Monday, June 8, 2015

Pakistani Democracy's Disappointing Report Card On Education

Data and graphs presented in Economic Survey of Pakistan 2014-15 show that the country has fallen considerably short of achieving UN Millennium Development Goals 2015 (MDG 2015), a set of goals agreed by UN member nations in the year 2000. Key MDG 2015 goals included: halving extreme poverty and hunger from 1990 levels, reducing by two-thirds the child-mortality rate and slashing maternal mortality by three-quarters and achieving universal primary education.

Economic Survey of Pakistan 2014-15 Education Report also shows that the country was poised to achieve MDG goals in years 2001-2008 during President Musharraf's rule. Then came "democracy" in 2008 and human development progress dramatically slowed down.

Primary Enrollment Source: Economic Survey of Pakistan

Youth Literacy Rate Source: Economic Survey of Pakistan

Human development index reports on Pakistan released by UNDP confirm the ESP 2015 human development trends.Pakistan’s HDI value for 2013 is 0.537— which is in the low human development category—positioning the country at 146 out of 187 countries and territories. Between 1980 and 2013, Pakistan’s HDI value increased from 0.356 to 0.537, an increase of 50.7 percent or an average annual increase of about 1.25.

Pakistan HDI Components Trend 1980-2013 Source: Human Development Report 2014

Overall, Pakistan's human development score rose by 18.9% during Musharraf years and increased just 3.4% under elected leadership since 2008. The news on the human development front got even worse in the last three years, with HDI growth slowing down as low as 0.59% — a paltry average annual increase of under 0.20 per cent.

Going further back to the  decade of 1990s when the civilian leadership of the country alternated between PML (N) and PPP,  the increase in Pakistan's HDI was 9.3% from 1990 to 2000, less than half of the HDI gain of 18.9% on Musharraf's watch from 2000 to 2007.
South Asia HDI Trends 1980-2013 Source: Human Development Report 2014

Who's to blame for this dramatic slowdown in the nation's human development? Who gave it a low priority? Zardari? Peoples' Party? Sharif brothers? PML (N)? PML (Q)? Awami National Party? Muttahida Qaumi Movement? The answer is: All of them. They were all part of the government. In fact, the biggest share of the blame must be assigned to PML (N). Sharif brothers weren't part of the ruling coalition at the center. So why should the PML (N) share the blame for falling growth in the nation's HDI? They must accept a large part of the blame because education and health, the biggest contributors to human development, are both provincial subjects and PML(N) was responsible for education and health care of more than half of Pakistan's population.

Why is it that "democratic" governments fail to deliver on human development? Is it just a matter of allocating insufficient funds? Or is it poor governance? Corruption? The answer is "all of the above". Ghost schools that exist only on paper are quite common, especially in Sindh, according to multiple credible reports. The funds allocated for building and staff salaries of these ghost schools are siphoned off by politicians and bureaucrats. Where school buildings do exist, the teachers draw salaries but are often absent. Such teaching positions are filled by untrained people in return for bribes. Many of these allegations against predecessors have been confirmed by by Sindh Education Minister Nisar Kuhro.

Actions of Pakistani politicians of all parties are discrediting democracy and endangering Pakistan's future. They are their own and the country's worst enemies. They must find a way to deliver on socio-economic development to restore ordinary Pakistanis' faith in democracy before it's too late.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Pakistan's Lost Decades

Saving Pakistan's Education, Airline and Railway

Asian Tigers Brought Prosperity; Democracy Followed

Pakistan Democracy: Neither Democracy Nor Development

Challenges of Indian Democracy

Pakistan's Economic History

Comparing Bangladesh with Pakistan

Economic and Human Development in Musharraf Years

India's Share of World;s Poor Up from 22% to 33%

Why is Democracy Failing in Pakistan?

Musharraf Era Higher Education Reforms in Pakistan

Comparing 30-Year Dictatorships in Indonesia and Pakistan

Democracy vs. Dictatorship in Pakistan


Anonymous said...

This might be of interest to you. Harvard invents a new word to describe India, it is a flailing state:

Riaz Haq said...

The new Pakistan Economic Survey 2014-15 while quoting the latest figures pertaining to Pakistan’s Social and Living Standards Measurement 2013-14 says that the literacy rate of the population (10 years and above) is 58 per cent as compared to 60 percent in 2012-13, showing a 2.0 per cent decline.

