Numbers are Alarming, Solutions are Scant: Out of School Children in Pakistan

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    Sustainable Development Goal-4 (SDG-4) aims to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. It further demands direct and continued focus on, and engagement with Out-of-School Children (OOSC) particularly from underprivileged communities, as children from the poorest households are up to four times more likely to be out-of-school. There is a serious lack of basic educational resources for these deprived children, let alone quality education, and global aims to educate every child are unlikely to be addressed through traditional means. With the current pace of industrial change, nine out of ten children are anticipated to reach their adulthood without needed workplace skills by 2030. If current underprivileged children are to catch-up with their counterparts in accessing equitable quality education, 100 years will first pass based on current developments in social justice.

    This paper presents a case-study of on-ground socio-economic limitations and practices of families of OOSC living in remote and rural areas in Pakistan. The data is collected through formal interviews with the parents of these children, field visits and informal discussions with these families during the survey process – highlighting the needs, interests and voices of these children.
    Pakistan has the largest population in the world of out-of-school children, adolescents, and youth of primary and secondary school age, and most of them live below the poverty line in lowsocioeconomic rural and remote areas. They are also vulnerable for being left out in traditional demographical calculations as many of these families are not even registered in the national database. In presenting an analysis of candidate solutions, we scrutinise the impact of education technology initiatives and the actual impact of these ‘imported solutions’ to overcome the problem of OOSC accessing quality education. COVID-19 has magnified the problems we set out to investigate; it also accentuates the need for real-world global test grounds for technology-assisted learning solutions and provides a snapshot of practical efficacy of these education technology platforms for underprivileged children of the world. During this global pandemic, most schoolgoing children from low-socio-economic communities in Pakistan are also now adrift from formal learning because no education technology solution is available for these communities. In proposing a solution, we place an emphasis on mixing an education that is inclusive, innovative and adaptable, suited to their socio-economic, technological and cultural circumstances. This ‘solution’ combines digital home-schooling and one-room schoolhouses, and in doing so provides for sustainable and continued development.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationProceedings From ICSD 2020
    PublisherInternational Conference on Sustainable Development
    Number of pages16
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020
    EventInternational Conference on Sustainable Development - Online
    Duration: 21 Sept 202022 Sept 2020
    Conference number: 8


    ConferenceInternational Conference on Sustainable Development
    Abbreviated titleICSD 2020
    Internet address


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