Statistics for Women's Education in Pakistan

The latest official statistics on enrollment that are provided by the Ministry of Education of Pakistan are of year 2005-2006. The statistics can be divided into two categories, public schools and private schools.

Public Sector

According to the government of Pakistan, total enrollment level of pre-primary in public sector was 4,391,144. Out of 4,391,144 pre-primary students, 2,440,838 are boys, and 1,950,306 are girls. It shows that 56% of enrolled students are boys, and 44% are girls. Further breakdown of these statistics into urban and rural enrollment levels reveals almost similar percentage of enrollment among boys and girls, i.e. in rural schools 57% are boys and 43% are girls.

Private Sector
There is a huge sector of private education in Pakistan. According to the government of Pakistan, 2,744,303 pre-primary students are enrolled in private schools. Among them, 1,508,643 are boys, and 1,235,660 are girls. It shows that 55% of enrolled kids are boys and 45% are girls. Of the total number, 39% students are in rural areas, and the percentage of enrolled boys and girls in rural areas are 58% and 42% respectively.

Primary education
Primary education is compulsory for every child in Pakistan, but due to culture, poverty, and child labour, Pakistan has been unable to achieve 100% enrollment at the primary level.

Public Sector
The total enrollment in primary public sector is 11,840,719, and among them, 57% (6,776,536) are boys, and 43% (5,064,183) are girls. The 79%of all the primary students in Pakistan are enrolled in rural schools, and the gender enrollment ratios are 59% and 41% for boys and girls respectively in rural Pakistan.

Private Sector
The private schools are mostly located in urban centers, and the total enrollment in private primary schools was 4,993,698.

Middle school level
The enrollment level falls dramatically from primary to middle school level in Pakistan. These statistics can be very helpful in comprehending the problems faced by Pakistan in its educational sector.

Public Sector
3,642,693 students are enrolled in public middle schools, and among them, 61% (2,217,851) are boys, and 39% (1,424,842) are girls. Of the total enrollment, 62% students are in rural areas, and the enrollment of girls are much lower in rural middle schools vis-à-vis urban schools. In rural schools, 66% enrolled students are boys and 34% are girls.

Private Sector
The enrollment in private schools declines sharply after primary level, as the cost of attendance in private schools increases and the majority of the population cannot afford private education in Pakistan. The total number of students enrolled in private schools at middle level is 1,619,630. Of the total level of enrollment in private schools, 66% students are in urban schools. Hence, the ratio of boys and girls is relatively balanced with 54% boys and 46% girls.

High school level
In Pakistan grades 8 to 10 constitute high school education.

Public Sector
The total number of students enrolled in public high schools is 1,500,749. The 61% of students are boys and 39% are girls. Overall enrollment decreases sharply at high school level. A very disproportionate gender ratio is observed in rural high schools, only 28% of the enrolled students are girls, and 72% are boys.

Private Sector
632,259 students are enrolled in private high schools. Most of them are in urban centers. The ratio of boys and girls enrollment is 53% and 47% respectively.

Higher secondary
The overall ratio seems to equalize among boys and girls in higher secondary education.

Public sector
There are 699,463 students enrolled in higher secondary education in public institutions. There is almost 50% boys and girls enrollment in higher secondary education. But there is a discrepancy between urban and rural enrollments. Only 16% of the students from the total number are from rural areas, and among them only 28% are female students. While in urban centers, 55% students are female students.

Private Sector
154,072 students are enrolled in private higher secondary institutions, with 51% boys and 49% girls.

Degree level education
Female students outnumber their male counterparts in degree level education.

Public Sector
There are only 296,832 students are enrolled in degree level education in public sector institutions, and 62% of them are female students while 38% are male students. Very small number (less than 1%) of students are in rural institutions.

Private sector
29,161 students are enrolled in private sector institutions, among them 4% are female students, mostly in urban city centers.

Summary of statistics
These statistics shed some interesting facts about education in Pakistan; the gender disparity in education is much lower in urban places vis-à-vis rural areas. One of the possible explanations of this pattern is relatively stronger dominance of tribal, feudal and patriarchal traditions in rural areas. Moreover, there are very few employment opportunities for women in rural areas, and thus, there is very little financial incentive for families to send their girls to schools. However, it is interesting to note that, despite the meagre representation of females in the education sector, the level of achievement of female students is consistently far higher than that of their counterpart male students. Girls generally outclass boys in examination, and they are also higher achievers in universities. Unfortunately, the majority of the girls never get an opportunity to develop their educational capabilities.