Girls' education in Pakistan: photo gallery
Getting a good education has always been difficult in rural Pakistan but things were made even harder after 2010’s flooding destroyed numerous schools. To change things, Oxfam is building model, flood-proof schools, and campaigning for the right to go to school for children.
The poor standard of school buildings highlights the limited government investment in education - Pakistan spends less of its national budget on education, compared to other South Asian countries.
Outdated teaching methods, lack of equipment and facilities, coupled with patriarchal attitudes, make things particularly difficult for girls, evidenced by higher absenteeism, drop-out rates and levels of illiteracy.
A weak education system
Official statistics released by the Federal Education Ministry of Pakistan give a desperate picture of education for all, especially for girls. The overall literacy rate is 46%, while only 26% of girls are literate.
Independent sources and educational experts, however, are sceptical. They place the overall literacy rate at 26% and the rate for girls and women at 12%.
At least seven million children are not in primary school and half of children aged 6-16 are unable to read even a sentence. In rural areas only one-in-three women have ever attended school.
Yet female literacy is recognized as a key driver of change for women’s rights. Studies have shown that there is an explicit link between the lack of economic opportunities and illiteracy with poverty and violence against women.
Pakistan has made a commitment to achieve gender equality and empowerment through equal access to all levels of education by 2015 but just two years away this target is still a long way off -political will, policy reforms and sustained financing are urgently required.
What is Oxfam doing?
Oxfam is working to ensure equitable access to quality education for children of school going age, particularly girls living in rural poverty. Since 2006, Oxfam’s girls’ education program has constructed model schools that are flood-proof and equipped with sanitation facilities.
As well as building the schools, we're working with local partners including ITA (Idara Taleem o Agahi), Indus Resource Center (IRC) in Shahdadkot and Strengthening Participatory Organization (SPO) in Dadu, to train teachers and provide learning materials.
We're now working with district governments to replicate this model throughout the affected provinces. We are helping to inspire communities to value education, especially for girls, and children to campaign for their right to go to school.