Gender equality: Harsh realities for the softer sex in Pakistan

Gender equality: Harsh realities for the softer sex in Pakistan

Fakhar Durrani

Islamabad — Whenever you see some civil society woman activist or a woman parliamentarian speaking on a TV show, do not be misled with the notion that Pakistan is now an equal opportunity country.

It has been on the second last in the Annual Gender Gap Index rankings in the last three years.

“We’re too much protective about women; seldom let them out of home or let them exercise their free will in marriage, vote, career selection,” says Hina Haider, a teacher of a private school of Lahore.

The 2014 data of National Police Bureau’s Gender Crime Center says that on average more than one woman is killed every day in the name of honor and 56 women were killed solely for giving birth to girls.

The last three years’ consecutive scoring of second last position in the annual Gender Gap Index ranking, reflects Pakistan needs ‘centuries’ to ensure gender equality.

According to data of National Police Bureau, during 2014, 12,558 cases of violence against women and girls were reported including 517 cases of domestic violence, 3141 of physical abuse, 17 of psychological abuse, 26 of economic abuse, 665 of forced marriages, 46 of incest, 6 Vani, 1 of Sawara, 6 of Wata Sata, 41 of Life threat, 139 of stalking, 2863 of sexual assault, 770 of sexual harassment, 29 of acid throwing, 381 of honor killing, 6 of stove burning, and 3904 cases in other categories.

courtesy: www.jworldtimes.com
courtesy: http://www.jworldtimes.com

Sonya Iqbal 19, of small village Basti Tiba Pathan Wala of district Layyah in southern part of Punjab was lynched to death with iron rods by her uncle for marrying the man of her own choice on January 01, 2014.

She eloped with Abdul Sattar in June 2013, and settled in Multan where they held court marriage and requested the court for giving orders for their protection. The Lahore High Court’s Multan Bench issued orders of their protection. However Sonya’s family by pressurising the boys family demanded to divorce her and give her back to them.

Abdul Sattar’s family later agreed to divorce her as they could not bear the pressure and returned Sonya to her family. However at that time she was pregnant and her family forced her to abort but she refused. Then came doomsday: one morning her uncle came to their home, and called her to a room.

Police say Sonya’s mother was alerted to cries. When she ran to the room the door was shut from inside. After few minutes Sajjad, the uncle of Sonya, came out of the room with his clothes drenched in blood and told her mother that he has killed her “prostitute daughter”.

Her mother got registered a case against Sajjad and according to post-mortem report Soniya was battered 54 times with an iron rod piercing it one ear to the other. Despite passage of almost two years the police is yet to arrest the killer whereas Sonya’s father divorced her mother after she refused to withdraw police case against Sajjad and did second marriage.

When this correspondent contacted District Police Officer Layyah Ghazi Salahuddin said they have sent several police parties for the arrest of Sajjad but none of the family member cooperated the police. He however said sooner or later the culprit would be brought to justice.

Just like Sonya there were 380 more victims of honor killing who were killed last year brutally by none other than their own families. According to National Police Bureau’s Gender Crime Center’s data 208 accused killers are yet to be arrested. Similarly the data shows 29 victims of acid throwing but no serious action has been taken against the perpetrators as yet.

It is pertinent to mention here t hat Pakistan signed, ratified and adopted international instrument of ending violence against women – UN Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against women (CEDAW), in 1996.  Also Pakistan is signatory to the MDG’s, where the third goal on “gender equality and empowerment of women” essentially acknowledges the need to address gender-based violence.

Although the government declared that all children of the ages 5–16 must go to school, currently literacy rate of females is 47% as of 2014, data of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics suggests. Pakistan’s maternal mortality ratio, estimated to be 260 deaths per 100,000 births, with over 75 per cent of deliveries taking place at home and skilled personnel attending only about 20 per cent of them, is estimated to be one of the highest in South Asia.

As of 2008, out of the 47 million employed people in Pakistan, only 9 million were women, and of those 9 million, 70 percent worked in the agricultural. The proportion of all female-headed households in Pakistan was estimated as 10.9 percent, with women heading 11.5 and 9.7 of rural and urban households respectively, National Institute of Pakistan Studies’ research reflects.

