Pakistan has one of the lowest literacy rates in the world. More than 40 percent of girls — two out of every five — never enroll in school. The situation is especially alarming in rural areas due to social and cultural barriers.
The issue also relates to gender equality and access to education, and poverty alleviation. Despite improvements in the last 20 years, the underlying factors that make the state education system inefficient need to be tackled if girls’ access to education is to increase. In our society, co-education is not accepted even in primary schools. Family and parents don’t allow their daughters to study in co-education schools because of several reasons and governments often failed to take these into account when making new primary schools. Education for a girl child is important because it helps ensure, to a great extent, that the next generation will be educated, especially given the role mothers play in the education of their children. Education is a universal human right but we still deny it to millions of Pakistani girls.
Successive governments over the years have made all kinds of statements and promises on educating girls but, by and large, these have remained mostly on paper. This needs to change.