Thursday, July 14, 2005

Pakistan ranks at the bottom of the class

ISLAMABAD, 14 July (IRIN) - Pakistan ranks last out of 14 countries in the Asia-Pacific region in terms of education, according to a new regional report compiled by a network of development organisations working in the education sector.

The Asia Pacific Report Card on Education for All, entitled, 'Must Do better' has been published by the Asian South Pacific Bureau of Adult Education (ASPBAE), a network of 200 bodies involved in formal and non-formal adult education. It has been compiled jointly with the Global Campaign for Education, a coalition of developmental organisations in over 100 countries. The paper examines and analyses the commitment of government in developing countries with respect to various aspects of basic education.

"Bottom ranking paints a pessimistic picture but at the same time it shows where we are weak and need to put [in] effort. This report serves as a wake-up call for our leaders as well as citizens alike, to make education for all a reality," commented Tracey Wagner-Rizvi who works in the Pakistani capital, Islamabad with the country's leading child rights body, the Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (SPARC).

The countries of Asia-Pacific region have been graded and ranked to depict their commitment to basic education based on their performance in five main subjects: basic education, state action on free education, inputs and resources, gender equality and overall equity.

Pakistan's leader, President General Pervez Musharraf's performance has been summed up as 'Back to Basics'. Isalamabad has been criticised for spending the lion's share of its GDP on the military at the expense of the education and health systems.

"Pervez spends less per pupil than most of his South Asian neighbours and charges user fees in full. Such low spending delivers very poor results: two out of three Pakistani adults are illiterate, while four out of ten children are missing primary schools," the report states.

Thailand holds the top position in the region, with an 'A' grade, while Malaysia comes second with a similar grade. Sri Lanka is awarded a 'B' grade in third position. The Philippines and China both hold grade 'C' in fourth and fifth positions respectively.

Vietnam scores a 'D' grade in sixth position, while Bangladesh, Cambodia, India and Indonesia are all ranked at grade 'E.' Nepal, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and Pakistan occupy the bottom four positions with 'F' grade.

"At the moment, a lot of money is being put into the education sector through donors and local resources. There has to be a committed effort and also accountability, if we're to achieve the 'Education for All' targets of [Millennium Development Goals] MDGs," said Rizvi.


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9:55 AM  

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