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World’s highest rate of out-of-school children in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: According to Rana Tanveer Hussain, Minister of Federal Education and Professional Training, Pakistan has the “most out-of-school children (OOSC)” in the world.

In response to a query in the National Assembly regarding children not attending school in Pakistan, the education minister stated that 23 million children are educated in Pakistan.

The minister informed the parliament that the government has set an aggressive goal of reducing the number of out-of-school children in the Islamabad Capital Territory to zero by June 30.

According to the minister, approximately 70,000 children are currently not enrolled in school in Islamabad, and all attempts are being made to enrol them by June 30.

Tanveer added that the government has also launched the Schools on Wheels initiative in Islamabad to educate youngsters from rural areas. Buses were turned into mobile schools with cutting-edge equipment, including bathrooms, for this purpose.

According to him, the ministry was preparing to offer such mobile buses to children in flood-affected districts of Balochistan and Sindh on the orders of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.

He noted that the World Bank (WB) had also praised the government’s initiative, in addition to ensuring the availability of 30 buses for the noble cause.

He stated that the World Bank aimed to implement a similar scheme throughout Africa. He stated that the ministry was willing to assist additional provinces if the provincial governments provided transportation.

He stated that, in addition to focusing on remote learning, the government has established a tele school system. It had also started an accelerated learning plan with the help of the United Kingdom to improve the country’s literacy rate, he noted.

In response to another query, he stated that the literacy rate had increased by 0.8% in the previous nine months.

According to UNICEF data, an estimated 22.8 million children aged 5-16 do not attend school, accounting for 44% of the entire population in this age range.

Five million children aged 5 to 9 are not enrolled in school, and the number of OOSC more than doubles after primary school, with 11.4 million teenagers aged 10 to 14 without receiving formal education.

Nearly 10.7 million boys and 8.6 million girls are enrolled in primary school, with 3.6 million boys and 2.8 million girls enrolled in lower secondary school.

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