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ISLAMABAD: The World Bank (WB) has categorised the PTI-led Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on top among all four federating units of Pakistan for making progress in different areas of human development.

“Pakistan’s provinces have experienced very different levels of progress in human development over the last decade. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa seems to have made the most progress in a number of areas,” the WB’s report titled “Pakistan Development Update” states.

According to the WB, the gross primary enrolment rate in the KP increased three percentage points between 2010 and 2015, in a period when other provinces were deteriorating.  The child immunisation rate in KP increased from 40 percent in 2005 to 53 percent in 2013 and 58 percent in 2015, the largest increase of all provinces over that time period. 

Sindh, on the other hand, appears to be flat-lining across the same indicators. Child immunisation was lower in 2015 than it was in 2005 (45 and 46 percent respectively) and the gross primary enrolment rate also fell from 82 percent in 2010 to 79 percent in 2015.

Stunting in Sindh also remains very high. Sindh continues to face large differences in urban and rural outcomes, which are most stark in water and sanitation where only 31 percent of rural households have a flushing toilet compared with 97 percent of urban households. Only 23 percent of Sindh schools are equipped with basic facilities compared with 93 percent in Punjab, 44 percent in KP and 26 percent in Balochistan. 

Punjab has had mixed success while Balochistan has struggled. The data suggests that Punjab is also stagnant in some of the social outcomes over recent years.  Its improvement falls between Sindh and KP, having made steady progress on child malnutrition (particularly stunting), as well as child immunisation and rural sanitation while making little or no progress on enrolment rates and the quality of learning outcomes. 

Balochistan has struggled to increase its particularly poor outcomes, seeing deterioration in learning outcomes (only 33 percent of year 5 children could read a story in 2014) and child immunisation. Gender equality is improving somewhat – from a low base – in education and the workforce progress on women’s empowerment is also mixed. While gender inequalities persist, women are slowly participating more in education and work. Female labour force participation is slowly increasing, albeit from a low base (from 19.3 percent in 2005 to 24.8 percent in 2014) and more girls are completing lower secondary.

The ratio of female to male literacy is steadily improving, with seven literate women for every 10 literate men in 2015. This ratio differs wildly across provinces, however, with Balochistan exhibiting only four literate women for every 10 literate men.

Population growth is a key challenge for service delivery. Looking forward, population growth presents a key challenge for all areas of human development. Systems are not expanding quickly enough to increase access and coverage to Pakistan’s fast-growing population. Service delivery strategies will need to take a long-term view if services are to capture a greater share of a growing population while also improving quality, the report concluded.



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