NATIONAL EDUCATION POLICY
Ministry of Education
Government of Pakistan
The Ministry of Education acknowledges the work and input of all provincial and area
governments for development of the National Education Policy. In fact the document reflects the
commonalities culled from the advice and input of the governments of all the federating units as
well as members of civil society, Universities, experts of MoE & provincial/area Education
departments, education managers, specialists, academia, teachers, students, parents, and a host of
other stakeholders including line ministries, Higher Education Commission (HEC), National
Vocational and Technical Education Commission (NAVTEC), Institute for Educational
Development- Aga Khan University (IED-AKU), Academy of Educational Planning and
Management (AEPAM), Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PM&DC) and Pakistan
Engineering Council (PEC).
C O N T E N T S
CHAPTER 1 3
NATIONAL EDUCATION POLICY: OVERARCHING CHALLENGES&DEFICIENCIES:
THEIR CAUSES AND THEWAY FORWARD 3
1.1 Background 3
1.2 The Demographic Transition 3
1.3 Uniformity and Confidence in Public Education System 3
1.4 Globalization and Competitiveness 5
1.5 Social Exclusion and Social Cohesion 5
1.6 Setting Standards for Education 6
1.7 Dovetailing Government Initiatives 6
1.8 Leveraging International Development Partnerships 7
1.9 Major Deficiencies 7
1.10 Understanding System Deficiencies 7
1.10.1 The Commitment Gap 7
1.10.2 The Implementation Gap 8
1.11 The Way Forward: A Paradigm Shift 8
CHAPTER 2 9
FILLING THE COMMITMENT GAP: SYSTEM VALUES, PRIORITIES AND RESOURCES 9
2.1 Educational Vision and Performance 9
2.2 A Reaffirmation of Educational Vision 9
2.3 Aims and Objectives 10
2.4 Overarching Priorities: Widening Access and Raising Quality 11
2.5 Mobilising Resources for Education 13
CHAPTER 3 15
FILLING THE IMPLEMENTATION GAP: ENSURING GOOD GOVERNANCE 15
3.1 Developing a Whole-of-Sector View 15
3.2 Ensuring Policy Coherence 15
3.3 Overcoming Fragmented Governance 16
3.4 Bridging the Public-Private Divide 17
3.5 Overcoming Structural Divides 19
3.6 Building Management and Planning Capacity 21
3.7 Getting the Community Involved 22
CHAPTER 4 23
ISLAMIC EDUCATION 23
4.1 Islamic Education: Duty of the Society and the State 23
CHAPTER 5 27
BROADENING THE BASE AND ACHIEVING ACCESS 27
5.1 Early Childhood Education (ECE) 27
5.2 Elementary Education 28
5.3 Secondary and Higher Secondary Education 28
5.4 Literacy and Non-Formal Learning 30
5.5 Education in Emergencies 32
CHAPTER 6 33
RAISING THE QUALITY OF EDUCATION 33
6.1 Improving Teacher Quality 33
6.2 Curriculum Reform 35
6.3 Quality in Textbooks and Learning Materials 37
6.4 Improving Student Assessment 38
6.5 Attaining Standards in the Learning Environment 39
6.6 Co-Curricular and Extra-Curricular Activities 40
6.7 Matching with the Employment Market 41
CHAPTER 7 43
STRENGTHENING SKILL DEVELOPMENT AND INNOVATION 43
7.1 Technical Education and Vocational Training 43
7.2 Possible Strategies 45
CHAPTER 8 47
HIGHER EDUCATION 47
8.1 Challenges 47
8.2 Strategic Vision 48
CHAPTER 9 53
IMPLEMENTATION FRAMEWORK 53
9.1 Objective 53
9.2 Policy as a Living Adaptable Document 53
9.3 IPEM to Oversee Progress 54
9.4 Provincial Autonomy and Ownership 55
9.5 Role of Development Partners 55
ANNEX: I 57
THE STATE OF PAKISTAN’S EDUCATION 57
A. Access to Educational Opportunities 57
B. Equity in Education 58
B1. The Gender Dimension 58
B2. The Rural-Urban Divide 59
B3. Provincial and Area Disparities 59
C. Quality of Provision 60
D. The Resource Commitment 62
E. Structure of Education: Public-Private Provision 62
LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS AND ACRONYMS
AKU Aga Khan University MTDF Medium Term Development Framework
B. Ed. Bachelor of Education
National Vocational & Technical
B. Sc. Bachelor of Science
National Commission for Human
B. A. Bachelor of Arts
NEAS National Education Assessment System
Diploma in Education
NEC National Education Census
DEO District Education Officer NEF National Education Foundation
DPI Director of Public Instructions NEMIS