The Constitution of Pakistan, 1973, Article 27, states that women would have an equal opportunity to enter the civil service as men.  In 2007, the GoP adopted a policy that 10 percent positions in government were to be reserved for women and allocated according to the share of total civil service positions allocated to each province/region.

However due to lack of educational opportunity at the matriculation and above levels limit women’s ability to compete for high scores on tests used to rank candidates to be considered for a post. During 2008 to 2013, five women were Parliamentary Secretaries out of a total of 26 (20 percent).  Women were chairs of less than 20 percent of the Standing Committees in the National Assembly and the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), Punjab and Sindh Provincial Assemblies.  Women representatives were able to move 20 out of 53 members’ bills during this period, data shows.

Similarly, none of the 17 judges of the Supreme Court are women. According to a national level survey conducted by Aurat Foundation, seventy percent of women are not allowed to leave the home to: i) visit a bank, ii) attend a meeting, iii) go to a job or iv) pursue education.

According to a multi district study in Pakistan by Rutgers World Population Foundation, 66 % of interviewed women had experienced sexual violence and three fourth of the interviewed women reported having experienced physical violence. It is important to note that socio-cultural and structural barriers as well as victim shaming contribute to severe under-reporting of violence against women and girls.

courtesy: www.dawn.com
courtesy: http://www.dawn.com

Muhammad Rizwan Saeed Program Manager in a local NGO working on gender issues in Pakistan says, discrimination and violence are major roadblocks in social growth and justice in any society.

“Gender based discrimination and violence because of the dis-proportionally large numbers of individuals vulnerable to it and its intersection with most other development indicators such as education, health, economic opportunity, quality of life becomes a critical issue that needs to be addressed. Moreover it is intensified for certain groups because of divisions in society in the form of religious or sexual identity, class, ethnicity, age and disability,” commented Rizwan.

He said, there are three women’s governmental/quasi-governmental organizations in Pakistan at national and provincial levels, National Commission on Status of Women, Provincial ( KP and Punjab)  Commissions on the Status of  Women, Social Welfare and Women Development departments and Women’s Caucuses at National and Provincial Assembly levels but they too are facing multidimensional challenges.

The above stated state of affairs, he said is not the product of single factor or linked to a specific time period. Gender injustices and inequalities are a structural phenomenon with roots in our cultural, socio-economic and political power relations. These reduces women to economic and emotional dependency, the property of some male protector or the masculine state.

The World Economic Forum Global Gender Gap 2014 report placed Pakistan in the second lowest (141st) spot in the world in terms of gender disparity. Talking about this gap, WEF said in a statement, “Based on this trajectory, with all else remaining equal, it will take 81 years for the world to close this gap completely”.

Pakistan needs centuries to control HIV epidemic

Pakistan needs centuries to control HIV epidemic

Fakhar Durrani

ISLAMABAD: In 2009, there were 91,000 people who injected drugs (PWID) in Pakistan with HIV prevalence at 27.2 percent. In 2011, the spread was recorded 37.2 percent.  It is 2015 now, and it is your guess how HIV has gripped the Pakistani society which has missed almost all the 11 targets to eradicate HIV. Data on 13 of 31 indicators reflecting key features of the epidemic is not available at all.

Regardless of the ground situation, Pakistan tries to hide behind somewhat fudged data on HIV presented to UNAIDS. “The number of people living with HIV is two-time higher than the actual data reported by Pakistan to the UNAIDS taking Pakistan on the list of top 20 countries having PLHIVs”, reads official data on HIV.

Copy of Untitled drawing

The latest data by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) and UNODC on PWIDs shows that by the end of 2013, they crossed 430,000 whereas the HIV prevalence reached 37.2 percent, the second highest among PWIDs across the globe. This shows how fast Pakistan is becoming victim of HIV epidemic.

Dr. Abdul Baseer Khan Achakzai, Head of of National AIDS Control Programme, however contradict the projected total number of PLHIV and said he did not agree with the numbers presented by UNODC and Pakistan Bureau of Statistics as UNODC works on drug related issue and how their data could be authentic for AIDS.

It is difficult to measure whether there has been progress in controlling HIV or not as there has not been another round of surveillance since 2011. Out of total 32 indicators under the 11 targets to eradicate HIV, Pakistan is reporting on 19 indicators only that reflect key features of the HIV epidemic which shows non-seriousness of the government in controlling the deadly disease.

Ironically there is no record available for reporting the remaining 13 indicators which means there are no exact figures and data available about how many people are living with HIV in the country.

The data analysis shows Pakistan has more than 3,00,000 people living with HIV but the numbers reported in the annual report are  far less than that. With the reported numbers of HIV positive people, Pakistan is on number 42 on the list of countries having HIV patients. However, the analysis suggests that Pakistan must be placed among top 20 countries having PLHIVs as during this period almost every country progressed to reduce the number of PLHIVs whereas in Pakistan it is quite opposite.

Provincial AIDS Strategies recognize acute need to bridge the gap between estimated and actually registered numbers of PLHIV as 5.7 percent out of 13,6000 Female Sex Workers (FSW) received HIV test, 13.9 percent out of 43,000 Transgender/Hijra Sex Workers  (HSW) and only 4.8 percent out 63,000 Male Sex Worker (MSW) received HIV test and remaining are unaware of their HIV status. The country has no data of HIV positive pregnant women as it faced obstacles in collecting the data meaning by that no data of HIV positive pregnant women is available in the country.

As per target, 48,775 PLHIV were to be registered for the treatment of HIV but only 7,568 PLHIV which is 15.52 percent of the total target were registered with 18 centers established for the treatment. The latest data of PLHIV registered with the treatment centers of July 2014 shows that 8,613 PLHIV have been registered.

The report further reflects the grim picture as by the end of 2013 none of the provincial governments except Punjab had prepared any project to fight this epidemic. Except Punjab, no province approved PC-1 for the AIDS control whereas the country is spending around $8 on HIV activities in per capita terms annually. A country which is fast growing in HIV epidemic, the legislative environment remains mostly unsupportive of the needs of those vulnerable and at risk and those already living with HIV. An HIV Policy and an HIV Act were developed in 2007 but have not yet been approved by Parliament.

As per annual report of Pakistan’s National AIDS control programeme, 83,468 people are living with HIV by the end of 2013 and 7,568 PLHIV are registered in 18 HIV centers across the country. Out of these, 3,211 adult PLHIV and 70 children were on ART. According to this data, the key population estimates in Pakistan in 2009 was, 91,000 People Who Inject Drugs (PWIDs), 42,877 Transgender/Hijra Sex workers (HSW), 62,636 Male Sex Workers (MSW) and 136,300 Female Sex Workers (FSW).

The data in the report claims that after the PWIDs, the HIV prevalence in Hijra Sex Workers is second highest with 5.2 percent in 2011 whereas 1.6 percent among MSW and 0.97 percent in FSW. When we compare it to the HIV prevalence recorded in 2008 it has raised significantly in each category as HIV prevalence in PWID was 20.8 percent, in FSW it was 0.2 percent and in MSW the HIV prevalence was 0.9 percent which suggests that there has been a clear rise in prevalence in the next three years.

However, according to a survey conducted by Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC), the number of People Who Inject Drugs (PWID) is estimated to be 430,000 nationwide, or 0.4 percent of the total population. Among PWID, 73 percent reported sharing syringes. From a health perspective, injecting drug use is considered to be the most problematic route of drug owing to the high risk of acquiring and spreading HIV and other blood-borne infections.

courtesy: nation.com.pk
courtesy: nation.com.pk

If we further analyse the data by calculating the existing PWIDs and the HIV prevalence ratio, it shows that by the end of 2013 as per PBS and UNODC data out of 430,000 almost 159,100 PWIDs have HIV prevalence as the ratio of prevalence among PWID was recorded by 37.2 percent. However the official data shows that there are 83,468 people living with HIV in the country which is almost half of only one high risk factor i.e. PWID.

Approximately 30 percent of people that inject drugs i.e. 130,000 out of 430,000 PWID are married. This means 130,000 PWIDs who are the potential HIV careers are risking their families by sexually transmitting the HIV to their spouses and even their kids are hidden pockets of HIV.

When this correspondent further analysed the data, according to which 73 percent out of total, 430,000 drug users share their syringes with two to three PWIDs which means 313,000 are vulnerable to the spread of HIV or other blood-borne diseases i.e. hepatitis. As per data only 9.1 percent of those who received HIV test know about their results whereas 90.9 percent PWID i.e. 3, 87,000 do not even know about their status of HIV posing high risk of HIV transmission to other injectors and partners. If we further analyse the data of those PWID who have not received their HIV test then as per HIV prevalence ratio of 37.2 percent, 1,43,996 more PWID are potential HIV positive. The data calculation suggests that 303,096 PWID are potential HIV positive which is even more than two times higher than the actual numbers.

As per report 42,877 Transgender/Hijra Sex Workers are working in the country and they have the second highest HIV prevalence ratio i.e. 5.2 percent. However only 10 percent i.e. 4, 288 of the total HSW have tested for HIV and the remaining 90 percent i.e. 38,589 HSWs are unaware of their HIV status. Similarly the data shows that more than half (55.1 percent) HSW reported using alcohol and/drugs during sexual intercourse in the past six months. Overall, 10.1 percent of HSW reported to have had sex with PWID in the past six months, whereas 3.4 percent HSW reported that they had been injecting drugs in the same time period. As per existing prevalence ratio almost 2229 HSW are HIV positive.

The estimated total number of MSW in 2009 was almost 63,000 with the majority also found in larger cities. As per calculations only 22 percent of MSW interviewed had ever been tested for HIV and the remaining 78 percent are unaware of their HIV status. The ratio of HIV prevalence among MSW is the third largest in the country.

With an estimated population of over 136,000 in 2009, 64.3 percent of FSW reported being married. The ratio of safe sex with their clients is only 33.2 percent which means the remaining 66.8 percent of the total 136,000 are vulnerable to HIV. The data analysis further suggests that 39 percent of the total sex workers reported using alcohol or drug while performing sex with their clients whereas 15.8 percent had sex with PWIDs and 7.5 percent also inject drugs. The data also present very alarming situation particularly when only 15.7 percent female sex workers had HIV test whereas the remaining 84.3 percent are unaware of their HIV status.

With such a high HIV prevalence ratio in the country the national as well provincial governments were required to take emergency steps and allocate more funds to control this epidemic. However neither the national nor the provincial governments have actively participated in the programme. As per report Pakistan received $28 million grant from Global Fund and an additional $19 million was requested for the continuation. However none of the province except for Punjab approved the PC-1 which shows lack of seriousness by the provinces.

Similarly there was a need of legislative support to the people living with HIV so that the other people who are vulnerable to HIV should be encouraged to go for HV test. But the HIV Bill which was developed in 2007 is still waiting to be passed by the parliament. Hence the discrimination and stigma factor became a major hurdle in motivating the people to go for HIV test. According to the report Pakistan is not even on track to reach this target and only 15 percent men and 17 percent women expressed accepting attitude towards people with HIV.

According to the experts, the procedure of budget allocation and expenditure in the country is haphazard as the main focus is being paid and major spending is being identified for the care and treatment purpose. There is a little share of expenditure for an enabled environment i.e. social protection and services, key for a successful HIV response in a concentrated epidemic.

As per report the country is spending around 8 US dollar on HIV activities in per capita terms annually. According to the budget estimates of 2013, Global Fund contributed 50 percent of the total expenditure on AIDS Control Programme. Similarly provincial government shared 37 percent, the United Nations (UN) 0 7 percent, other external donors 03 percent and national government 03 percent of the HIV response.

The data also shows that Pakistan has also failed to reach the target of eliminating mother to child transmission of HIV by 2015 and in its annual report it is mentioned that the country is not even on track to meet his target. The report says that Pakistan has faced obstacles in finding the most effective approach to reach HIV positive pregnant women; therefore the total number of registered mothers is low as compared to the national estimates.

The data analysis as well as the National AIDS Control Programme, UNODC and Pakistan Bureau of Statistics suggest that Pakistan’s epidemic is driven mainly by PWID. However, the data from all studies indicates a risk overlap of PWID with sex workers and other clients. As per target, it was the responsibility of the national as well as provincial AIDS strategies to making prevention of sexual transmission a priority intervention for 2012-16, with a target to reach 60 percent of MSW, FSW and HSW with HIV prevention services. However instead of this only 15 percent could be reached so far which is far below the target.

According to the report, Pakistan even has no data to know the percentage of young people aged 16-24 living with HIV whereas no population-based demographic or other national surveys include this question so far.

“The UNAIDS has not adopted the survey report of UNODC and he would be able to comment on the figures of UNODC if it is adopted and accepted by UNAIDS. The major concern for National AIDS Control Programme is gap between the PLHIV and number of HIV positive registered for the treatment as almost 12,000 people are registered for treatment and still a huge number is yet to be registered,” commented Dr Baseer.

courtesy: www.theguardian.com
courtesy: http://www.theguardian.com

When asked why the National AIDS Control Programme is focusing only on treatment and no attention is being paid on stigma removal, he said they already have given a project of HIV stigma removal and ending discrimination to Association of People Living with HIV (APLHIV) which is working on this issue. Similarly another NGO Nai Zindagi is working on PWIDs and major funding of Global Funds (GF) is going to this organisation. Only 30 percent of the GF is being given to National AIDS Control Programme and remaining 70 percent to Nai Zindagi, he said.

He, however, informed that the provincial governments have allocated Rs3.2 billion ($30.2 million) for this programme and except of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa each province has approved their PC-1.

When asked no survey on HIV conducted after 2011 then how this data is authentic, Dr Baseer said recently they have started survey and Punjab has already started working on it. So far Punjab government has conducted survey in 10 districts and the remaining would be done soon however there are a few restrictions because of social binding due to which each indicator could not be covered.

Road accidents deadlier than terrorism in Pakistan

Road accidents deadlier than terrorism in Pakistan

Fakhar Durrani

Islamabad —The last ten years data on traffic accidents indicates that road accidents proved deadlier than the incidents of terrorism in Pakistan, the number of people lost their lives in road accidents is much higher than victims of terrorism as average 15 people died everyday in accidents across the country in last decade, analysis of the official data suggests.

According to Pakistan Bureau of Statistics data on traffic accidents in Pakistan from 2004 to 2013 the ratio of killing in road accidents in Sindh was recorded the highest as the percentage of killing in road accident in Sindh was recorded up to up to 86 percent. The overall ratio of killing in road accidents across the country has been recorded up to 55 percent which according to the experts and former traffic police officials are highest.

According to the data, total 51,416 people have died in 97,739 road accidents across the country whereas almost 40,000 people lost their lives in terrorism related incidents. Even then the traffic accidents have always been an underreported issue in the country. Out of the total number of casualties, as much as 29,524 killed in 51,715 accidents in Punjab, 9,639 died in 13,965 accidents in Sindh, 9494 people killed in 27939 accidents in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and 2250 people died in Balochistan in 4085 accidents. Out of the total number of accidents, 43,582 accidents were recorded as fatal which is 47.3 percent of the total accident.

While analyzing the data further in order to know the ratio of people killed per accidents across the country, it is found that the ratio of killing per accident is 55 percent in last ten years across the country. Similarly the ratio of injured people per accident is much higher than the number of people killed is as much as 125 percent per accident.

This correspondent has further analyzed the data on provincial level according to which Punjab province is on top in terms of number of accidents, casualties and people injured in the traffic accidents. As per data the number of accidents in Punjab is 52 percent of the total. The data further shows that the average number of people died per accident in percentage in Punjab is up to 60 percent which is the second highest in the country. Similarly the number of injured people per accident is recorded up to 129 per cent.

