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Old Tuesday, October 14, 2014
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Default Education System In Pakistan

Education is the light of the life. Education proves to one of the most important factors for the development of human civilization. It is a systematic process of establishing the pillar of society.
Education is the power that drags a person from darkness of illiteracy into the light of knowingness. It attributes most important, precious and permanent property of an individual. Education provides manpower, strengthens national unity and uplifts public awareness. It invites positive and constructive change in life. It makes our life really prosperous and meaningful.
The education is the only weapon by which one can fight and win the battle of life. The education has been a very essential part of the different civilizations of the world in historical perspectives. In olden times, cave men had no ideas regarding communicating themselves with one another; the first step was taken in this regard was the formation of language, and it had become the very inceptive source of communication in the earliest history of mankind. They came to know that they had already been bestowed upon a tongue as a source of communication by the Allah Almighty, and now, it was their emphatic job to be civilized and moral etiquettes were required to be shaped.
Education is the third eye of a man, because by getting education man can know himself and his spiritual relation to the Allah Almighty. Many times the importance of education has been ordained in the Holy Quran and the Hadiths of the Holy Prophet (PBUH). The Holy Quran Ordains, “It is the duty of every Muslim man and woman to get education.” The very personality of Holy Prophet (PBUH) is a source of inspiration for the Muslims, ordained in Hadith, “Get Education even if you have to go to China”, he further ordained “The best gift from parents to their children is the best education” and “Get knowledge of religion.”
Education has been accorded great importance in every religion and society. Islam also attached utmost importance to it. Muslims ushered an era of glory only with education but when they renounced it, they fell into the depths of despondency and dejection. The West, today, dominates the world only because it realized education's vitality to development. Article 26 of the UN's 'Universal Declaration of Human Rights' reads: “Everyone has the right to education”. It is the second objective in UN's Millennium Development Goals (UNMDGs) which requires education for all (EFA) by year 2015. The World Bank also underscores “the positive outcomes of education” as “reduction in poverty and inequality, improvement in health status and implementation of socioeconomic policies.”
Since then, the world has witnessed the outflow of knowledge that has crossed the boundaries of the different regions and made a world like a global village in recent times, all it was done by the untiring efforts of mankind that has been imparting valuable contributions in different walks of life especially ‘EDUCATION’.
The Muslims of India, of course, were backward in education and less skilled than their Hindu counterparts. The Muslims could not follow the way that was directed by the English and the Hindus to them, as it was against their religion (Islam). The poor type of education made the Muslims unable to get good jobs in English offices; hence, they remained out of offices and were continuously depoliticized for according to the double yoke of the British rule and Hindu domination the Muslims had the scarcity of consciousness and less skilled so they could not participate in public affairs of the country.
Sir Syed Ahmed was the first man to realize this unbalance provision of rights that were given to the Muslims and he served to champion the cause of improving the standard of education. In 1875, a Primary School was established at Ghazipur, (India) by Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, later a High School was established at Aligarh by the same mighty man. But throughout India, Muslims were denigrated and the basic needs of life were denied to them by the English government. Keeping this in view, Sir Syed Ahmed Khan aimed at to open a college for the Muslims of India so that they may be able to get the best in higher education. In 1876, Mohammadan Anglo College was established at Aligarh as to meet the demand of education of the Muslims of India. In 1919, the colleges was upgraded up to a university level and renamed as ‘Aligarh University’. The university produced thousands of graduates who spread throughout India and thus, spread of education among the suppressed class of the Muslims of India commenced to prevail.

Education plays a vital role in the progress of any nation and is responsible for its advancement towards success. Therefore founder of Pakistan Quiad-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah laid great stress on acquiring education. He once said while addressing the students: “Without education it is complete darkness and with education it is light. Education is a matter of life and death to our nation. The world is moving so fast that if you do not educate yourselves you will be not only completely left behind, but will be finished up. The Holy Prophet (PBUH) had enjoined his followers to go even to China in the pursuit of knowledge. If that was the commandment in those days when communications were difficult, then, truly, Muslims as the true followers of the glorious heritage of Islam, should surely utilize all available opportunities. No sacrifice of time or personal comfort should be regarded too great for the advancement of the cause of education.”
The education system of Pakistan is one is the least-developed in the world. Until 1947, the educational system was based on the British colonial educational system. In 1947, Pakistan gained independence resulting from the partition of the Indian subcontinent into the states of India and Pakistan. The colonial system was selective. It was meant to educate a small section of the population to run the government. Regardless of the changes since independence, the Pakistani education system has kept its colonial system, to prevent the loss of illiteracy.
