Punjab tops Pakistan District Education Rankings

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Out of a maximum education score of 100, only six districts have been rated in the 80s and none in the 90s with Poonch the highest-ranking district in the country scoring 82.94, according to a district education ranking.
There are only a few districts where the education system seems to be working effectively and of the six highest scoring districts in the education rankings, four are in Punjab, one is in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) and the other is Islamabad Capital Territory. Just 98 out of 145 districts score above 50, suggesting that the overall standard of education across the country is average at best. Across the country, the majority of districts score between 40 and 70 points in the education index. 
The education index that measures the quality of education, using four indicators: access to education, attainment levels (surviving until the 5th grade), achievement levels (reading and math ability) and gender parity has rated top ten districts as: Poonch, Islamabad, Chakwal, Sialkot, Rawalpindi, Jhelum, Narowal, Lahore, Hunza Nagar, and Haripur.
The schools index that measures the quality of infrastructure and facilities, using five indicators: electricity, water, toilets, boundary walls and the condition of the building rates Islamabad number one while other districts follow as: Vehari, Gujrat, Lodhran, Mandi Bahauddin, Bannu, Lahore, Toba Tek Singh, Charsadda, and Chakwal.   
The Pakistan District Education Rankings 2013, an in-depth assessment of the state of education in the country that focuses on primary education, not secondary or tertiary was launched Thursday by Alif Ailaan. The study, conducted in association with the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), shows how widely education standards vary across the country.
Surprisingly, there are no districts from Sindh in the top 50 and it ranks low in the education rankings despite the fact that Sindh's school facilities are better than most other provinces. Karachi, the highest-ranked district in the province, is at number 56 nationwide. Meanwhile, Punjab takes the top position in the overall provincial rankings while Balochistan is the worst performing province.
The education index rate provinces and territories as: AJK with score 77.96, Punjab 68. 78, Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) 67.45, Khyber Pakhtunkhawa (KPK) 63.79, Sindh 51.67, FATA 47.42, and Balochistan 46.70.  School index rate provinces and territories as:  Punjab scoring 83.47, Sindh 66.70, KPK 66.18,  FATA 35.17, Balochistan 26.61, G-B 26.22 and AJK 23. 60.
The study shows that within Punjab, the northern districts perform the best, followed by central Punjab, while southern Punjab lags far behind. The highest-ranking district in southern Punjab is Bahawalnagar, which is ranked 20th out of 36 districts in the province. Southern Punjab does well in the school index, with Lodhran and Vehari in the top 10.
Within KPK, the districts of Abbottabad and Haripur rank the highest in the education index while Balochistan fares the poorest overall, 14 of its 30 districts score above 50 in the education index.  The report dispels commonly held perceptions, such as the idea that providing infrastructure and facilities will automatically improve the overall quality of education. In fact this is not the case, as demonstrated by the findings for AJK, which ranks highest in terms of the quality of education but lowest in terms of school infrastructure.
An interactive 'Education and Budget' map, the first of its kind in Pakistan, was also launched at the event. Available on the Alif Ailaan website, the map allows users to access key education statistics for each district and to send a letter to elected representatives in each constituency, pressing them to play their role in ending Pakistan's education emergency. To reinforce the message, Alif Ailaan will also post a copy of each letter sent through the map directly to the MNA or MPA in question.
"The big picture in education is stark and demands urgent action," said Mosharraf Zaidi, Team Leader, Alif Ailaan. Federal Minister for Education and Training and Standards for Higher Education Baligh ur Rahman, Asif Saeed Memon of SDPI, Dr. Baela Raza Jamil of Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi and Ahmed Ali of (I-SAPS) also spoke on the state of education and available resources and political will.

Published in The Nation on 21 June, 2013


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