Girls Face Barriers to Education in Pakistan: Human Rights Watch (HRW)
New York: Pakistan is failing to educate a huge proportion of the country’s girls due to the government’s under-investment in schools, prohibitive school fees and gender discrimination, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a report released on Tuesday. The 111-page report, titled “‘Shall I Feed My Daughter, or Educate Her?’: Barriers to Girls’ Education in Pakistan”, said many girls simply had no access to education because of a shortage of government schools for them. Nearly 22.5 million children were out of school, of which majority were girls.
Thirty-two per cent of primary school age girls were out of school in Pakistan, compared with 21 per cent of boys. By 9th grade, only 13 per cent of girls remain in school, the report said. “The Pakistan government’s failure to educate children is having a devastating impact on millions of girls,” said Liesl Gerntholtz, the women’s rights director at Human Rights Watch.
The New York-based HRW interviewed 209 people for the report, most of them with girls who never attended school, in all four of the country’s provinces: Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab and Sindh. Among the factors keeping girls out of school, Human Rights Watch found were the government’s under-investment in schools, lack of schools, prohibitive school fees, corporal punishment and a failure to enforce compulsory education. The Pakistan government’s investment in education was much below than that recommended by international standards. Up until 2017, Pakistan was spending less than 2.8 per cent of its gross domestic product on education — far below the recommended 4 to 6 per cent. (IANS)