Education around the globe is considered as the defining feature of economic and social development. Education is aimed at to develop human capabilities through knowledge, skills and creative strength that, in turn, enhance the socioeconomic growth. But ironically, in the present-day Pakistan, even the importance of education has not been recognized. Given the multifarious importance and diverse role of education in building a stable society, it becomes imperative that in Pakistan, the provision of education is ensured urgently and its uplift is sought through prudent policies with a pragmatic approach. Pakistan on the supply side has clearly lagged behind in provision of adequate educational resources and consequently on the demand side has failed in creating a clear demand for education. However, it is important to realize that the problems which hinder the provision of education are not just of mismanagement by government but some of them are deeply rooted in the social and cultural orientation of the people. The education system of Pakistan is still in its nascent stage due to lack of importance given by the government. Education has not been the priority of any government in any era since the inception of our country that is we are lagging behind many countries in the field of education.
Numerous international assessments could explore that Pakistan is lagging behind many countries in achieving the Education for All goal (EFA). We were the signatory to the treaty under Dakar Framework where it was decided by all the developing countries that they will be trying to achieve the target of EFI in the meeting held in Senegal in 2000. UNESCO rates in Pakistan are at a lower EFA development Index (EDI) because of low; enrolment at primary school, adult literacy, gender equity and equality, equalities in education and quality of education. As of 2012 Pakistan has achieved 58% literacy rate. The women literacy is much more belittling as thirty three percent of the adult women cannot even read. The more embracing would be that we would not be catching the target to achieve the adult literacy by 2015. Progress towards the achievement of the targets is exceptionally slow, while gender parity goal is at risk of not being achieved by 2015. Moreover, more than 6 million children are out of school.
In Human development Report, Pakistan is placed at 136th position because its 49.9% population comes under the definition of education. The dropout rate is alarmingly high at the primary level; consequently, it is revealed by the Data Center of UNESCO, that 33.8% females and 47.18% in males could pass through the most initial level of education. We may be conclusive about the ground reality that people in the 6th largest country of the world have no access to the basic education even.
Education system in Pakistan is really having a bad configuration at the moment. Education is found to be the cheapest and tangible defense mechanism for a nation on the social, political, and economic fronts. But the down trodden condition of education in Pakistan bears an ample testimony of the fact that it is unable to defend its own sector. Over the span of 64 years, the nation has been given the 23 policies and action plans but we could not start the march towards success and are waiting for a savior who could take the system out of turmoil. Currently the economic situation in Pakistan is under severe stress and education sector has received the highest impact in Pakistan. The Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan has led to the fact in the following words, “The state of Pakistan shall remove illiteracy and provide free and compulsory secondary education within minimum possible period.”
All know very well that resources regarding education are not enough in Pakistan but the problem is that we are not taking benefits of available resources in other words resources are not being utilized properly due to lack of unskilled, dishonest and less educated administration. The education in Pakistan has been distributed into different levels. There are five education levels are operating in Pakistan, primary, middle, high schooling, intermediate and university education. Unfortunately, the policy maker of education has been determined and focused only on higher education. Through such policy, an independent body of Higher Education Commission (HEC) was established to look after overall universities education through code of conduct and various allocations of budgeting the universities including foreign scholarships in various programs.
To improve the quality of higher education, primary education has been ignored since the independence of Pakistan. Although the primary level of education do have a founding role of developing the nation in every walk of life. Some Asian and almost every Western developed countries hold the reign of education and developed their economies from the utilization of modern education. In contrast, country like Pakistan’s education witnesses of dilapidated condition by terms of structural and management problems. There are 154000 primary schools with 420000 teachers do exist in both the urban and rural areas of Pakistan. Majority of them are two or three classes of school buildings where nursery to five class education is given. One can assume the running of such schools in squeezed class. Result as, a bulk of incompetent students are being produced for upcoming level of education. One side the education condition is like that and on other side the schools without teachers, having no furniture, schools are being used as guest house by landlords are other factors to mark the quality of education.
The frequently used indicators for assessing education and its systems are adult literacy rates, male and female enrollment at different levels of education, participation rate in the different areas of the country; the dropout rates, the amount of resources allocated to education as a proportion of the GDP and some measures of the quality of education being pursued. At the moment, the workability of these indicators rests on the footing of authenticated and recent data so that the planning details may be worked out with confidence. Irony of fate, the indicators, their footings and the quality of data all want more authenticity, but unfortunately, Pakistan's record lacks objectivity and rationality on all counts.
