There are 50.8 million children in Pakistan between the ages of 5 and 16, of which 22.8 million are out of school. 13 million or 53% of the out-of-school children in Pakistan are girls.
Taking heed of Pakistan’s dismal education indicators (especially with regard to the girl child), PYCA is currently working in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province to create demand for girls’ education on one hand and propel policy makers and legislators to provide the necessary infrastructure and legal environment to meet this newly created demand.
Of the 6.8 million children in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 2.8 million (or 36%) children are out of school. The situation becomes all the more worrisome when literacy among girls and women is analyzed.
52% of all girls aged 5-16 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are out of school. The net enrolment rate for girls in primary school is as low as 51%. This further drops to just 17% in middle school and becomes as little as 8% in high school.
To address the alarming situation of girls’ secondary education in Khyber Pukhtunkhawa, PYCA initiated a three-year intervention aimed at creating demand at the community level for girls’ education and at the same time engage in policy advocacy to ensure public sector’s commitment to providing the necessary infrastructure to meet the newly created demand.
How will this be achieved?
The project, which is currently in its first year will benefit 180,978 children and young people between the ages of 12 – 20 years over its life cycle. The following steps will be employed to achieve the project goal:
- Create Evidence: Undertake a baseline study to determine the prevalent Gross Enrollment Rate (GER) and retention of female students at the secondary level in the target districts and identify barriers to girls’ education both specifically at the district level and broadly at the provincial level.
- Identify Education Champions: Local education champions who have a proven record of striving for the cause of education (specifically girls’ education) will be identified from the target districts. These local champions will undergo capacity building (including an understanding of new information and communication technologies) to help refine their advocacy and leadership skills.
- Create New Education Champions: Youth leaders and students belonging to higher education institutes will be provided with an opportunity to interact with existing education champions, learn from their experiences and receive an opportunity to directly work under their mentorship to raise awareness about the importance of and advocate for girls’ education with their communities and spheres of influence.
- Launch a Two-Pronged Campaign: Based on the learning derived from the baseline study and with inputs from the existing and new education champions, a two pronged campaign will be launched that will make use of direct community interaction, mass and social media to inspire behavior and attitudinal change vis-à-vis girls’ education on one hand and on the other propel law and policymakers to undertake appropriate measures to meet the newly created demand. Targeted advocacy with all political parties to ensure their commitment to girls’ education during the 2018 elections (and afterwards) will also figure prominently during the campaign.