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Pak has become nation of dropouts: Minister

Education Minister Javed Ashraf Qazi said a massive 45% students quit school mid-way.

india Updated: May 31, 2006 14:01 IST

Pakistan has become a nation of dropouts, with a massive 45 per cent of students quitting school mid-way, its Education Minister Gen (retd) Javed Ashraf Qazi has said.

The country also has a low literacy rate of less than 50 per cent, Qazi, also a former ISI Chief, said at a national conference on the state of education here on Tuesday.

"We have failed to provide basic facilities at school level, one of the prime reasons for the increasing dropout rate," he said, adding in Punjab alone, over 20,000 schools need basic amenities like water, classrooms and sanitation facilities.

The lack of schools and poor infrastructure of the existing ones have also deprived 40 per cent of the children in the school-going age of basic primary education.

Ill-equipped and underpaid teachers also contributed to the low literacy rate, Qazi said.

The country paid its tutors less than what it did to a domestic servant. There were also no facilities to impart on-the-job skills to the teachers.

Qazi charged the successive governments for the non- uniformity in the sector, be it in curriculum or in examination system.

"At the end of the day, only two per cent of the school- goers join universities. We have to invest in the education sector," he told reporters.

The government was also trying to enhance current federal spending of 2.7 per cent of GDP on education to the UNESCO-prescribed four per cent, he said.

Political parties and civil societies say the massive defence spending at four per cent of the GDP the reason why education sector gets a poor share of the total outlay.