Education is essential aspect of human development. It develops cognitive skills and enhances the productivity and innovation of a country's population.

Since 2010, the provision of free and compulsory quality education to children aged 5 to 16 has become required in the Constitution of Pakistan and expansion of education opportunities has been embraced in the country's national long-term strategy.

Even though overall school enrollment and educational attainment have improved countrywide over the last two decades, Pakistan still faces grave challenges in providing high-quality and adequate education to eligible children.

Almost 23 million, or 44% of children between the ages of 5 and 16, are out of school. The percentage of outof-school children is significantly higher in rural versus urban areas.

Stark disparities exist in access to school and quality of education across the country. In 2019, Pakistan had a gross primary education enrollment rate of 95.4%. However, only 70% of the children entering primary school were estimated to reach Grade 5.

A version of this article appears in the print on May 17, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.