In Pakistan, nearly 22.5 million children are out of school, the majority of them girls, according to a report by an international rights group. The report titled - 'Shall I feed my daughter or educate her: Barriers to girls’ education in Pakistan' - by Human Rights Watch (HRW) was issued this week and is available on the website of the group.
“The new government, elected in July 2018, stated in their manifesto that nearly 22.5 million children are out of school. Girls are particularly affected. Thirty-two per cent of primary school-age girls are out of school in Pakistan, compared to 21 per cent of boys. By grade six, 59 per cent of girls are out of school, versus 49 per cent of boys. Only 13 per cent of girls are still in school by ninth grade. Both boys and girls are missing out on education in unacceptable numbers, but girls are worst affected,” it said as quoted by news agency PTI.
HRW interviewed 209 people for the report in all four provinces, most of them girls who have never attended school or were unable to complete their education. It said there were several barriers inside the schools and outside which the girls have to face in order to get an education.
As of 2017, Pakistan was spending less than 2.8 per cent of its gross domestic product on education which is below the recommended four to six per cent.
“Political instability, disproportionate influence on governance by security forces, repression of civil society and the media, violent insurgency, and escalating ethnic and religious tensions all poison Pakistan’s current social landscape. These forces distract from the government’s obligation to deliver essential services like education - and girls lose out the most,” said the report.
“The Pakistan government’s failure to educate children is having a devastating impact on millions of girls,” said HRW women’s rights director, Liesl Gerntholtz, in a press release.
“Many of the girls we interviewed are desperate to study, but instead are growing up without the education that would help them have options for their future,” she said.