National Education Management
ECE Early Childhood Education NEP National Education Policy
EDO Executive District Officer NEPR National Education Policy Review
EFA Education for All NER Net Enrolment Ratio
Educational Management and
NFBE Non Formal Basic Education
EOY End of Year
NFE Non- Formal Education
Federally Administered Tribal
NQF National Qualifications Framework
Financial Management Information
NWFP North West Frontier Province
FTI Fast Track Initiative
Organization for Economic Cooperation
GCI Global Competitive Index P&P Policy and Planning (Wing)
GDP Gross Domestic Product PEACE Provincial Education Assessment Centre
GER Gross Enrolment Ratio PEC Pakistan Engineering Council
GMR Global Monitoring Report Ph. D. Doctor of Philosophy
GoP Government of Pakistan
Programme for International Student
GPI Gender Parity Index PM&DC Pakistan Medical and Dental Council
HDI Human Development Index PMIS
Personnel Management Information
HDR Human Development Report PPP Public Private Partnerships
HEC Higher Education Commission PTA Parent Teachers Association
PTR Pupil-Teacher Ratio
HRD Human Resource Development
R&D Research and Development
ICT Islamabad Capital Territory
SIP School Improvement Plan
SMC School Management Committee
Institute for Educational
Students, Teachers, Educationists, Parents
Trends in International Mathematics and
LGOs Local Government Ordinances
TVE Technical & Vocational Education
LSBE Life Skills-Based Education
UN United Nations
MDA Mid-Decade assessment
UNDP United Nations Development Program
MDGs Millennium Development Goals
United Nations Educational, Scientific and
MoE Ministry of Education UPE Universal Primary Education
Ministry of Social Welfare and
United States Agency for International
Minimum Standard of Provision WB World Bank
In 62 years of its existence, Pakistan’s achievements in education have been much below
potential and far behind the world around it. The low educational achievements have been a
source of worry for all concerned Pakistanis. Poor educational indicators mean that Pakistan’s
development progress remains slow. The present government shares the concerns of all Pakistanis
in this regard and the current policy document comes out as an important starting point laying out
a national agenda for educational development. All provincial Chief Ministers have endorsed this
document under the leadership of the Prime Minister of Pakistan.
Pakistan has produced a number of educational policies in the past and all have been
quality documents in their own right. The failure has always been in the commitment and
implementation. Resultantly, the current document “National Education Policy 2009” focuses on
governance as an issue and also calls for manifesting its commitment to education by investing
more on education. The implementation framework also elaborates a federal-inter-provincial
process that would involve the provinces as autonomous in development of implementation
strategies and plans. The Inter-provincial Education Ministers’ forum has been designated as the
oversight body for monitoring, again shifting the responsibility to all the federating units
Despite the new concepts in the document on implementation and governance, success
will depend on our commitment to the cause of education in Pakistan. There has to be a
realization that the country’s future depends on our ability to implement the current policy more
effectively than previous attempts. This will only be possible if the political will continues to be
high and can be backed by provision of resources to the sector.
I thank the Prime Minister of Pakistan for his strong commitment that has enabled this
document to appear as a consensus policy, agreed to by all the provincial and area governments. I
am also grateful to the provincial governments, especially all Chief Ministers, for their interest in
the document from its inception to its finalization. I hope that the commitment will continue to
sustain and help the vision in the document convert into actual improvement on ground for the
children of Pakistan.