Although the number of accidents in Sindh are recorded very low during last ten years but the number of casualties is higher than any province in the country. As per data total 13,965 accidents were recorded from 2004-2013 and total 9639 people died. The data analysis further shows that the average killing per accident in percentage is highest from all other provinces and the death ratio per accident has been recorded up to 86 per cent whereas the ratio of injured people is lowest among the provinces as well which is 86 percent per accident.

The number of accidents although are high in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa however the number of casualties are lowest in terms of percentage per accident. As per data total 27939 accidents were recorded and 9494 people died in these accidents whereas 39799 were injured.  The analysis of the data shows that the ratio of deaths per accident in the province is lowest which is up to 36 per cent of the total accidents. However the ratio of injured persons per accident is recorded up to 127 percent per accident.

The data further shows that number of accidents in Balochistan are lowest among other provinces as only 4,085 accidents have been reported in the province from 2004-13. The number of casualties in these provinces as per record is 2250 and 5847 people injured. The ratio of killing per accident is the second highest after Sindh as up to 65 percent per accident whereas the ratio of injuries per accident is up to 130 per cent.

Mr. Muhammad Shahid a road safety expert says the road accidents could cause long-term stress, leading to depression, anxiety and sleep problems. He said the government should take steps for creating awareness among road users particularly among motorcyclists as almost 20,000 people are being killed every year in road accident.

Accident 1

“The number of road accidents occurring in Pakistan is much higher than the existing data as majority of the road accident cases are not registered in the police station. Mostly children, pedestrians, cyclists and aged people face traffic accidents,” commented Mr. Shahid.

It is important to mention here that according to the World Health Organization report (published in 2013) road accidents will become the fifth major cause of deaths by 2030.

The main reasons for road accidents include poor vehicle condition, ignoring traffic rules and instruction marks on roads, signal breaking as well as over speeding, wheelie, use of mobile while driving, wrong overtaking, use of drug, wrong parking, overloading and bad road condition, he added.

He believes that the traffic accidents could be controlled in the long run if the government includes the traffic safety rules in curriculum.

Pakistan needs centuries to meet MDGs targets on primary education

Pakistan needs centuries to meet MDGs targets on primary education

Fakhar Durrani

Islamabad —The total education budget, actual spending, current infrastructure, available services and current ratio of budget allocations for the primary education in the country reflect that Pakistan would be unable to achieve Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of 100pc primary enrollment by the next many centuries, analysis of official data suggests.

The official statistics on primary education reflects that the public sector primary education is facing extreme neglect at the hands of federal and provincial governments resulting in poor literacy rate and taking Pakistan away from achieving its MDGs goal for primary education.

In order to analyse whether the government is capable of achieving its MDGs target on education in near future keeping in mind the current educational infrastructure and its budget spending on the education sector particularly on the primary education, this correspondent has divided the data into three different parts i.e. budget spending by the federal and provincial governments on education particularly on primary education, secondly, ratio of budget spending on developmental and non-developmental expenditure and thirdly analysis of the existing primary education infrastructure.

The data analysis of primary education by The News depicts a grim picture of education system. In different provinces and territories, there is just one teacher for more than 100 students. The data further shows that even up to 70 pc schools of some provinces and areas have no electricity. Almost 15 to 19 percent schools are being run even without any building. Similarly 42,487 out of 145,491 primary schools – almost 35 percent of the total number – have no toilets. Also, 50 to 60 percent schools in rural areas of various provinces have not even boundary walls.

On budget spending on education, the data suggests that after the 18th Constitutional Amendment, education is now a provincial subject and federal government has a very small contribution in this regard. The federal government has allocated 2 pc of the total budget for education. Out of this 2pc of the federal budget, only 7.5 pc is to be spent on primary education. It is interesting to note here that the federal government has allocated 92.5 pc of total education budget for the 60 pc secondary and higher secondary institutions located in ICT and Fata and just 7.5 pc for the remaining 40 pc primary institutions.

Punjab’s education budget

The official data of Punjab Finance Department shows that it has allocated 45 pc of its total Rs290 billion education budget for developmental expenditure. However, the primary education has always been neglected by the provincial government as only 4 pc of the total education budget is being spent on primary education and the remaining 96 percent on secondary and higher secondary. Similarly, Punjab government is spending only Rs107 per pupil on primary education and Rs7253 per pupil on secondary and higher secondary education.

