October 31, 2007: In Pakistan, it is estimated that only 57 percent of girls and women can read and write and in rural areas only 22 percent of girls have completed primary level schooling as compared to 47 percent of boys. In 2003, the Punjab government with assistance from the World Bank implemented the “Girls' Stipend Program” which provided cash stipend of Rs. 200 to families to ensure their daughters attend school.
Girls’ enrollment in grades 6-8 in government elementary schools has increased by 40 percent. As a result, girls’ share of total public sector enrollments has increased from 43 percent to 46 percent, narrowing the gender gap. Sector governance has improved through robust monitoring, independent validations, and improvement in financial management.
“Girls are less able than boys to take public transportation or walk to school in Pakistan’s social context, and the cost of private transport – roughly equivalent to the 200 Rupees stipend - was the binding constraint for poor families” said Khalid Gillani, Secretary of Education in Punjab Province.
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