Islamabad, the 22nd October, 2009
(Mir Hazar Khan Bijarani)
1. The National Education Policy (NEP) 2009 (“the Policy”) is the latest in a series of education
policies dating back to the very inception of the country in 1947. The review process for the National
Education Policy 1998-2010 was initiated in 2005 and the first public document, the White Paper, was
finalised in March 2007. The White Paper, as designed, became the basis for development of the Policy
document. Though four years have elapsed between beginning and finalisation of the exercise, the, lag
is due to a number of factors including the process of consultations adopted and significant political
changes that took place in the country.
2. Two main reasons prompted the Ministry of Education (MoE) to launch the review in 2005
well before the time horizon of the existing Policy (1998 - 2010)1 : firstly, the Policy did not produce
the desired educational results and performance remained deficient in several key aspects including
access, quality and equity of educational opportunities and, secondly, Pakistan’s new international
commitments to Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and Dakar Framework of Action for
Education for All (EFA). Also the challenges triggered by globalisation and nation’s quest for
becoming a knowledge society in the wake of compelling domestic pressures like devolution and
demographic transformations have necessitated a renewed commitment to proliferate quality education
3. This document is organized into nine chapters. Chapter 1 describes overarching challenges,
identifying two fundamental causes that lie behind the deficiencies in performance (the commitment
gap and the implementation gap), and outlines the way forward. Chapters 2 and 3 articulate the ways of
filling the Commitment Gap (system values, priorities and resources) and Implementation Gap
(Ensuring good governance) respectively. Chapter 4 puts forward the provisions of Islamic Education
and transformation of the society on Islamic human values. Chapters 5 to 8 outline reforms and policy
actions to be taken at the sub-sector levels. Chapter 9 broadly suggests a Framework for
Implementation of the Action Plan of this Policy document. Annex- I describes the current state of the
education sector. Available indicators have been assessed against data in comparable countries.
4. Most of the issues recognised in this document were also discussed in previous policy
documents. A new policy document on its own will not ameliorate the condition but all segments of
society will have to contribute in this endeavour. However, the document does recognise two deficits of
previous documents i.e. governance reform and an implementation roadmap, which if redressed, can
improve the performance of the present Policy.
5. The policy discusses issues of inter-tier responsibilities wherein the respective roles and
functions of the federal-provincial-district governments continue to be unclear. Confusion has been
compounded, especially, at the provincial-district levels after the ‘Devolution Plan’ mainly because the
latter was not supported by a clear articulation of strategies. The other issue identified for governance
reforms is the fragmentation of ministries, institutions etc. for management of various sub-sectors of
education and, at times, within each sub-sector. Problems of management and planning have also been
discussed and recommendations prepared.
6. This document includes a chapter that describes the implementation framework. The
framework recognises the centrality of the federating units in implementation of education policy
measures. The role of the Federal Ministry of Education will be that of a coordinator and facilitator so
as to ensure sectoral and geographic uniformity in achievement of educational goals nationally. A shift
National Education Policy: 1998-2010, Ministry of Education, Government of Pakistan, Islamabad, 1998.
2 National Education Policy 2009
has been made by making the National Education Policy a truly ‘national’ document and not a federal
recipe. For this, it has been recommended that Inter-Provincial Education Ministers’ Conference
(IPEMC), with representation of all federating units, will be the highest body to oversee progress of
education in the country. In this respect, the Federal-Provincial collaborative effort remains the key to
7. It has also been proposed to make the document a “dynamic document” that will “live” for an
indefinite period and be subjected to improvements whenever needed. IPEM will consider and approve
all such improvements which can be proposed by any of the federating units.
8. The purpose of the Policy is to chart out a national strategy for pursuing improvement in
education. Many of the policy actions outlined have already been initiated through reforms: most
notably in the domains of curriculum development, textbook/learning materials policy, provision of
missing facilities. A number of initiatives are already being implemented by the provincial and area
governments. The Policy takes account of these ongoing reforms and integrates them into its
recommendations. The Policy is also embedded within the Islamic ethos as enshrined in the
Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
9. The success of the Policy will depend on the national commitment to this cause. Already there
has been a marked improvement in this sector, as all provinces and areas, as well as the federal
government, have raised the priority of education. This will now have to be matched with availability of
resources and capacity enhancement for absorption of these resources to improve education outcomes
for the children of Pakistan. It is a long journey that has already begun. It is hoped that the policy
document will help give a clearer direction and help institutionalise the efforts within a national
-* - * - *-
Overarching Challenges & Deficiencies: Their Causes and the Way Forward 3
National Education Policy:
Overarching Challenges & Deficiencies: Their Causes and the Way Forward
10. Education is a vital investment for human and economic development and is influenced by the
environment within which it exists. Changes in technology, employment patterns and general global
environment require policy responses. Traditions, culture and faith combine to reflect upon the
education system. The element of continuity and change remains perpetual and it is up to the society to
determine its pace and direction.
