Report on Out-of-School Children in Pakistan Indicates 3 out of 10 Primary Age Children Not Enrolled in School

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Children attend a UNICEF-supported Co-curricular activities at a government primary school in Bogharmang Union Council, Pakistan. © UNICEF/PAKA2008-1519/Giacomo Pirozzi


Islamabad, 19 September 2013 – A report on out-of-school children in Pakistan, launched here today, indicates that despite achievements in the education sector, over 6.5 million children are not enrolled in primary education and another 2.7 are not enrolled at lower secondary level.

The Report, prepared in collaboration between the Government of Pakistan, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Institute for Statistics, provides a detailed analyses of out-of-school children and is important for complementing the on-going work in all provinces and areas to scale up evidence based education activities to ensure that all children have access to quality education. The Report also highlights the need for better disaggregated data that will help policy-makers and education experts to better address challenges and bottlenecks in the education system.

“The lack of reliable data and its underutilization is a serious constraint in framing policies and plans for focused and targeted interventions. The out-of-school Children study by UNICEF fills in these information gaps by providing invaluable insight into the socio-economic dimensions of exclusion of the out-of-school children.” said Khalid Hanif, Additional Secretary for Ministry of Education, Training and Standards in Higher Education.

The study confirms that more girls than boys are out of school – 38.9% of primary age girls are not attending school, the rate is 30.2% for boys. Children from poorer households are proportionally more out of school – 49.2% compared to 17.5% in richest quintile. Dropout is highest in the grade 5 (42.8%) indicating that many children do not transition to lower secondary education and therefore do not complete basic education.

“With the commitment expressed at the highest level of the Government as well as in the public and private sector, it is evident that now is the time to address issues of quality and access to education,” said Dan Rohrmann, UNICEF Representative in Pakistan. “Out-of-School children often face deep-rooted inequalities and disparities due to gender, poverty and child labour as well as lack of school facilities and learning and teaching materials. This report will help us better understand the root causes of out-of-school children.”

“As Pakistan will be presenting at the United Nations its plan to scale-up education to meet Millennium Development Goals, there is a new momentum gaining where concerted action by public and private sector, combined with innovative approaches, in combination will help provide a quantum leap in realizing children’s rights to quality education.”

If the issue of out-of-school children is not addressed with urgency, these children will add to the existing pool of youth and eventually adult illiterates in the future exacerbating the vicious cycle of poverty. Hence, immediate investment in children falling behind, with funds, commitments and innovation is crucial.

For further information, please contact:

A. Sami Malik, Communication Specialist, UNICEF Pakistan Phone: +92 300 855 6654, Email:

Hira Tanveer, Web and Social Media Officer, UNICEF Pakistan Email: