The latest Pakistan Education Statistics 2016-17 reveals that the country has a staggering 44 percent of out of school children (OOSC).
Out of over 51 million children between the ages of 5 and 16 years, 56% children are attending schools from pre‐primary upto higher secondary in both public and private sectors across Pakistan while the remaining 44% children are out of schools.
This is at a time when the Right to Education (RTE) laws in place in the country. Under the RTE laws the federal and provincial governments are legally obligated to provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age from 5 to 16. However, at most places these laws are toothless as no subordinate legislation i.e., formulation of the rules of business has been done.
The report released by the Federal government’s Academy of Educational Planning and Management (AEPAM) since age‐wise population figures of the 2017 Population Census were not published yet, the report used population projections based on the 1998 census.
The maximum number of out-of-school children, over 10 million, are in Punjab alone. However, there is need to look into these numbers keeping in view the overall population size of the children in each province and the federating unit in Pakistan.
The highest number, 28%, of the OOSC is from the category of higher secondary level which means some 6.29 million more students should have been in colleges or higher secondary schools which offer education till grade-12.
As per the official stats, the number of OOSC (girls) is higher at all levels including primary, middle, high and higher education than the boys.