Public education in Pakistan suffers from neglect, persistent low standards of education, and crumbling infrastructure. The overall state of public school education is grim: Of the country’s approximately 127,000 public primary schools, 11%t are without a building, 41% are without a boundary wall, 66% have no electricity, 38% are without running water, and 40% have no toilet facilities. Pakistan’s adult literacy rate of 56% is the lowest in South Asia with 68.9 % for men and 40 % for women (UNESCO 2011). These conditions are more pronounced in rural and relatively underdeveloped parts of Pakistan. For example regional literacy rates show stark variation between Balochistan, 36%and Punjab, 54%. These conditions together with persistent low investment in public education (less than 2% of gross domestic product) result in extremely poor outcomes: 50% of school children, age 6-16, cannot read a sentence in any language.
It is always a challenge for countries with such a large population to deliver basic services without significant participationfrom community. What is needed now is a mix of community level advocacy to work with school authorities and parents to convince them to make school enrolment as easy and accessible as possible and to support parents in the actual enrolment process. Communities need to foster an education friendly and conducive environment where education and its associated issues are discussed and action taken on relevant matters with authorities.