The data shows that literacy remains higher in urban areas (74 per cent) than in rural areas (49 per cent), and is more prevalent for men (81.0 per cent) compared to women (66.0 per cent) in urban areas. Province wise data suggests that Punjab leads with 61 per cent literacy followed by Sindh with 56 per cent, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa with 53 per cent and Balochistan with 43 per cent.

Gross Enrolment Rates (GER) referred to the participation rate of children attending primary schools divided by the number of children aged five to nine years. GER at the primary level excluding Katchi (prep) for the five to nine years age group at national level during 2013-14 recorded at 90 per cent as compared to 91 per cent in 2012-13. This decline is largely due to stagnant allocations at 2 per cent of GDP; shortage of schools especially for girls in remote and far flung areas; shortage and absenteeism of teachers; lack of trained teachers, especially female teachers; missing facilities such as water, toilets and boundary walls; weak supervision and monitoring; and a host of factors such as conservative and tribal culture; insecurity and lawlessness; and poverty, compelling a large number of children to work rather than to attend school.

A cursory look at the table GER indicates that the only Punjab has shown significant performance by achieving Primary level GER at 100 per cent against 98 per cent in 2012-13, while other provinces have performed negatively i.e. Sindh GER declined to 76 per cent in 2013-14 against 81 per cent in 2012-13 and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa also declined to 89 per cent in 2013-14 against 91 per cent in 2012-13, while Balochistan GER also declined from 67 per cent in 2013-14 as compared to 73 per cent in 2012-13.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan’s literacy rate has sustained at 58% over the past two years and the country looks set to miss the millennium development goal (MDG) for education.

The Pakistan Economic Survey 2014-15 unveiled on Thursday stated that the literacy rate has gone down by 2% in 2013-14 as compared to the previous year when it was 60%. However, the survey, which uses data from Pakistan Social and Living Standards Measurement (PSLM), appears to have either quoted the figures wrongly or the numbers have been fudged intentionally.

While the overall literacy rate for 2012-13 has been shown at 60%, it is actually 58% in the PSLM data.

The figures are alarming as under the United Nation’s MDGs, Pakistan was required to increase its literacy rate to 88% by 2015. The net primary enrolment ratio, which should have been 100% by the end of this year, has remained constant at 57% since 2011-12.

Despite spending slightly over 2% of its budget on education, the government could not improve the education sector with the poor performance of Sindh and Balochistan governments standing out.

Provincial literacy rate

While the Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) governments managed to improve their literacy ratios, Sindh and Balochistan could not even maintain their previous rates.

Punjab improved its literacy rate by one percent from 60% of the previous years to 61%. The survey incorrectly says the rate in Punjab was 62%.

In K-P, increase in female literacy rate gave the overall rate a boost of 1%, taking it to 53%.

Sindh witnessed the worst scenario as the literacy rate dropped by 4% in the province, from 60% to 56%.

In Balochistan, the rate fell by 1% to 43% from 44% last fiscal. The survey put it at 46% instead of 44%.

Gender disparity

The country’s overall female literacy rate also came down by 1% from 48% in 2012-13 to 47% in 2013-14. The figures suggest there is still a long way to end gender disparity in education, as the male literacy percentage stood at 70% like previous years.

In Punjab, the female education percentage witnessed a decline of 2% from 54% to 52% from 2012-13 with the male literacy rate pegged at 71% in both years.

In Sindh, the female literacy rate was 43% compared to 47% of the previous year. Male education in Sindh witnessed a decrease in percentage from 72% to 67% as compared to 2012-13.

In K-P, the female literacy percentage increased to 36% from 35% with the male percentage sustaining at 72% in both years.

Balochistan leads the provinces in female literacy figures with an improvement of 2% to 25% from 23% of the previous year.

Rks said...

Dear Riaz Saheb

I always see that you praise Musharraf era for spectacular "development in GDP, Human development index improvements" etc. But you need to realise that the figures were bloated and so are the figures from later governments.

The GDP data show Pakistan moving closer to India (maintaining about 30% below India all the time), where as the growth rates are half of India's. Practically Pakistan's GDP should be below 50% of India's right now. Just shows how cooked up figures provided by Pakistan is all these years. Reality is something else.

Riaz Haq said...