Education budget of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province allocated 25 percent of its total Rs111 billion education budget for fiscal year 2014-15 for developmental projects. The province has spent 31 pc of the total education budget on primary education whereas the ratio of developmental and non-developmental budget is like the other provinces. KP is spending 75 pc of the total budget on non-de4velopmental expenditures and only 25 pc on developmental expenditure. It has spent Rs2978 per pupil on secondary education from its developmental expenditure and half of it on the primary education.

Sindh’s education budget

Sindh spent 39 pc of its total education budget on primary education and is spending 93 pc of education budget on non-developmental expenditures. The province is spending only Rs222 per pupil on primary education from its developmental budget whereas Rs1857 per pupil on secondary education.

Education budget of Balochistan

Baluchistan is spending 24 pc of its total education budget on primary education in fiscal year 2014-15 however like other provinces most of its budget is also spent on non-developmental budget which is 71 percent. The province is spending Rs425 per pupil on primary education and Rs17056 on secondary and higher secondary education from its developmental expenditures.

As per the facts revealed in Economic Survey of Pakistan 2014-15, revenue as percentage
of GDP was 14.5 pc (including taxes and transfers), 7.1 pc is going to the defense and interest payments (2.5pc & 4.6pc respectively), remaining 7.5 pc is for all the other heads of budget including education. The education gets 2 pc out of this 7.5 pc of GDP and raising the allocation to 4 pc with this revenue to GDP ratio (14.5pc) would be highly unlikely.

As for government claims of raising the allocation for education from 2 pc to 4 pc of GDP by 2018 under the targets recommended by Unesco, it seems to be a hard task. Moving from the present allocation of 2 pc of GDP to 4 pc will require efforts from both the federal and provincial governments. The federal government will need to increase its spending from 0.34 of GDP to 0.80 pc and the provinces from 1.33 pc of GDP to 3.20 pc.
Analysing the annually published yearbook of education statistics by the Academy for Education Planning and Management, Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training, it is learnt that the primary education system in Pakistan is very weak and lacks even basic facilities for the students. The student teacher ratio is at all-time high as in some provinces, particularly in KP, one teacher is for over 180 students per class.

Total primary enrollment and out of school kids

In order to understand the overall picture of dismal condition of primary education infrastructure in the country, this correspondent has divided the data into five different categories which include the student-teachers ratio, how many schools are operating without buildings, how many schools are deprived of electricity, the total percentage of schools without latrines and how many schools are in the country which have not even boundary wall.

The data shows that total 17.869 million children are enrolled in primary schools across the country. Out of the total, 9.37 million children are enrolled in Punjab, 3.37 million in Sindh, 3.03 million in KP, 684402 in Baluchistan, 379937 in Fata, 111528 in GB, 123802 in Islamabad Capital Territory and 381950 in AJK.

According to Pakistan Education Statistics Report 2013-14, 6.2 million children are still out of schools across the country. As per report out of these 6.2 million kids the total number of out-of-school children is 2.9 million in Punjab, 0.4 million in KP; 1.8 million in Sindh and 0.54 million in Baluchistan.

How many new teachers and schools needed?

If we further analyse the data, Punjab has total 51,909 schools for 9.37 million students which mean each school has average 180 students. For 2.9 million more students, at least 16111 more schools are required. Similarly, Sindh has total 46335 schools for its 2.77 million students which mean each school has on average 81 students. For its 1.8 million new students, it requires 22222 new schools. KP has 25272 schools for its 3.037 million students which mean each school has average 120 students and for its 0.4 million new student it require 3333 more new schools.

Balochistan has 11209 schools for 684402 students which mean each school has average 61 students. Hence for 0.54 million new students, it requires another 8852 new schools. There are total 282581 primary teachers across the country for 145491 schools which means each school has average 1.94 teachers. In order to achieve the target of MDG 2, there is need of 98004 new primary teachers for 50518 new schools.

