Challenges Associated with Primary Education in Rural Punjab, Pakistan
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Pakistan, a country with more than 60 percent rural population, has been in problems since it was born in 1947. Military governments, wars between India and Pakistan, separation of East Pakistan into Bangladesh, political upheavals, corruption, and international sanctions have put the state performance to worst to meet the challenges of national development. Education has been a major challenge especially in rural areas that are culturally rich and rigid and where it has always been ignored as compared to urban areas. Though being a signatory to many international agreements on right to education, significant efforts have been made in near past on the provision of education, especially in rural areas but still more than 50 percent schools are without basic facilities. On the other hand, the schools that have at least minimum facilities available, the quality of education and education system in too poor to meet the ‘whole child development’ goals. This study looked at the challenges associated with primary education in rural areas of the Punjab province that contains more than 60 percent of the total population of the country with more than 50 percent school going children. Exploring the parents, teachers’ perceptions about education, performance of public and private education sector, children daily life and integration of informal and formal education, this study disclosed the challenges other than quantitative challenges in rights-based education provision. The study is mainly consisting of qualitative approach for data collection, and partially quantitative analysis to support qualitative study of the topic. Observation, interviews with parents, teachers and school-owners and children questionnaires was the major source of data collection. On a small-scale essay/paragraph writing as children friendly method was also used but it was limited to only 10 children because of shortage of time and children inability to write comfortably. With a total of 128 individuals involved in the research, of whom 86 percent were children and 60 percent were female, the study explores important challenges associated with education in rural areas of the Punjab.