in early age. Sitting aside the far-off districts like inaccessible Kohistan and Dir, even the capital city of Peshawar is short of educational institutions. Out of total 93 union councils in Peshawar, about 55 have no high school for girls while 32 of them are without high school for boys, according to the data. Out of 75 union councils in Mardan the second largest city in KP, 34 have no high school for girls and 15 have no high school for boys.

The Kohistan district has total 38 union councils but only one of them has a high school for girls. Similarly, its 24 union councils have no high schools for boys. Bannu has 47 union councils and among them 23 have no high school for girls and 15 are without high school for boys. Similarly, 41 union councils in Swat, 21 in Abbottabad, 23 in Chitral, 27 in Charsadda, 14 in Dera Ismail Khan, 10 in Lower Dir, 33 in Mansehra, 24 in Nowshera, 23 in Lakki, 16 in Battagram, 20 in Upper Dir, 23 in Shangla and 13 in Hangu have no high schools for girls. According to policy analysis report from UNESCO in 2012, there are about 2,845,843 students enrolled at primary level throughout KP, while only 1,077,597 at high schools in KP.

This shows that almost 50% get dropped out after primary schools due to one reason or another, the most prevailing of which is the huge difference in the number of institutes both at primary and high level leads to the drop out of most of the students due to the non-availability of high schools in their locality or the high schools available do not have the facilities to accommodate the large number of students. Majority of the population cannot afford the fee structures of private schools so they are unwillingly compelled to discontinue the education of their children, and leaving no option but to involve their children in child labor. The lack of High Schools in the locality also leads to dropout. Due to cultural norms and values people mostly don’t send their female children to schools far from them.

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