A round table conference titled Access to Education – Reflections from Practitioners was organised by Kashf Foundation at a local hotel in Lahore. The objective of the conference was to discuss the dire education emergency in Pakistan and to hear from various specialists who are actively working to address this growing concern. Pakistan has the third highest out of school population in the world with five million children failing to enroll. Despite the increase in access to education, nearly half of Pakistani children drop out of school before the age of 16. Currently, some 25 million children or one of three have not completed primary education. Girls drop out at twice the rate of boys, lowering female literacy rates in some areas to a mere 8%, said the experts on Education sector. The panel showcased some of the most significant organisations from both the development and government sectors that are actively engaged in improving the systematic digressions that act as roadblocks for our youth in obtaining quality education. The Vice President of The Citizen’s Foundation Riaz Kamlani, Executive Director of The Pakistan Alliance for Girls Education Fajer Rabia, Senior Program Manager of Idara Taleem o Agahi Sehar Saeed, Program Director of The Punjab Education Sector Reforms Program Ahmed Rajwana and Managing Director of Kashf Foundation Roshaneh Zafar were present as panellists. The panel was moderated by the renowned writer, theatre director and activist Omair Rana. A short feature film emphasising the need of education titled ‘A for Apple’ was also shown during the conference. The film directed by Sarah Aminuddin followed the themes of classism and gender bias with regards to education in our society. This was followed by a panel discussion on improving the access to and quality of education for our youth.A short feature film emphasising the need of education titled ‘A for Apple’ was also shown during the conference. The film directed by Sarah Aminuddin followed the themes of classism and gender bias with regards to education in our society. This was followed by a panel discussion on improving the access to and quality of education for our youthThe Managing Director of Kashf Foundation Roshaneh Zafar said on the occasion that it is very important to focus on good parenting training and therefore the Kashf always emphasized on it. She was of the view that those children are more vulnerable to sexual abuse who have faced corporal punishment in their childhood because they have low self-esteem and therefore cannot resist much. The Program Director of Punjab Education Sector Reforms Program Ahmed Rajwana said that they are designing a special program for the out-of-School children of the Punjab while having focus on the teacher training as well. “It is wrong impression that the human resource is not up to the mark in public sector. We should also look at good human resource in public sector instead of looking towards the building and infrastructure of school,” he said. The session also presented the practitioner’s perspective on the programs being run by their organizations to address education disparities and issues. The panellists shed light upon the key success factors and challenges for each program, and the models better suited to increasing the enrolment rate of females in schools, and ensuring that they stay for the required periods of time to at least earn a high school diploma. Coupled with this, the panel engaged in discussions regarding experiences relevant to their organisations in Pakistan, while looking at ways to scale up access to quality education across the board.