EFA National Flan of Action (NPA) has been developed through broad-based consultations wh principal actors of EFA and all stakeholders. Education Sector Reforms (2001-02- 2005-06) aimed at the development of education sector as a whole with a special focus on EFA goals, served as foundation of the NPA. Allocations of Rs.1.574 Billion with additional Rs. 2.00 Billion in the current financial year for ESR implementation over and above the regular budget, despite economic difficulties, is a clear expression of political will and government commitment to Education For All.

The planning framework of National Plan of Action (NPA) are the six EFA goals as stated in the Dakar Framework For Action. The main objectives of NPA interalia are (1) to reach the disadvantaged population groups in rural and urban areas with emphasis on girls and women, (II) to promote community participation and ownership of basic education programs at the grassroots, and (III) to improve relevance and quality of basic education through enhancing learning achievements of the children, youth and adults. The sector- wide order of priorities of the plan are Primary Education, Adult Literacy and Early Childhood Education.

Primary Education

In EFA Primary Education has been assigned top priority. Universalization of Primary Education (UPE) in terms of universal enrolment/access; universal retention/completion and universal achievement latest by 2010 in case of boys and 2015 in case of girls is the avowed goal and target of national, provincial and district EFA plans.

The target of 73% net participation rate under ESR/EFA plan of action for primary education was set. Achievement in terms of net participation rate could not be assessed due to non-availability of data/statistics. However, gross enrolment at primary level (I-V) is estimated to be 83%.

Declining population growth rate; high intake rate in grade I; increased enrolment in primary classes (I-V); reduced dropout rate (from 50% to 35% ); increased allocations for and adequate primary education (more than 50% budget of education sector is allocated for primary education); infrastructure (around 200,000 institutions including Formal Primary Schools, Masjid Maktab Schools, Primary Sections of Middle and Secondary Schools. Deeni Madaris, Private Sector Schools and Non-formal Basic Education Schools cater to the needs of primary age group children) are the achievements and strengths of Primary Education in Pakistan. Whereas, a large number of out of school (more than 6 million) children; gender and area disparities; lack of effective community participation; deteriorating quality of education and shortage of required funds are some of the lackings and weaknesses of the system which need to be addressed on priority basis.

Adult Literacy:

In literacy 10,000 Adult Literacy Centers in public sector and more than 2000 in private sector against the target of 270,000 during the period 2001-3 could be opened. Literacy rate could be enhanced to 5 1.6% against the target of 56% during this period.

The shortfall was mainly due to non-availability of the required resources by the international Development Partners, Federal, Provincial and District Governments.

Secondly, implementation of ESR was delayed for one year and started in the year 2002 instead of 2001.

The above mentioned initiatives in literacy; plus declining population growth rate (reduced from 3% in 1991 to 2.1% in 2003); and increasing participation rate at primary level has resulted in considerable increase (2.2% against 1.1% per year average increase from 1981 -1998) in literacy. At present (2003-4) the adult literacy rate is estimated to be 54% (male 66%: female 42%)

Consequent upon that the targets of adult literacy rate for ESR first phase (upto 2005-06) are revised to 58% (male 69% female 47%) against 60% previously targeted. The current projection is based on actual evidence at present and may be revised upwards if implementation in 2004-2005 is seen to be more robust on account of government, NCHD, US AID, and JICA funded initiatives in literacy. The backlog of 264,000 literacy centers will be adjusted accordingly during the remaining period of 1st 2nd and 3rd phases of EFA Plan of Action spread evenly across the period 2004/5 to 2014.

Early Childhood Education (ECE):

Early Childhood Education is one of the priority areas of education for all. Some of the major Programmes on ECE launched in Pakistan are as follows:

  • In the public sector primary schools, especially in rural areas, children below 5 years of age do attend the schools informally, and learn basic concepts of literacy and numeracy.
  • In private sector schools, especially schools run on commercial basis, pre-primary education is well organized, being an essential part of primary education. Almost all such schools arrange pre- primary education in the form of Nursery, Pre- nursery or Kindergarten KG-I, KG-II classes.
  • Day Care Centers and Nurseries have also been opened by the Social Welfare Department, for children of working mothers.
  • The Ministry of Education under ESR has promoted ECE as an innovative program in the provinces. Under this initiative 450 ECE classes were set up with a view that these may be mainstreamed by the respective provinces once their efficacy was established. Support for ECE has been mobilized from donors such as US AID, UNICEF, and the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
  • Child friendly School Project has been launched by Federal Directorate of Education in Islamabad, Chakwal and six other districts in Punjab covering 200 schools in collaboration with UNICEF.
  • The Aga Khan Foundation Pakistan with the support from US-AID has initiated a pilot programme of early childhood education (ECE) in the province of Sindh and Balochistan. ECE programme entitled “Releasing Confidence and Creativity: Building Sound Foundations for Early Learning in Pakistan” is being implemented in 100 government schools in Sindh and Balochistan. The Sindh Education Foundation (SEF) has been given the role of documentation and research of the program to capture the impact on early years on learning, parental and teachers engagement.
  • Children Resource International (CRI) is also implementing ECE in another 100 schools across public sector and non-elite private sector.
  • The Teachers Resource Center (TRC) which has developed the national ECE curriculum has been engaged to provide support to all partners in various areas especially in teachers’ training and classroom materialban development and dissemination of ‘taleemi bastas’ of learning kits for ECE and early primary years.

EMIS data indicates that Pre-primary age group gross enrolment in public sector was 2.97 (male 1.67: female 1.30) million in 2001-02. Since, private sector ECE data is not available therefore adding to it 50% of private sector enrolment (as is the present ratio between public and private sector in Primary education I-V) the gross enrolment comes out to be 4.5 million which is 57% of the ECE age group population of 7.9 million in 2002. It shows that we have achieved the NPA target of 27.5% net participation rate of ECE in 2002.

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