Educational Performance of Teenagers in Pakistan: An Analysis and Policy Recommendations

As a semester project, I had carried out a research paper on Educational Performance of Teenagers in Pakistan.The results obtained were important and vital from the policy perspectives; therefore, I consider it as a fruitful option to share the findings of the paper so that readers could gain benefit and insight regarding the critical area of ‘education’.

Introduction:

The paper attempted to empirically examine the household, demographic and socio-economic determinants of school attendance, attainment of teenagers, age ranging from 13 to 19 years. The paper was based on the Pakistan Social and Living Standards Measurement Survey (PSLM, a national level survey conducted by the Federal Bureau of Statistics) 2005-06.This age represents an important transitional phase in the life cycle, during which an adolescent develops into an adult. It is also the period when a majority of individuals complete their education and enter the labour market.

As factors like school attendance, performance and attainment of individuals in this age group has an important bearing on their future socio-economic welfare, therefore, an analysis of their determinants will provide the policy makers with useful insights into the issues, so the appropriate and right policies and programs can be designed for increasing school enrolment and completion rates. As such initiatives can give higher returns at both individual and social level in the long run.

Improving the educational attainment of teenagers and ultimately strengthening their human capital base is vital if Pakistan has to fully exploit the upcoming demographic dividend, when the share of working age population is expected to increases relative to that of the dependent population.

Findings:

The following results were obtained.

In case of region that includes urban and rural areas, the teenagers in rural areas were at a disadvantageous position as compared to the urban areas in school attainment level. There can be various reasons for this gap primarily poverty being the prime factor. In addition to it, this gape can exist owing to low level of attention of government towards rural areas, weak infrastructures, less number of government schools, less incentive for private sector to provide education, low quality education, less qualified teachers and low level of awareness regarding the returns of education.

For the variable of province, relative to Punjab, the teenagers in other provinces have lesser chances of getting higher level of class passed. We can see that in Punjab the educational system is very strong as compared to other provinces of Pakistan. Private sector is vibrant in Punjab. As compared to other provinces, the funding for educational department in Punjab is higher. Various policies in past and present at provincial level can play a role in increasing the enrollment and attainment levels, like Parha-Likha Punjab etc.

For gender variable, there is less probability of female teenagers to get highest class passed as compared to male teenagers. This is the reason that the female literacy rate is lower as compared to male adult literacy rate in Pakistan. There are many reasons which can contribute to this gape including low level of years of schooling attainment for girls in Pakistan. In Pakistan, generally female are not give importance because of societal factors. Early marriages, females educational returns are gain by her husbands and his family are few factors. Also in rural areas it is quite difficult for girls to go out and study. There are less numbers of schools in villages for girls. Less number of female teachers can be another reason for low attainment level.

Policy Recommendations:

The result shows a regional disparity between rural and urban areas. Therefore, the government should devise special programs that target the rural areas to bring it in par with the urban areas. Government can collaborate with private sectors and non-governmental organization to ensure the maximum enrollment of students in rural areas. This will allow the student to get highest possible educational level. The government needs to channel additional resources into the rural area in order to increase the availability of schools, teachers and necessary infrastructures. With the help of various organizations, those are working for the rights and welfare of women in Pakistan, the government can designs programs to enhance the enrolment and attainment level of girls. The provinces of Baluchistan, KPK and Sindh were at disadvantageous positions as compared to Punjab. The government can increase the funding to the respective provincial educational department to increase the overall enrolment and attainment level of education at provincial level.

As the results were obtained based on national survey, these findings can hold of the region of Gilgit-Baltistan too, which shows that similar interpretation can be carried out.

Badar Muneer Baigal
Member M&A Council
Orgainization For Educational Change(OEC)
Student NUST, Islamabad

Note: It is not official opinion of writer or organization, we appreciate diverse opinions for public discussion and debate.

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