Direct Link: http://www.weforum.org/pdf/gendergap/ggg07_pakistan.pdf


Educational Attainment  


Literacy Rate                                  Female 36%            Male 63%

Enrolment in Primary Education       Female 59%            Male 77%

Enrolment in Secondary Education   Female 18%            Male 24%

Enrolment in Tertiary Education        Female 4%              Male 5%          







For copies of the FULL DOCUMENT (92 pages)

please send request to WUNRN - mosie@infionline.net


Excerpts relating to Equity in Education and Gender and Education:










December 2006





This White Paper is intended to stimulate discussion of major policy issues concerning Education Sector in Pakistan. At this stage, it is not an official statement of Governmentís policy but a draft document.


7. Equity

7.1 Definition, Scope and Context

The concept of equity goes beyond equality of opportunity, where everyone is treated the same, to fostering a bias-free environment where individuals benefit equally. It recognizes that some people require additional and specialized support in order to achieve equal benefits. Equity in education, therefore, would take into consideration not only equal access to education of a particular standard, but the contents of curriculum, instructional and evaluation materials and practices, different ways of learning and views of knowledge, and everyone having the opportunity to achieve.


According to the Convention Against Discrimination in Education adapted by UNESCO in 1960, any distinction, exclusion, limitation or preference which, being based on race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, economic condition or birth, as the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing equality of treatment in education is tantamount to discrimination. This refers to all types and levels of education and includes access to education, the standard and quality of education, and the conditions under which it is given.


The Convention against Discrimination in Education has not been ratified by Pakistan. Although, constitutionally all citizens are equal before the law, in practice there is discrimination in various forms in the education system, mostly due to social customs and poor implementation of education programmes. Poor children, girl students, students from rural areas and students from minorities are particularly affected by inequalities and inequities in the education system.


We need to look at both equality and equity in public and private education, focusing on institutions and students. It is our purpose to address issues of gender, economic and geographic disparities, parallel systems of education and medium of instruction, especially teaching of the English language.


7.2 Gender and Education: The educational status of women in Pakistan is unacceptably low, in fact, amongst the lowest in the world. The problem emanates at the primary level, as low participation and high dropouts at that stage prevent females from reaching higher education and equitable opportunities for such furtherance do not become available to the female gender. According to the Ministry of Women Development, only 19% of females have attained education upto Matric, 8% upto Intermediate, 5% a

Bachelorís degree and 1.4% achieved a Masterís degree. 60% of the female adult population is illiterate. Of the 3.3 million out of school children, 2.503 million are girls. 73.6% of primary age girls attend school, compared with 92.1% of boys. Moreover, a sizeable majority of rural girls drop out of primary schools.


Women in Pakistan do not form a homogeneous entity; their opportunities vary greatly with the social system that they are part of. In rural areas, patriarchal structures often combined with poverty, limit opportunities to women, while women belonging to the upper and middle classes have increasingly greater access to education and employment opportunities and can assume greater control over their lives.


Although education has been seen to add value to a female worker, increase her productivity and make her less vulnerable to violence or harassment, it is often the economic productivity and security that are given as reasons that are used to hold girls back from schooling. Poor families allocate scarce resources to their sonsí education, expecting higher economic returns. Cultural limitations discourage parents from sending their daughters to mixed gender schools. However, the problem is not just of demand. There have been situations where girls are enrolled in boysí schools even upto matric level, indicating that supply of quality girls schooling is falling short. Similarly poor physical environment or lack of basic facilities in schools also discourages parents from sending their girls to schools. To remove these supply side blockages, unwavering support and coordination between all stakeholders (politicians, bureaucrats, government departments, planners, implementers and community organizations) is required. Right from 1947 till 1998 the emphasis on girls education finds due articulations in the policy documents but the physical targets were not matched with financial and social investment in the cause of female education and hence the appalling state in which the underprivileged women of Pakistan find themselves.


7.3 Policy Recommendations:

1. Compulsory and free primary education of girls by 2010; free secondary education with progressive targets setting by 2020.

2. Hiring of teachers and teachers training should be oriented towards reducing gender gaps.

3. Additional resources for provinces with wider gender gaps.

4. Continuous linkages between federal, provincial Education Departments and research organizations for gender disaggregated data and analysis so it can inform policy inputs.

5. Establish realistic and attainable specific goals.

6. Set up more powerful gender groups in the Ministry of Education.

7. Have committed fund allocations and human resources to implement and monitor progress towards goals and introduce a monitoring checklist. Greater emphasis should be placed on vocational training and technical education for women.




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