19640909rk: "But you need to realise that the figures were bloated and so are the figures from later governments"

I would believe you if the government figures were not supported by private industry reports from 2000-2008 on a variety of things ranging from autos to cement to electronics and FMCG consumption data and employment data. But that is clearly not the case. For example, cement consumption more than doubled; auto sales quadrupled, and telecom business saw an unprecedented boom, and savings rate increased and FDI soared to over $5 billion a year.

Anonymous said...

I agree, democracy is overrated. From a classical liberal point of view, an enlightened monarchy or dictatorship can solve the problems of governance as well as if not better than so-called "democratic" countries. Unfortunately, dictators do not always have the wisdom to keep within their limits.

Anonymous said...

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh outpaced India in poverty reduction targets in MDG 2015s.

As the deadline for meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) looms, India can draw satisfaction, albeit tinged with a measure of disappointment, from its performance. It achieved 11 out of 22 parameters and is on track to meet one more by the end of the year.


As a new millennium dawned, India and other countries pledged their peoples better lives. However, millions of Indians continue to live in abysmal living conditions and suffer unimaginable hunger and hardship. India dashed their hopes by underperforming on several MDGs. Countries with fewer resources managed to do better. India must draw inspiration and ideas from them. World leaders will be adopting a new set of transformative and universal Sustainable Development Goals as a part of the Post–2015 Development Agenda at the UN General Assembly in September 2015. India must take the pledge it makes at this meeting seriously. It is being given another chance to redeem its unfulfilled promises to its people.


Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh outpaced India in poverty reduction targets in MDG 2015s.

As the deadline for meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) looms, India can draw satisfaction, albeit tinged with a measure of disappointment, from its performance. It achieved 11 out of 22 parameters and is on track to meet one more by the end of the year.


As a new millennium dawned, India and other countries pledged their peoples better lives. However, millions of Indians continue to live in abysmal living conditions and suffer unimaginable hunger and hardship. India dashed their hopes by underperforming on several MDGs. Countries with fewer resources managed to do better. India must draw inspiration and ideas from them. World leaders will be adopting a new set of transformative and universal Sustainable Development Goals as a part of the Post–2015 Development Agenda at the UN General Assembly in September 2015. India must take the pledge it makes at this meeting seriously. It is being given another chance to redeem its unfulfilled promises to its people.


Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan has welcomed the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and multilateral development banks’ (MDBs) agreement to jointly provide $400 billion in order to attain sustainable growth in the world.

The funds will help less developed countries achieve sustainable development goals (SDGs) over the next three years, said a press release issued by the Ministry of Climate Change on Sunday.

“Massive financial support for developing countries like Pakistan will be required to meet the historic challenge of achieving the SDGs. However, any financial support by rich countries for the poor countries regarding SDGs implementation would merit appreciation,” Minister for Climate Change Mushahidullah Khan said in the statement.

The announcement by the financial institutions — the African Development Bank, Asian Development Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, European Investment Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, World Bank Group (referred to as the MDBs), and the International Monetary Fund — has come in the lead up to the United Nations’ third international conference on ‘Financing for Development’, which will be held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from July 13 to 16.

At the international conference, governments are expected to work out as to how this new vision of SDGs will be financed and where will the money come from to turn aspirations into reality.

Several heads of states, ministers, and special representatives will attend the summit.

Having run from 2000 to 2015, the eight UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are expiring this year in September and are being replaced by a new set of 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals at the start of 2016, which together aim to drive development efforts around the world.

Running from 2016 to 2030, the proposed SDGs aim to “end poverty in all its forms everywhere” and include broad topics such as hunger, health, gender equality, education, water and sanitation, energy, economic growth, sustainable consumption and production, climate change, biodiversity and marine conservation.

In September this year, world leaders will meet at the UN headquarters in New York to agree on SDGs, which is being described by development experts as an ambitious new development agenda.

Khan cautioned that attaining SDGs in developing countries including Pakistan is less likely because of their weak economic conditions, many of which are still struggling to recover from massive economic damages due to devastating climate change-induced disasters.

“Of course, money required for meeting SDGs in poor countries should come primarily from domestic resources and private resources. But massive chunks of such money will have to come from developed countries, who have exploited natural resources in an unsustainable manner over last several decades,” he said.