Firstly, the education system of Pakistan is based on unequal lines. Medium of education is different in both, public and private sector. This create a sort of disparity among people, dividing them into many segments. Such a distraught infrastructure is a basic cause of high illiteracy rate in Pakistan and high dropout rates in rural areas and public school. The students from the elite class follow the "O" and "A" levels curriculum instead of Pakistan's routine orthodox and stagnant curriculum. They have little or no awareness of their religion and culture whereas those passing out from Urdu medium schools are usually destined to work in clerical and lower level positions. Religious madrassas churn out yet another class that is usually unaware of the world outside their own perception.
We took a long period in deciding that what our medium of instruction would be, till now we don’t have a clear picture before us. It is good to have the National language as the medium of communication provided; we have a rich treasure of knowledge. In our case, we do not fail to develop Urdu to cope with the intellectual needs nor do we translate the treasure of knowledge available for our national use.
Secondly, regional disparity is also a major cause. The schools in Balochistan (the largest province of Pakistan by Area) are not that much groomed as that of Punjab (the largest province Of Pakistan by Population). In FATA, the literacy rate is deplorable constituting 29.5% in males and 3% in females.
The third major cause of flawed education system in Pakistan is gender discrimination. The current primary school ratio of boys and girls is 10:4, which is a cause of a big concern. It is believed that Pakistan is among the most prominent states affected by gender discrimination. That not only harms the quality of education in Pakistan but create a gap among haves and have nots. Rural-urban divide, another serious concern, is caused mainly due to economic disparity and condition of schools. People living in rural areas are relatively poor and standard of education in those areas is also unsatisfactory. There are marked male-female, inter-regional and rural-urban disparities: Only 22 percent of girls, compared to 47 percent boys, complete primary schooling. Female literacy in rural Baluchistan is only 32 percent compared to high urban male literacy rates (and 80 percent among the urban male in Sindh). Dr Shahid Javed Burki says “They assume that opportunity cost of sending children to school is greater than the benefit education is likely to bring”.
Part of the problem is the lack of emphasis on vocational and technical training and too much stress on abstract knowledge. In Pakistan, about 323,000 students pass the matriculation exam yearly. Out of these students is estimated that over half will choose post-secondary education and only 20% will seek vocational training or business education. Of those who choose the path to higher education, the majority enter the general bachelor’s and master’s degree programs with little to no career counseling. Even though higher academic education is easy to obtain in Pakistan, the education does not teach skills that will be marketable in the job market after graduation, thus creating a mismatch between the degrees students earn and the jobs available to them, especially in the private sector.
Fifthly, the allocation of funds for education are very low. Comparatively, the education budget of Pakistan in terms of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is less than the regional countries. The current education budget of Pakistanis just 2.5 % of GDP while Nepal 2.7%, Srilanka 3.2%, India 3.5% and Bangladesh is 3.5%. The low education budget shows the negligence of education. Remember, 95 per cent of education budget is incurred on salaries and maintenance. It should be around 7% of the total GDP. At that budget allocation, the illiteracy rate in Pakistan would not decrease but rather increase. The federal and provincial governments need to cut down their expenditures in other areas and spend a bigger proportion of income on education.
In spite of allocation, the amount is not spent for what it was meant for as the corruption is found in all the levels of education. Corruption causes the educational policies, plans and projects to fail because of being the major contributing factor. There is no accountability and transparency in the system, the salaries are low, the incentives are too less to be accounted and even those are uneven.
Poverty is also another factor that restrict the parents to send their children to public or private schools. So, they prefer to send their children to Madrassas where education is totally free. The government has to make changes to financial infrastructure to improve the situation. Bank loans for education purposes should not be interest based as it discourages the people of Pakistan to acquire loans. Education loans are offered at low rates throughout the world and it enable people to acquire quality education.
Moreover, Government fails to attract the potential candidates for teaching with the zeal vigor and excellent carrier. Teaching is rated as the lowest among the jobs for the youth, because of lesser incentives, slow promotions and lesser fringe benefits. The teachers in government schools are not well groomed and equipped with knowledge and training. People who do not get job in any other sector, they try their luck in educational system. There is a need to reorganize pre-service and in-service trainings making them matched with the requirements rather to keep them ideal, unique and novel.
In addition, public and private sector divide is also there. Most people cannot seek education in private institutions due to high fees and other expenses. These institutions have their own curriculum and examination system. This further widens the class divide in society; the rich become highly-educated while the poor remain poorly educated. To bridge this gap, there is neither policy to ensure a uniform system nor regulations to check the fee structure of private schools.
