International Day of the Girl Child: Obstacles galore continue to affect female education

International Day of the Girl Child: Obstacles galore continue to affect female education

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LAHORE: On the International Day of the Girl Child, adolescent females continued to face a plethora of problems when it comes to access to education as schools in Punjab were far away from their homes.

The problem is exacerbated by inadequate transport facilities, while economic conditions force families not to send their children, especially girls, to schools.

According to Punjab Gender Parity Report 2017 by the Punjab Commission on the Status of Women (PCSW), the literacy rate for girls is 55%, lower that the average of the province at 63%. At the same time, it is estimated that 71% of males are literate.

The report found that although the literacy among women had risen from 48% to 55%, the net enrollment rate saw a decrease from 70% to 67% during the corresponding period. It also highlighted that the lowest parity in the number of schools, teachers and enrollment for females was found in districts from the Southern part of the province. The districts found to have the lowest gender parity were Dera Ghazi Khan, Muzaffargarh and Rajanpur.

Out of school, drop out and survival rates

According to the report, the districts from South Punjab again had the most out-of-school children, especially girls. The report showed that Rajanpur, Rahim Yar Khan, Bahawalpur, Multan and Muzaffargarh had the highest number of out-of-school children. According to the report, Rajanpur had the highest rate with 39% of children out of school and 22% of these were girls.

The dropout and survival rate of girls in formal education also showed similar patterns with districts of South Punjab showing a dismal situation. Rajanpur, Muzaffargarh and Dera Ghazi Khan had the highest dropout rates, with girls dropping out of school at a higher rate.

The Punjab Gender Parity Report 2017 cites low per capita income of families, inadequate facilities in schools and low motivation levels of parents among other factors. Similarly, the survival rate of children, especially girls, showed similar trends in the province.

Non-functional schools

The report said that Punjab had less than 1% of non-functional schools; however 71% of those were for girls. “A number of formal schools established by the government are non-functional due to unavailability of staff, security issues for women teachers and girls, along with lack of transport facilities,” the report stated.

PCSW Chairperson Fauzia Viqar, in a statement, said, “Education is a fundamental right of girls and necessary for their mental growth as well as economic prosperity of the country. Giving girls an opportunity to complete secondary schooling will lead to an end of child marriages and reduce domestic violence.”

PCSW Gender Management Information System (GMIS) Project Manager Mehreen Siddiqi said that to improve girls’ access to education, the commission recommends providing better transportation facilities to girls, building new schools in areas where formal schools for girls don’t exist and provide more conditional cash transfers to encourage increased enrollment and survival.

Ensuring fundamental rights

Child Rights Movement and CAN Pakistan’s Coordinator Rashida Qureshi shared that adolescent girls have the right to a safe, educated, and healthy life, not only during critical formative years, but also as they mature into women. “If effective support is provided to them during adolescent years, girls have the potential to change the world – both as the empowered girls of today and as tomorrow’s workers, mothers, entrepreneurs, mentors, household heads, and political leaders,” she said.

The coordinator issued this statement during a celebration of International Day of the Girl Child under theme Girl’s Progress=Goal’s Progress”.

It was arranged by the Child Rights Movement, Punjab, Search For Justice and Pakistan Girl Guides Association. “An investment in realising the power of adolescent girls upholds their rights today and promises a more equitable and prosperous future, one in which half of humanity is an equal partner in solving the problems of climate change, political conflict, economic growth, disease prevention, and global sustainability,” she said.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 12th, 2017.

The post International Day of the Girl Child: Obstacles galore continue to affect female education appeared first on The Express Tribune.

Source: Tribune News | International Day of the Girl Child: Obstacles galore continue to affect female education

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