11. Societal, political and governmental structures also determine and define the effectiveness of
the education system. An education policy cannot be prepared in isolation from these realities. An
education system needs to evolve with human society, and vice versa.
12. Cultural values of the majority of Pakistanis are derived from Islam. Since an education system
reflects and strengthens social, cultural and moral values, therefore, Pakistan’s educational
interventions need to be based on the core values of religion and faith.
13. The Policy recognizes the importance of Islamic values and adheres to the agreed principles in
this regard. All policy interventions shall fall within the parameters identified in the Principles of Policy
as laid down in Articles 29, 30, 31, 33, 36, 37 and 40 of the 1973 Constitution of Pakistan. These
include the need for developing Pakistani children as proud Pakistani citizens having strong faith in
religion and religious teachings as well as the cultural values and traditions of the Pakistani society.
1.2 THE DEMOGRAPHIC TRANSITION
14. Recent studies on demographic trends reveal that economists have begun to focus on the impact
of changing age structure of the population. The interest in relation between population change and
economic growth has again caught light due to the demographic transition taking place in the
developing countries. It offers potential economic benefit from changes in the age structure of the
population during the demographic transition, owing to an increase in working age population and
associated decline in the dependent age population.
15. According to Population Census, the dependent population (below 15 years and above 65
years) was 51.2% in 1981, and 53.1% in 1998 which according to UN population projections, fell to
42.7% in 2004 and will further fall to 38.3% in 2015. Similarly, the working age population which was
48.8% in 1981 and 46.9% in 1998 surged to 57.3% in 2004 and it is expected to reach 61.7% by 2015;
demographic transition is taking place, though, currently at a slower pace. It poses an enormous
challenge for the government to manage the economy in such a way that the demographic transition
1.3 UNIFORMITY AND CONFIDENCE IN PUBLIC EDUCATION SYSTEM
16. The imperative of uniformity in Pakistan’s educational system flows from the Constitution of
Pakistan, which entrusts the State with the responsibility of organizing an equitable and effective
education system, with an aim to enhance the overall well being of Pakistanis. The national educational
4 National Education Policy 2009
systems in different countries have evolved with the State in such a way that they appear to flow from
each other. That is the reason modern States have one educational system, customarily called the
‘national educational system’. No other system in a State, except the national educational system,
shares the ideals, objectives, and purposes of a State. The institution of Education in fact, acts as the
repository of the trust that the citizens have in the State, mediating the achievements of the past with the
aspirations of the future for all citizens of any given State. It is this correlation between the State and
the Educational System, which bestows a singularity to the national educational system, making it a
unified and unifying entity. To promote and protect this uniformity, national educational systems strive
to establish a uniformity in structures and modes of education throughout the country. Aware of the
importance of the local cultural context, the new National Education Policy supports the reflection of
the local cultures through curricula. As the national educational systems also evolve as a response to
particular demands of distinct ethnic, social, economic, religious, political groups and communities,
there is always room for diversity. This diversity can lend strength to the educational outcomes,
especially in a federation like Pakistan, if this does not work at cross purposes with the harmonising
17. The emergence and continued presence of parallel systems of education in Pakistan i.e., private
schools and Madaris, violate the principle of the uniformity of the educational system .The Policy is
conscious of the historical context which favoured the emergence of these parallel systems. It,
therefore, endeavours to encourage these systems to blend in the national educational system in a
manner that they strengthen the uniformity of the national educational system, especially in terms of
curricula, educational standards, costs and conditions and learning environment.