Private Schools in Pakistan enroll more students than in other countries of the region. They least bother about the capacity and facilities available, they rather over burden the teaching staff. Education has been pursued by some of the people as an industry. The rapid mushroom growth of private schools and academies of teaching reflect the people's lack of trust in the public sector schools coupled with a deficiency of sufficient educational institutions to cater to the needs of the fast growing population. However, there are certain private schools where the quality education is offered, heavy fees is charged that continues to be a problem. These private sectors schools are meant only for a special section of the population and are out of the reach of general masses.
Teachers’ absenteeism, poor professional training, sub-standard materials and obsolete teaching methods act as the major contributive factors towards the low enrolment in schools. Burki (2005), opines that most of the public schools are either mismanaged or poorly managed. They are found imparting education of second-rate quality through substandard textbooks and curricula that do not cater the needs of the 21st century. These system flaws undermine the competence level of the students. This factor, in fact, helps students gain a foothold in market. But an average Pakistani student is unable to compete in the job market even of the national level, let alone the international competition. How ironic is that not a single Pakistani university is among the World's top universities. The education should be based on learning outcomes through suggesting multiple books rather than following a single book as an obligation.
Repetition system is very common easy teaching material based on some pages .Teachers prepare their students for this selective teaching material and they qualify their exams. In fact teachers are offering a vital role for the promotion of ratta system they give some guess papers to the student and give advice to prepare this material. Students become habitual and not show their creativity. They recall some specific question and get success as his degree has no importance just an ordinary useless piece of paper, but in other countries situation is totally different, which is basically a research task.
There is a need to continuously update the curriculum because if it goes stale, it does not equip the beneficiaries with the saleable skills and expertise. At the first place, the problems cited have arisen due to lack of commitment and inefficient management on the part of state. The policies lack long term vision and its implementation strategies are being affected by undue political interference of Feudal lords. They denounce education to ensure cheap labor in their fields and to maintain their political base. In addition to it, the measures taken are not evidence based and geared by the vested interests of the authorities. Whatever strategies have been applied failed to promote the rational and critical thinking skills amongst the students.
In the sphere of higher education, unfortunately, only 3.7 per cent of Pakistani youth of 18-23 age group is enrolled. This is very low as compared to other developing countries as Malaysia has 12% while India has 7%. Although due to scholarship programs, the situation has improved, still there is paucity of trained faculty and laboratories. Only 25% of university teachers are PhDs and only 20 per cent of them are active researchers. Government is ought to give special treatment to this sector but ironically, it not only curtailed the funding of HEC but also attempted to disband it. It may cause the positive enrolment trend to revert and that would be a lethal blow to human resource development as it is crucial to translate the dream of knowledge economy into reality.
In addition we find lack of resource commitment and realistic implementation alongside poor allocated resource utilization. As relevant statistics are not available, implementation of the education policy has not been successfully executed.
The policy formulating, planning and implementing bodies work in isolation as the water tight compartments. The government's consultation is very much restricted and does not go beyond its specific quarters. It should have to be extended to non-state sectors to initiate and mobilize the action. Teachers does not normally form the part of policy making process, hence the process of sharing and consultation remains missing. It leads to implementation of educational policies without consultation, thus the efforts go in vain (UNESCO, 2007).
Over the span of time, what we have learnt is to go for dialogue, and keeping the private and public sector on board. The matter of access to education and challenges to quality remain at stake as being unresolved despite much policy deliberation.
The Ministry of Education has developed a number of policy documents including that of National Education policy but the endeavors remain focused on paper work more rather than the operationalization, though the involvement of NGOs and international development agencies is very much there. The simple reason is that the plans are vicious and not the ground reality based. The policies should be environment friendly.
It's a universal fact that the education develops 'thinking of man' but in our society its failure has led to the widespread discontent and chaos. World has genuine concerns that poorly-educated people pose serious threat not only to Pakistan but also to world security. Former VP of the World Bank and a renowned economist Shahid Javed Barki writes:
“The education system of Pakistan is deteriorated to the point where it now threatens economic, political and social stability not only within the country but also poses a real danger for the world at large.”
Keeping in view the multifaceted role, education has to be the top priority. Our education system requires an overhaul and in addition to additional resources, there is an urgent need to redesign educational system for promoting productivity in socioeconomic sector. Following are some recommendations that provide a pragmatic roadmap to reform the education sector in Pakistan.
Primary education must be made compulsory. The textbooks and uniforms should be provided free of cost to the indigent children and rewards may be offered to them on passing examinations. Usher, Zakat and Benazir Income Support Program (BISP) should also be linked with enrolment of child in school.
Efforts should be made to bring down the student-teacher ratio to 15:1 in lieu of current 40:1. Consequently, the number of teachers will have to be enhanced, leading to the rise in number of teachers and enabling the competent persons to be inducted to the system of education.
