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Despite challenges, the Haripur district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa topped the rankings with the best education score from all the districts of the country.
However, the Malakand district secured the highest scores for middle schools with infrastructure and facilities, with the province leading the rankings.
This was announced in the fifth annual District Education Rankings by the Alif Ailaan education campaign. The rankings were launched in Islamabad on Thursday.
The rankings use official government data from across the country, along with data from the State of Education (ASER) survey, to assess the performance of districts in education.
An elated, the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Minister for Elementary and Secondary Education Muhammad Atif Khan said that their government is concentrating on taking education in the province further ahead, particularly for yardsticks such as quality education and gender parity.
K-P sat atop the latest rankings followed by Punjab and the Islamabad Capital Territory in the infrastructure category for primary schools.
The report noted that among the top-ten-performing districts — in terms of electricity availability in Pakistan — eight are from K-P.
Among top districts with the highest score for drinking water availability in schools, five are from K-P.
Among the top ten districts for toilet availability in schools in Pakistan, six are from K-P. Of top districts where schools have boundary walls, six are from K-P, the report noted.
Overall, Haripur was ranked as the best district with the highest education score. From middle schools with infrastructure facilities, Malakand was top in Pakistan followed by Swabi in K-P.
While addressing the launching ceremony, Atif reiterated that the provincial government had completely eradicated political interference in education such as posting and transfer of teachers, provision of facilities in institutions.
“The basic problem in education was political interference and governance and once the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government addressed that seriously, the result is visible in the report,” he said.
Moreover, the introduction of the biometric system had helped eradicate absenteeism of teachers. Hundreds of teachers who were found truant from their duties were punished, while hard-working, committed and performing teachers were regularly rewarded.
On the other hand, the minister said that the recruitment of teachers has been made apolitical by employing a selection process involving the National Testing Service (NTS).
With regard to bridging gender disparity in the province — which suffers a gross imbalance — he said that 70 per cent of new schools being built were for girls. Moreover, stipends and scholarships are advanced on a regular basis to girls living in far-flung and under-developed areas of the province or in areas where the gap between boys and girls was wide.
The minister added that even principals of girls’ schools in remote areas are given special allowances so that they can concentrate on female education.
The government has also focused on training teachers.
According to the 2017 rankings report, certain parts of K-P and Punjab have made marked improvements in school infrastructure.
Similarly, Gilgit-Baltistan, Azad Jammu and Kashmir, and the ICT have also shown some progress across all indicators.