More parents are opting for their students to go to private schools rather than public ones, revealed the latest edition of the Annual Status of Education Report (Aser) 2014.
The report, formally launched at Arena on Wednesday, records a surprising 7% increase in the share of non-state education providers in Sindh within a year.
The private schools in rural Sindh now share a burden of 17% of total student enrolment, which was recorded at 10% in Aser 2013 report, revealing that the demand and supply for alternatives is increasing in Sindh. It remains to be seen, however, if these alternatives are accessible to all.
Baela Raza Jamil, director programmes at the Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi and one of the brains behind Aser Pakistan initiative, argues that the shift raises concerns about increasing inequality by excluding those groups who cannot afford even low-cost private schooling.
“The utter abandonment of the public education system by successive provincial governments has started compelling households to leave government schools, sometimes at great costs,” said Jamil. “On the contrary, the government has to provide free and compulsory education to all children between the ages of five and 16, as per Article 25-A of the Constitution.”
Access to post-primary education
A growing concern among households is about where their children will go beyond primary level. For every 24 primary schools in Sindh, there is only one secondary school. Of all public schools in Sindh, 91% cater to primary education while only 9% offer post-primary education.