Needs To Prioritize High Quality Education In South Punjab

Pakistan has one of the highest percentages of children worldwide who are not in school, with an estimated 20.3 million children (ages 5 to 16) not attending.

Needs To Prioritize High Quality Education In South Punjab

Eight out of ten children in Pakistan are unable to understand a simple text, according to the Human Capital Review (HCR) conducted by the World Bank, which has recommended the declaration of a health and education emergency.

The Pakistan Human Capital Review report, which was released on Tuesday, advises Pakistan to increase its investment in health and education by mobilising domestic resources, diverting funds away from expensive energy subsidies, and increasing the effectiveness of the current allocations to human development sectors. According to the report, an estimated 20.3 million of Pakistan’s school-age children are out of school.

In addition, after the COVID-19 pandemic and the 2022 floods, Pakistan’s learning poverty rate—the proportion of kids who can’t read and comprehend a brief, age-appropriate text by the time they’re 10—was 79%. This alarming ratio is 19 percentage points higher than the global average for countries with lower middle-income levels.

According to the World Bank, it would cost roughly 4.8% of Pakistan’s GDP, or Rs4 trillion, to educate every child in the country today. This is based on the assumption that all kids can attend public or low-cost private schools for an average annual cost of $240 per kid.

Pakistan has one of the highest percentages of children worldwide who are not in school, with an estimated 20.3 million children (ages 5 to 16) not attending. Nearly a third of Pakistan’s children, ages 5 to 16, who make up the 20.3 million figure, have never attended school.

Even though the percentage of children who are not in school has decreased over the past few decades, this absolute number is still high due to population growth, it continued. According to the report, the COVID-19 pandemic has probably reversed nearly a decade of advancements in both boys’ and girls’ human capital.

The devastating floods and the COVID-19 pandemic’s combined effects, which the bank referred to as “two shocks,” are likely to have made Pakistan’s high levels of learning poverty and malnutrition worse and constrained the next generation’s ability to grow cognitively, emotionally, and physically.

They suggested “declaring emergencies over [the country’s] health and education crises,” arguing that long-term planning is necessary regardless of the length of any given government or political cycle.

It also suggested giving family planning top priority in all programmes for human development. Pakistan should develop its labour market to accommodate the expanding youth population and integrate population planning into academic, religious, and national policies.

The World Bank stated that the country’s aspiration to become an upper middle-income country by 2047 may be constrained by the lack of human capital development. To guarantee rapid economic growth that is both sustainable and inclusive, Pakistan needs a population that is resilient, skilled, and in good health.

The Human Capital Review has evaluated the difficulties and possibilities for enhancing Pakistan’s human capital results.

Pakistan’s wealth is made up 61% of human capital, despite having some of the lowest levels of human capital in the world. In Pakistan, only 7% of newborns make it to their fifth birthday. A lifetime of physical and cognitive deficits awaits the 40% of young children who are stunted.

According to the report, Pakistan performs worse than both the average for Sub-Saharan Africa and the South Asia region as a whole. It performs below average for Sub-Saharan Africa in terms of stunting and educational quality.

The regional average for South Asia is significantly lower than the child survival rates up to age five, which are also lower than the average for Sub-Saharan Africa.

Although Pakistani students attend school a little bit longer than their counterparts in Sub-Saharan Africa, according to a 2019 regional assessment, Pakistan was ranked second to last globally in terms of the performance of its 4th graders in science and mathematics. The only metric by which Pakistan performs better than peers and regional peers is the adult survival rate.

Over the past 20 years, Pakistan has significantly reduced poverty and attained middle-income status; however, the country’s future growth and development prospects are constrained by Pakistan’s low human capital outcomes.

Mamta Murthi, World Bank’s Vice President for Human Development, believes that investing in human capital is essential for sustainable economic growth, to prepare the workforce for the more highly skilled jobs of the future, and to compete effectively in the global economy.

Investing in human capital can also build resilience and adaptive capacity to withstand the effects of climate change, while developing the skills and ingenuity needed for a green and inclusive economy.

Pakistan’s Human Capital Index (HCI) of 0.41 means that a baby born in Pakistan today will only be 41% as productive as they could be if they had complete education and full health. This is lower than the South Asian average of 0.48, Bangladesh’s 0.46 and Nepal’s 0.49.

The World Bank said that if Pakistan continues on its current trajectory in human capital development, its GDP per capita would grow overall by a mere 18% through 2047. However, if Pakistan can boost human capital investments and its HCI value to the level of its peers, per capita GDP could grow by 32%.