Status of Primary Education in Sindh

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Ali Gul Leghari-Johi
Sindh is Pakistan’s most urbanized province. According to UNDP, Human Development Index Report 2020, literacy rate of Sindh is 58% ranking as 2nd number followed by Punjab which tops at 64%. As compared to urban area of Sindh, the rural area still lacks quality education, including basic facilities, physical infrastructure of schools, lack of qualified teaching staff, drop out ratio and barriers for girls educations. It is still far away to achieve the SDGs set by United Nations in 2015. Based on different research surveys conducted by different organizations in 2020 and 2021, the current scenario of primary education of Sindh province is summerized as below. Enrollment in Primary Education of Sindh: According to statistics of 2020 shared by Sindh Government, total enrollment of primary schools in Sindh is about 2.9 million whereas 44% children are out of school. Almost half of the children are deprived of primary education in Sindh. Sindh ranks at 2nd number in out of school children followed by Balouchistan province. Student Teachers Ratio (STR): As per statistics in PGS 2020, there are nearly 78 thousand teachers over 2.9 million students in primary education of Sindh and almost 47% of total primary schools have only single teacher. Student Classroom Ratio (SCR): As per SELD statistics of 2020, for 2.9 million students, there are nearly 76 thousand functional classrooms which makes 41 students per classroom. Budget/ Expenditure on Primary Schools: According to statistics shared by Government of Sindh, the province has increased budget of of Education from 244 Billions to 262 billions as compared to previous year 2020 out of which 14 billions have been allocated for the development in Education and Literacy Department including primary section. Viable and non-viable Primary schools: As per facts and figures share by Sindh Education and Literacy Department 2020, there are more about 44300 primary schools across the province, out of them more than 3000 primary schools are non- viable and Government intends to close these schools in near future. Challenges: There are many factors involved as barriers for the quality Education in Sindh especially in Primary education. Some of these are mentioned as below. 1. Lack of basic facilities: As per local survey of 2021, nearly 80% of schools in Sindh lack basic facilities. Many students do not take interest in schooling due to lack of basic facilities including unavailability of drinking and washing water, electricity, washrooms, insufficient furniture for students and low attention of teachers towards students’ studies. 2. Poverty: Poverty has become a global issue and is badly affecting the economic system of many developing countries. According to recent reports shared by Global Hunger Index 2021, Pakistan ranks 92nd out of 116 countries. In Sindh, due to high inflation most of the parents prefer their children in engaging in some sort of work as a support for income rather than sending them to schools which lack even basic facilities. 3. Lack of qualified Teaching Staff: In primary education, since decades, old and rotten teaching mechanism is still being adopted. According to a local survey of 2021, 90% of schools don’t have a science teacher. Most of the teachers are not well trained. Syllabus or some of its sections have been changed several times, but teachers have never been given any training on how to teach the syllabus. In current syllabus, particularly in English subject, instructions for teachers are given at every page of lesson but for most of the teachers, these instructions are beyond their understanding level. There are many other factors like contradictory educational policies, unproductive experiments on education communication gap between educational authorities and community, copy culture, lack of ownership, political influence what have created hindrance in provision of quality education from time to time till day. Conclusion: There is urgent of taking some serious steps for the base of education. Primary is the initial stage of formal education for students. Modern teaching methods, provision of basic facilities to students as well as teachers, well qualified and well trained teachers, proper monitoring mechanism and follow up in true sense, necessary steps in rooting out copy culture system, making the institutions free from political involvements is the need of the day. ——————————————————————————————————————