Increase in universities imperative for KP to combat poverty, illiteracy.

PESHAWAR -- Besides other socioeconomic factors, rapid population growth has also exerted extraordinary pressure on government colleges and universities in the country, including Khyber Pakthunkhwa, where many students were deprived of admissions due to the limited number of seats.

As the country's population swelled to record 233.257 million this year, there was a need to increase public sector universities and colleges as around 218 public sector universities, including 33 in Khyber Pakthunkhwa with 35.53milllion population, were currently operating to accommodate youth representing 64 percent of Pakistan's total population.

The spokesman of Khyber Pakthunkhwa's Education Management Information System (KPEMIS) told reporter that around 221,550 students apply for admission in colleges for intermediate every year in the province and their enrollment was a big challenge due to the limited number of seats, shortage of infrastructure and faculty members.

Citing Pakistan Economic Survey 2021-22 report, the spokesman said that only 4.5 million students were enrolled in secondary education (Grade 9-10), and 2.5 million in higher-secondary education (Grade 11-12) during 2020-21 in the country.

As many as only 14.4 million students were admitted in pre-primary education, 25.7 million in primary education (grades 1-5) and 8.3 million in middle education (Grade 6-8).

He said approximately 500,000 students were enrolled in technical and vocational education, 760,000 in degree-awarding colleges, and 1.96 million students in public sector universities in 2020-21.

He said lack of colleges and universities, poverty and socioeconomic imbalances had resulted in an increase in students drop out ratio in Khyber Pakthunkhwa where about 11.7 million children aged 5-16 years including one million in erstwhile Fata were out of education net.

"Many low grade students are unable to get admission in public sector colleges and universities after metric due to limited number of seats, resulting an increase in illiteracy and unemployment in the society," said former chairman Economics Department, University of Peshawar, Zalakat Malik while talking to reporter.

He said the population growth had adversely affected the quality of education and undermined merit. Zilakat Malik said the experience of the second shift, self-finance scheme and distance learning programs in public sector universities and colleges started by the PTI government in haste had badly failed.

He said...

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