Technical education should be encouraged. Introductory technical subjects should be taught at the middle level to enhance awareness and encourage interest of students. The network of polytechnic colleges should be expanded to cover the remote areas as well.
The 19th century was of steam and coal, 20th was of electricity and the 21st is of information technology (IT). Therefore, due importance should be given to IT. Computers with trainers should be made available in secondary schools.
Government must develop a uniform curriculum to eliminate the multi-tier system of education that furthers the class divide. It should enable the child to compete at national and international levels. The curriculum of private schools may be adopted with little modifications. It would be convenient as the private schools will be less resistant to such change.
Education must be relevant and responsive to national environment, culture, society and economy. The social and religious values must be embedded in the children to make them good citizens. The education should conform not only to the local industry but also to international market.
The dilemma here in Pakistan is that students are genius but they use their intelligence in negative way, hence, contributing nothing towards the development of country. Another problem with Pakistan is brain drain. Capable and outstanding professionals prefer foreign jobs instead of serving in their own country. This is due to the low financial benefits and indifferent attitude of government towards them. Recently Government should provide them facilities and special financial packages to encourage them to stay in their own country.
The importance of teachers in education need not be overemphasized. The remuneration and incentives for teachers should be increased to attract the intellectual and competent persons. In-service teachers should be required to qualify some exams to go into the next pay scale. A qualified and motivated teacher also needs training and grooming. Therefore, the capacity of training institutes should be enhanced with expert trainers. A well thought-out syllabus and policy should be formulated containing modern teaching techniques.
Higher education deserves serious attention in this regard. Steps should be taken to attract youth to higher education. The investment in this sector should be increased to meet the demands of universities. An effective reform of the higher education system in Pakistan requires a down to up approach; without the improvement of colleges, it is out of question to improve the quality of university graduates. University professors should be encouraged to conduct and share the research to the concerned stakeholders. They should also be asked to translate the foreign research into local languages for sharing it with the lower formations of education enabling them to implement/take benefit out of it.
Students should be offered more scholarships and government should support the intelligent and outstanding students to prosper, develop and serve their local community rather than migrating to the big cities.
A uniform and sound system of national testing should be promoted. The National Education Assessment System (NEAS) should be entrusted with more such tasks. A federal council to ensure uniformity in all the universities' examinations can be another prudent step.
Importance of private sector cannot be undermined as it has saved Pakistan's education system from complete collapse. It's difficult for government to uplift the education sector single-handedly, so the private sector should be encouraged to invest more. The establishment of private education foundations on non-profit basis may be a good option. The private schools should be made to give admissions to poor students
In the view of importance of education, the Government should take solid steps towards implementation instead of projecting policies. In this regard, the allocations should be made easy and timely from provinces to districts and then to educational institutes. Workshops must be arranged for teachers as a continuous feature for learning.
It is beyond doubt that strong political leadership and a legitimized political system will be necessary for the success of such reforms. This brings us to Pakistan’s fourth biggest hurdle: political efficacy. The first step in political reforms for Pakistan is the eradication of corruption in all areas of the country from the politicians to the judiciary, from the armed forces to the bureaucracy. Corruption must be eliminated through increased transparency and accountability. Political reforms in Pakistan also must bring with them judicial sweeps. Laws must be clearly defined and vaguely worded regulations must be amended.
Education serves as the backbone for the development of nations. The countries with the effective impressive need oriented, saleable and effective system of education comes out to be the leaders of the world, both socially and economically. It is only education which can turn a burden of population into productive human resource. Pakistan's current state demands that the allocations for education be doubled to meet the challenges of EFI, gender disparity and provision of teachers in the work places earlier than 2018 as per stipulated qualifications. Millennium Development Goals are yet to be realized latest by 2015.
The challenges before Pakistan in the 21st century may seem overbearing. Poverty, illiteracy, corruption and economic demise are all battles that must be fought and won. I am without a doubt that Pakistan can overcome these obstacles and become a great nation, for I am reminded of the words of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founding father of Pakistan, who once remarked “Failure is a word unknown to me.”
All constraints in education system in Pakistan require sincere efforts to resolve administrative and management problems by the effectiveness of the government of Pakistan. Pakistan experiences a country of religious intolerance and much more multi-crisis land. War on terror since 2001; have revealed the administrative flaws in the administrative machinery of Pakistan. It is time that the current Government of Pakistan must tackle education problem because illiteracy is even threat to democracy.
Nelson Mandela said; if you want to change the World, remember education is the only way to change the World.
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