The minister stressed that SDGs are an ambitious development framework and demand equal ambition in using the billions of dollars in current flows of official development assistance and all available resources to attract, leverage and mobilise trillions of dollars in investments of all kinds — public and private, national and global.

The minister said that global development experts estimate that 2-3 trillion dollars of additional investment will be required by developing countries for implementation of the new 17 development goals over the SDGs’ lifetime from 2016 to 2030.

Riaz Haq said...

The UN group tasked with producing a proposed set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has released a ‘zero draft’ with 17 suggested topics to replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that expire next year.

While welcoming the draft, published last week by the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals as a good starting point for negotiations, some experts expressed disappointment that the text does not include more detail on how the goals and their related targets will be delivered in developing countries, the confirmation of which will require huge investment for in methods for observing, measuring and reporting progress.

The proposed SDGs to be attained by 2030 aim to “end poverty in all its forms everywhere”, and include broad topics such as hunger, health, gender equality, education, water and sanitation, energy, economic growth, sustainable consumption and production, climate change, biodiversity and marine conservation.

The zero draft “is more driven by politics than science, but there is a lot in there that is scientifically valid,” says Farooq Ullah, executive director of the Stakeholder Forum, an international organisation that works to advance sustainable development and promote democracy.

Felix Dodds, a fellow at the Global Research Institute at the University of North Carolina, United States, says: “The working group did a good job in stocktaking and compiling many issues and challenges for the zero draft.”

The zero draft “covers all the priority areas”, says Gisbert Glaser, an advisor at the International Council for Science in France, which is part of the UN ‘major group’ that represents science and technology in sustainable development negotiations.

The document includes all the main issues the scientific community has highlighted, such as climate change, biodiversity and the oceans, he says.

But he adds there are areas that are not addressed, such as “environmental targets like water pollution, limiting water use, air pollution, energy efficiency”.

Ullah says the number of targets should be reduced. “There are way too many targets, and they are very complex,” he says.

But Glaser says: “In the scientific community, we would have difficulty in throwing things out.” It would be better if some were amalgamated rather than removed, he adds.

Initial reaction to the draft focused on whether particular areas had been included, with many hailing the presence of climate change as significant progress. It was not included in the MDGs.

Ill-defined targets

In a letter last week, the working group co-chairs “strongly requested” country delegations involved in the ongoing SDG discussions to “move directly into focused consideration” of the proposed goals and targets.

But Glaser adds: “There is a lot missing in the draft. Some of the targets and indicators are still really inadequate.”

Many have yet to be defined and so are written as ‘x per cent’ or ‘y per cent’ in the draft. Dates, particularly for interim targets, appear as ‘20xx’.

For example, on climate change targets and indicators “some of the areas are blank right now”, says Ullah.

“We really do have a strong opportunity for science. How are we going to define what these figures are? What thresholds are? Are they going to be normative, decided through diplomacy, or are they going to be based on the real-world science telling us what we need to achieve and what’s even possible?” Ullah asks.

“There will need to be further in-depth reading and comparison with the list of indicators that the science community has prepared,” says Dodds, referring to UN research initiative the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), which collated comprehensive lists of possible SDG targets and indicators in a draft report released in May.

Riaz Haq said...

An Ambitious Development Agenda From the U.N. #sustainabledevelopment #SDGs replace #MDGs

Here's NY Times Op Ed on Sustainable Development Goals 2030:

The new targets are known as the Sustainable Development Goals, and they were formally adopted by the United Nations on Friday. Nothing appears to have been left out. There are 17 goals in all, covering areas like poverty, public health, the environment, education and justice.

So far, they are rather vaguely stated. The U.N. has not yet established statistical indicators against which to measure progress. It promises these numbers in the coming months. That won’t be easy in some cases: Goal No. 16, for example, calls on countries to “Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.”

Several goals, including those on sustainable consumption and production (No. 12), climate change (No. 13), conserving oceans (No. 14) and sustainable use of land (No. 15) cover a lot of the same ground and might easily have been consolidated. The U.N. should have picked fewer and more targeted goals.

That said, this is a worthy, high-minded effort. Developed economies like those of the United States, the European Union and Japan need to play an important role by providing more aid, expertise and private investment to developing countries. And industrialized nations need to revive their economies to help lift global growth, which the International Monetary Fund estimates will slow to 3.3 percent this year, from 3.4 percent in 2014.

