Since its creation in the 70s, the Pakistan People’s Party has claimed being a liberal political force in the country. It hates the Taliban because they bomb schools and oppose critical thinking, and education, they claim, is the only road to development.
In their election manifesto for this term, the PPP promises to achieve universal primary education. For a party which has been in power for decades, educating its largely rural vote bank should have been a priority.
But a recent report on the state of education of the country reveals that Sindh lags far behind other provinces. Even the terrorism-hit Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is doing better.
The News quotes data from the Annual State of Education Report to present to its readers the abysmal learning levels of districts from which prominent leaders of the party hail from.
This is the land of the great Bhuttos. Here, inside a white-domed mausoleum, lie the PPP martyrs, the Oxford-educated Benazir Bhutto and her charming father Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. The district also happens to be the hometown of Senior Education & Literacy Minister Nisar Khuhro.
Here 15.8 percent children remain out of school. Among the children who do attend school, girls continue to lag behind.
Of the total students at government schools, only 31 percent are girls. In the private sector, representation of girl students is a mere 29 percent.
Learning levels in Urdu and Sindhi are such that 20 percent children in grade-five cannot read a single word in their mother tongue.
When it comes to English language skills, only 20 percent children in grade-five can read a sentence. Arithmetic skills are such that 44.5 percent children in grade-five cannot solve a two-digit subtraction sum.
This state of illiteracy is not just prevalent in the present generation. The past generation was affected by it as well: only 21 percent mothers and 48 percent fathers have completed their primary education.
This is the land of the great Bhuttos. Here, inside a The three-time Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah still has his ancestral house here. In Khairpur 21.1 percent children are out of school.
Among the children who attend school, girls continue to lag behind. At government schools their representation is only 35 percent and at private schools the number is even lower at 27 percent.
Learning levels in Urdu and Sindhi are such that 37 percent cannot read a sentence in their mother tongue.
When it comes to reading a sentence in English, only 42.5 percent children in grade-five are able to do so.
Arithmetic skills are so weak that 41.4 percent students in grade-five cannot solve a two-digit subtraction sum.
Only 20 percent mothers and 45 percent fathers in the district have completed their primary school education.
This is the hometown of former education minister Pir Mazhar-ul-Haq. Here 31.3 percent children are out of school, most of them girls.
Among the children who are getting some sort of schooling there is again a wide gender disparity. Against every 13 boys at a government school, there are seven girls.
Learning levels of Urdu and Sindhi are so low that 19.3 percent children in grade-five cannot read anything in their mother tongue.
English language skills are also poor: only 27 percent children in grade-five can read a sentence. When it comes to arithmetic skills, 40 percent students in grade-five cannot solve a two-digit subtraction sum.
Only 22 percent mothers and 59 percent fathers have completed their primary education.
Through the efforts of the PPP, last year Sindh became the first province to turn Article 25A into legislation. It declares that free and compulsory education for children aged five to 16 is a right everyone is born with. But for now, it will take more than a legislation to send the children of Sindh back to school.
originally published here
illustration courtesy Faraz Maqbool