Student Teacher Ratio

Majority of the education experts are unanimous that the smaller classes have always proved valuable. However, the data on Pakistan’s primary education system shows that the smaller class’s formula is not applicable here as the student-teacher ratio is very high. The student-teacher ratio shows that one male teacher is for 81 students across the country in rural areas. When the data is further expanded to provinces level it is found that Azad Jammu and Kashmir schools student teacher ratio is 34:95, Balochistan has one teacher for 53:48 students, Gilgit Baltistan’s student teacher ratio is 115:60, Islamabad Capital Territory has 52:78, KP has one teacher for 184 students, Punjab has 76:15 and Sindh’s student-teacher ratio is 53:58 for its rural male primary schools.
The student-teacher ratio for the female primary schools however is slightly better than male as AJK’s student teacher ratio for female is 20:52; Balochistan has 36:46 students teacher ratio. Similarly Gilgit Baltistan’s student teacher ratio is 69:29, ICT’s ratio is 29:52. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has topped the list both in male and female category as the student teacher ratio for girls primary schools is 104:36 whereas Punjab’s student teacher ratio is 25:56 and Sindh has 12:16.

Schools without buildings

The data further shows that 10597 which is over 7 percent of the total schools across the country are being run without even buildings. Majority of these schools, according to the data analysis are located in Baluchistan, Sindh and FATA. As per data, 17:60 per cent schools in AJK of both rural and urban areas schools are being run without building. Sindh which is the second largest populated province has 15.61 per cent schools which are being run without even buildings. Similarly, 9.29 per cent rural and urban schools of Balochistan are running without even having buildings. Punjab has 0.5 percent whereas Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has 1.42 percent schools which have no buildings.

Total schools without electricity

The data analysis of the schools shows that almost 35 percent of total schools of the country have not even electricity and majority of these schools are located in AJK, Gilgit Baltistan, Fata, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh. As per data, 34.80 per cent of total primary schools in Pakistan have no electricity. The data shows 73.33 per cent schools in AJK are deprived of this basic facility. Balochistan has 13.89 percent schools which have no electricity whereas 55.56 per cent schools in FATA has no electricity. The data further shows that 44.67 per cent schools in Gilgit Baltistan has no electricity and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has 41.34 per cent schools without electricity. Sindh has 47.87 per cent such schools which has no electricity whereas 19.05 per cent schools in Punjab have no electricity. The data shows that majority of such schools which have no electricity are located in rural areas of the respective provinces which include both male and female schools.

Schools without toilets

The data analysis of the annual schools census shows that almost 30 percent of the total schools across the country including urban and rural areas have no toilet facility. The data shows that 60 per cent schools in AJK have no toilet facility. Similarly 80 percent primary schools in Balochistan are deprived of such basic facility and have no toilets. Majority of the schools in Fata have not reported about the unavailability of toilets however only male and female schools in rural areas have reported about this question. As per the available record 13.27 percent rural areas schools of Fata have no toilet facility. Sindh has 42 per cent schools which have no toilet facility whereas 6 per cent schools in Punjab are without toilet. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as per data has 21 per cent of its total schools without toilets.

Schools without boundary walls

The data further shows that 41 percent of the total primary schools in Pakistan have not even boundary walls. Azad Jammu and Kashmir is on top of the list with 78.57 per cent schools having no boundary wall. Similarly 60 percent schools in Balochistan have no boundary walls. The data further shows that 47 percent schools of Fata are without boundary walls whereas 50.58 per cent schools in Gilgit Baltistan have no boundary walls. According to this data Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has 36.43 percent of its total schools without boundary wall. Sindh the second largest populated province has 47.38 percent of its total schools which have no boundary walls and 21.52 percent schools in Punjab have no boundary walls as well.

Courtesy: www.theremarks.com
Courtesy: http://www.theremarks.com

In order to meet the MDGs goal the provincial governments need to complete the already existing primary education infrastructure and also build almost 50000 or more new schools and 1,00,000 primary teachers. However, with this ratio of budget allocation for primary education and developmental allocations it is highly unlikely to achieve this goal in the next many centuries.