Multilateral agencies like the World Bank can also help with research and by financing public works projects. And charities like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will be critical in providing money and leadership to achieve public health goals like eliminating malaria and other tropical diseases (No. 3).

Realistically, some nations may be beyond help at this point because they are so deeply mired in war and other conflicts. Without peace and better political leadership, it is hard to anticipate big gains in development in places like Iraq, Libya, Somalia, South Sudan, Syria and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Riaz Haq said...

The Pakistan Education Statistics 2015-16 fact sheets compiled by Alif Ailaan shows that Pakistan failed to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) targets for universal primary school access, improving retention in schools and increasing adult literacy.

The MGDs report available on its official page also revealed that not only did Pakistan come up short in upholding its international commitment to ensure all its citizens access to primary education as prescribed under the MDG, but it has also failed to meet its constitutional obligations at national and provincial level. The report of the MDGs has also recommended a high standard of education. The education departments of a country need to consider the urgency of improving educational quality in the country, which is not necessarily linked to infrastructure alone.

According to Alif Alian, Provincial and National Education Scores For the fourth year consecutively, Islamabad has ranked highest amongst all provinces of the Pakistan. The Education Score of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) remained at the same ranks they were last year, with KP at number five. However, the provinces suffered a decline in their Education Score of almost two percentage points each. KP demonstrated improvements in both enrolment and gender parity scores. However the reduction in the overall Education Score of the province is mainly due to the decline in retention rates.

The report of the independent organization also indicates that 50 percent of KP schools still do not have any of the four basic facilities available (electricity, drinking water, toilets and boundary walls). Unlike Punjab, KP’s districts are more evenly distributed whereby one specific region does not dominate the rest, as was the case in previous years.

The Pakistan District Education Rankings 2016 have suggested that for the fourth annual iteration for tracking progress, three districts of the province - Malakand, Mardan and Haripur - ranked in the top 25 of the country.

The data accumulation process of the organization found that two districts of the province - Tank and Kohistan - are ranked in the bottom 25. Kohistan was the worst performing district. However, as result of the Fiscal year (FY) 2016-17 KP the provincial allocation is PKR 43.6 billion while the district component is PKR 99.8 billion which will have a positive impact for the improvement of district level education status. Fifty percent of the provincial budget has been allocated for the districts but no detail or formula has been mentioned concerning how the funds are to be allocated. The minister made clear the formula or break-up of development and current allocations of funds to districts. It is pertinent to mention here that the factsheet praised the meritorious policy of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) in the previous FY 2015-16 merit base recruitment of over 12,000 school teachers through the National Testing Service (NTS) in FY 2015-16.

Despite a five-year trend of increasing enrollment rates, many children are still out of school and gender disparity remains a challenge. 52 percent girls in the province remain out of school compared to 21 boys. Media Manager of the Alif Ailaan Mariam Jamal said, while speaking to Daily Time that the data presented in the factsheet was collected painstakingly at a district level and compiled at the provincial and regional levels from the Annual School Census (ASC), which is regularly conducted every year by provincial and regional Education Management Information Systems (EMIS).

Riaz Haq said...

Departing UNDP Official on Pakistan:

1 Pakistan's Progress on Development Isn't Fast Enough
Mr. Franche is quoted as saying he is frustrated that a country full of “capable and intelligent” people isn’t making more progress on reducing poverty and modernizing the state. “The fact that even in 2016, Pakistan has 38% poverty; it has districts that live like sub-Saharan Africa; that the basic human rights of minorities, women and the people of FATA [tribal regions in the northwest] are not respected; that this country has not been able to get its act together and hold a census; or that it has not been able to push for reforms in FATA, an area that is institutionally living in 17th century. It is extremely preoccupying,” he said.

2 The Country's Political Class 'Uses Its Power to Enrich Itself'
The UNDP official said the country’s elites needed to change their lives to help Pakistan. “You cannot have a political class in this country that uses its power to enrich itself, and to favor its friends and families. This fundamental flaw needs to be corrected if Pakistan is to transform into a modern, progressive developed country,” he is quoted as saying.

He said elites take advantage of cheap labor while partying in London, shopping in Dubai and investing in property abroad: “The elite needs to decide, do they want a country or not,” he is quoted as saying.

