A study has identified poverty as one of the major obstacle to increase in girls’ enrolment and low retention in schools of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
The study is conducted with the support of (UK-aid) Response Fund administered by AAWAZ in Kohat, Buner, Haripur and Charsadda districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa through focus group discussion with enrolled girls, parents of enrolled girls, out of schools and also dropout girls.
To get a comprehensive view, in-depth interviews with head teachers of schools, and education officers at district level are also conducted. It said that the girls’ parents considered uniform, transportation charges and any other expenditure related to school as unaffordable and an added burden on their household budgets.
The most common reason for dropout is often unavailability of high level of education in the locality and it seems that more distant the school was, the more reluctant the parents were to send their girls to school due to safety and travel time.
It was interesting to note that majority of dropout were directly affected by issues such as quality of education in government schools assessed by teaching quality, basic facilities and infrastructure of the school.
The data shows that girls had been interest to gain education in these areas and even majority of parents dreamt of seeing their daughters educated but the inadequate provisions in schools, long distance of school from town centres and ill equipped teachers lead to low enrolment and retention.
Cultural practice of early marriage in the targeted districts also emerged as a reason for low retention and enrolment in middle school. The middle school girls were considered to be at the appropriate age to get married, therefore, the dropout rate of girls’ increases right after the primary level.
Most parents have also showed a discontent with school infrastructure, basic facilities as well as quality of education while the results of the in-depth interviews with district education officer and head teachers reflected the strategies being adopted by the government to address quality of education, basic facilities and enrolment issues.