EU must encourage the promotion of girls’ education in Pakistan

Brussels – As a beneficiary of GSP+, Pakistan is required to remove the barriers preventing girls from accessing education, and the EU must hold it to account, writes Marlene Mizzi. 

In the EU, children’s rights and access to education are taken for granted. Barring extreme circumstances, every child has access to affordable primary, secondary and often post-secondary education. UNESCO does not even report on the literary rates of EU countries, seemingly because it would show near 100 per cent. Unfortunately, this is not the case globally.

In 2016, the World Bank estimated that over 250 million children worldwide are illiterate, despite the fact that education is listed as one of the best ways of reducing poverty. Countries in south Asia have demonstrated particular challenges, especially when it comes to equal access for girls and boys.

Across south Asia, there has been a net increase in enrolment in primary education, from 75 per cent in 2000 to 89 per cent in 2010. However, an increase in net enrolment does not mean that the children are actually attending school. Nor is there a guarantee that they will continue their education until they graduate, especially when there are social, economic and political barriers to attending school.

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