Mr. Franche also had a word for the propertied classes. “I have visited some very large landowners, who have exploited the land for centuries, paid nearly zero money for the water, and how they almost sometimes hold people in bondage. And then they come to the United Nations or other agencies and ask us to invest in water, sanitation, and education for the people in their district. I find that quite embarrassing,” he is quoted as sayin
3 Local Governments Need Real Power
Mr. Franche said provincial governments in Pakistan don’t have enough power. “Only KP [the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province] has a decent law that gives real power and real money to the local government. Local government does not mean that you just elect them and deny them fiscal resources or power,” he said.

4 Pakistan's Media Is 'Manipulated'
He also said the media should be one of the pillars of democracy, but “unfortunately, the level of dependence of the government on military authorities, and the degree by which a lot of media in this country is manipulated by powerful sources, are sources of erosion of democracy and erosion of the institutions that are the foundations of this country.”
5 Country Needs More Opportunities
“The apartheid of opportunities in Pakistan is horrible, which is why so many young people are trying to leave the country,” Mr. Franche is quoted as saying.

“Pakistan will not be able to survive with gated communities where you are completely isolated from the societies, where you are creating ghettos at one end and big huge malls for the rich at the other end. It is not the kind of society you want your kids to live in.”

Riaz Haq said...

World Bank: #PTI governed #KP tops in human development in #Pakistan, #PPP led #Sindh at bottom. #ImranKhan #HDI …

The World Bank (WB) has categorised the PTI-led Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on top among all four federating units of Pakistan for making progress in different areas of human development.

“Pakistan’s provinces have experienced very different levels of progress in human development over the last decade. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa seems to have made the most progress in a number of areas,” the WB’s report titled “Pakistan Development Update” states.

According to the WB, the gross primary enrolment rate in the KP increased three percentage points between 2010 and 2015, in a period when other provinces were deteriorating. The child immunisation rate in KP increased from 40 percent in 2005 to 53 percent in 2013 and 58 percent in 2015, the largest increase of all provinces over that time period.

Sindh, on the other hand, appears to be flat-lining across the same indicators. Child immunisation was lower in 2015 than it was in 2005 (45 and 46 percent respectively) and the gross primary enrolment rate also fell from 82 percent in 2010 to 79 percent in 2015.

Stunting in Sindh also remains very high. Sindh continues to face large differences in urban and rural outcomes, which are most stark in water and sanitation where only 31 percent of rural households have a flushing toilet compared with 97 percent of urban households. Only 23 percent of Sindh schools are equipped with basic facilities compared with 93 percent in Punjab, 44 percent in KP and 26 percent in Balochistan.

Punjab has had mixed success while Balochistan has struggled. The data suggests that Punjab is also stagnant in some of the social outcomes over recent years. Its improvement falls between Sindh and KP, having made steady progress on child malnutrition (particularly stunting), as well as child immunisation and rural sanitation while making little or no progress on enrolment rates and the quality of learning outcomes.

Balochistan has struggled to increase its particularly poor outcomes, seeing deterioration in learning outcomes (only 33 percent of year 5 children could read a story in 2014) and child immunisation. Gender equality is improving somewhat – from a low base – in education and the workforce progress on women’s empowerment is also mixed. While gender inequalities persist, women are slowly participating more in education and work. Female labour force participation is slowly increasing, albeit from a low base (from 19.3 percent in 2005 to 24.8 percent in 2014) and more girls are completing lower secondary.

The ratio of female to male literacy is steadily improving, with seven literate women for every 10 literate men in 2015. This ratio differs wildly across provinces, however, with Balochistan exhibiting only four literate women for every 10 literate men.

Population growth is a key challenge for service delivery. Looking forward, population growth presents a key challenge for all areas of human development. Systems are not expanding quickly enough to increase access and coverage to Pakistan’s fast-growing population. Service delivery strategies will need to take a long-term view if services are to capture a greater share of a growing population while also improving quality, the report concluded.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan’s obsession with #infrastructure at the expense of #education, #healthcare. #CPEC #China via @TheEconomist

Lijian Zhao, a Chinese diplomat, says China is all too aware that Pakistan needs more than just big-ticket infrastructure if it is to flourish. Disarmingly, he praises the efforts of Britain and other countries to improve Pakistan’s “software”, such as education and the rule of law. “But China’s expertise is hardware,” says Mr Zhao.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan Launched Annual Status Of Education Report (ASER)

The United Kingdom strongly supports ASER, this is the only citizen-led independent assessment of Education and it is also an important tool for citizen’s accountability. We as DFID have been supporting ASER since its launch years ago, and we will continue to support the cause for better of the society, said Joanna Reid while addressing the panelists.

