The Education for All (EFA), Global Monitoring Report (GMR) 2016 was launched on 6th September 2016. The theme for this year’s report is “Education for People and Planet: Creating Sustainable Futures for All” aiming to achieve progress towards the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) under Goal 2, targeted universal primary school access by 2015 and the SDGs under Goal 4, target universal secondary schooling access by 2030. However, if current global rates continue, we will reach universal primary school access in late 2042 and universal secondary school access in 2084 – 54 years after the proposed 2030 agenda. Hence, all countries need to increase efforts to achieve and maintain the current education targets by 2030.
Below we take a look at some of the information presented in the 2016 EFA GMR, point out lessons learnt and way forward for Pakistan. For information in percentages, please keep in mind that because of large populations in low and middle income economies, percentages may not accurately portray the number of children who are out of school or deprived of basic educational amenities. For example, India has the second-highest number of children out of school (compared to countries with data available) and yet has a 98% adjusted primary net enrolment rate.
According to the report, 2014 data shows that there are some 25 million children worldwide of the pirmary school age who will never enrol in school. In South Asia, amongst the children who are currently out of school, 62% will never enrol – this percentage increases to 81% amongst girls.
Latest data by the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) shows that nearly 263 million children and youth (aged 6-17 years) are currently out of school. Of these, 142 million are upper secondary school children, aged 15-17. The report shows countries with the largest out of school numbers as of 2014 in which Pakitan is included with nearly 16 million secondary school aged children out of school.
Of the children who do enrol in primary school, many drop out – in Pakistan, only 25% of children enrolled in primary school end up completing matric (10th grade). The report compares the years of education attained by people aged 20-24, divided by wealth, across 90 low and middle income countries. Within this graph, Pakistan is within the bottom 20 countries – where the average years of schooling completed by children in the richest households is around 11 years compared to less than three years by children in the poorest household.
Keeping with the theme, the report also looks into the relationship between climate change and education, and believes that education expansion is more effective against climate change than traditional infrastructural investments. Countries with low and middle income economies are generally more at risk of climate related events – Pakistan is among the top ten countries most affected in the last decade from 1995 to 2014. However, projection shows that universal access to 12 years of education by 2030 would help prevent 200,000 disaster-related deaths anticipated till 2050. The figure below shows that on average only 40% of children in Pakistan will complete lower secondary schooling (up till 8th grade).