The number of out-of-the-school children has dropped significantly from 25 million to 22 million according to the government data. However, it’s still not enough, there is a lot more to be done. We should not compromise on access to schools, our main focus should be on improving quality, the education budget was increased this year which is a good sign towards development but still short in achieving targets, from 2.83% of GDP the budget allocation this year was 3.02%, Joanna added.

Education and economic development are correlated with each other, economic growth in Pakistan heavily relies on education, Pakistan has a larger segment of population which is aged between 10 to 24 years according to population Council, 61 million young people can really make a difference if they are equipped with required education and skills, if half of them are not, Pakistan will not be able to meet its workforce needs in the future to continue economic growth, she said.

The ASER meeting was organized by Idra-e-Taleem-o-Agahi with other partners of ASER in Serena Hotel. Key personalities from Federal government Education department, National Assembly, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics and Human Rights Activists were among the Panelists.

Riaz Haq said...

SDG Index 2023: Bangladesh ahead of India, Pakistan

Bangladesh has ranked 101st on the Sustainable Development Report 2023, with an overall score of 65.9 out of 100.

In this year's index, Bangladesh is ahead of India (112th), Pakistan (128th), and Afghanistan (158th) in South Asia.

The Sustainable Development Report 2023 including the SDG Index and Dashboards, which was released on Wednesday, is a complement to the official SDG indicators and the voluntary national reviews, published by the Dublin University Press.

The report assesses the progress of all of the 193 UN Member States towards the SDGs.

Status of SDG targets for Bangladesh

Around 30.9% of the SDG targets for Bangladesh have been achieved or on track, 41.2% have limited progress, and 27.9% have been worsening.

The SDG dashboard highlighted that out of 17 development goals, Bangladesh is on track or maintaining SDG achievements for only two goals – Quality education (SDG 4), and Responsible consumption and production (SDG 12).

Besides, the country has been moderately improving with respect to achieving six goals: no poverty (SDG 1), zero hunger (SDG 2), good health and well-being (SDG 3), clean water and sanitation (SDG 6), affordable and clean energy (SDG 7), and industry, innovation and infrastructure (SDG 9).

Bangladesh is moderately improving in these six indicators, but they are not sufficient as there are major challenges in achieving these goals.

The SDG dashboard indicates that Bangladesh has already achieved two goals – responsible consumption and production (SDG 12), and climate action (SDG 13).

Although the country has achieved the climate action goal, it has been tagged to take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.

Sadly, the country is stagnant in its position for four goals, and moving backward with respect to three goals, according to the report.

There are major challenges in achieving the targets related to life below water (SDG14), life on land (SDG15), and peace, justice and strong institutions (SDG16), reflected by the decreasing scores in these indicators.

There is no data about one of the goals – reduced inequalities (SDG 10) – for Bangladesh and overall 2% of data is missing in the SDG Index.

Spillover Index

The report also published a spillover index, which indicates transboundary impacts generated by one country on others.

Bangladesh ranked 46th with a score of 97.8 on the Spillover Index, indicating the country has significantly more positive and fewer negative impacts on other countries in achieving their sustainable development goals.

The Spillover Index assesses such spillovers along three dimensions: environmental and social impacts embodied in trade, economy and finance, and security.

Global situation

Globally, Finland topped the SDG Index by replacing Sweden. Denmark ranked third, followed by Germany and Austria.

South Sudan, Central African Republic, and Chad are the bottom three countries.

All of the SDGs are seriously off track.

From 2015 to 2019, the world made some progress on the SDGs, although this was already vastly insufficient to achieve the goals. Since the outbreak of the pandemic in 2020 and other simultaneous crises, SDG progress has stalled globally.

The disruptions caused by these multiple crises have aggravated fiscal-space issues in low-income countries and in lower-middle income countries, leading to a reversal in progress on several goals and indicators.

"Despite this alarming development, the SDGs are still achievable. None of their objectives are beyond our reach," said the report.