18. Provision of educational services is essentially a public function. The Constitution of Pakistan
expects the public sector to take lead in performing this public function. The relative failure of the
State’s educational system has resulted in the emergence of the alternative education provider i.e. the
private sector. The assurance of uniformity would remain the responsibility of the State. It can do so
entirely on its own or can develop public-private partnerships to ensure that the uniformity in standards
and purpose of education is not compromised.
19. Governance in the educational system is very weak. The Educational Policy, informed by the
ideals of democratic governance, implying a partnership amongst the principal societal actors in the
making and implementation of public policy, would try to effect a better allocation and management of
20. The unity of objectives of our educational efforts – whether in the public or private sector - is
spelt through the overarching principles of access, quality, affordability and relevance. The way the
Pakistani educational system has developed over time, we can notice a certain dispersion of the
objective of the unity manifesting itself in the form of parallel educational systems and their
equivalence, and the issues of medium of instruction, and representation of minorities, etc. The Policy
is guided by the principle of creating a minimum level of universal conformity in order to protect the
uniformity of the Pakistan’s educational system as a tool of social progress and of all round
development in an increasingly globalised and competitive world.
21. English is an international language, and important for competition in a globalised world order.
Urdu is our national language that connects people all across Pakistan and is a symbol of national
cohesion and integration. In addition, there are many other languages in the country that are markers of
cultural richness and diversity. The challenge is that a child is able to carry forward the cultural assets
and be, at the same time, able to compete nationally and internationally.
Overarching Challenges & Deficiencies: Their Causes and the Way Forward 5
1.4 GLOBALIZATION AND COMPETITIVENESS
22. Globalization is not a new phenomenon but its acceleration in recent years has been
unprecedented. This has created opportunities and challenges for countries the world over. An
education system cannot remain in isolation of these challenges and opportunities. Unfortunately, a
comprehensive national analysis and debate on the potential impact and possible benefits of
globalization has been a major deficit. Work that has been undertaken has been confined to the business
sector. Even here, the feedback into the education system to develop a desired response has been
missing. Other aspects of globalization like media and culture have been ignored.
23. The relevance of education to global competitiveness can be seen in the table from the Global
Competitive Index (GCI), given at the following page. Pakistan has been compared with its major
competitors in an international context. (Higher the number assigned to a pillar, the lesser the
GCI Pillars and Comparators
Pillars/ Parameters Pakistan Bangla
desh China India Malaysia Sri
1. Institutions 79 121 80 34 18 82
2. Infrastructure 67 117 60 62 23 76
3. Macro-economy 86 47 50 88 31 110
4. Health and Primary
108 90 55 93 42 36
5. Higher Education & Trg. 104 108 77 49 32 81
6. Market Efficiency 54 83 56 21 09 71
7. Technological Readiness 89 114 75 55 28 83
8. Business Sophistication 66 96 65 25 20 71
9. Innovation 60 109 46 26 21 53
Source: The State of Pakistan’s Competitiveness 2007, Competitive Support Fund, USAID, Ministry
of Finance, Government of Pakistan, 2007.
24. It can be seen that in education and health related indicators, Pakistan falls behind all other
countries. It has to be realized that even the sustainability and improvement of other indicators depend
25. Important products and drivers of globalization have been technologies like the internet and
satellite television. This impact has overtaken the perceptions of the policymakers, most of whom grew
up in an era when these technologies did not exist. These are important tools of education as well as
potential detriments to the objectives of national education. There has been no analysis to comprehend
its potential impact on children both in the positive as well as negative aspects.
1.5 SOCIAL EXCLUSION AND SOCIAL COHESION
26. Education is not only about the individual; it has a societal role --a societal role of selecting,
classifying, distributing, transmitting and evaluating the educational knowledge, reflecting both the
distribution of power and the principle of social contract. In a country with alarming inequities of
income and opportunities, reducing the social exclusion needs to be one of the principle objectives of
the Policy. The educational system in Pakistan is accused of strengthening the existing inequitable
6 National Education Policy 2009
social structure as very few people from the public sector educational institutions have the potential to
move up the ladder of social mobility. If immediate attention is not paid to reducing social exclusion
and moving towards inclusive development in Pakistan, the country can face unprecedented social
27. Almost all the past educational policies talk about the role of education as a tool for social
reform and social development. But all these policies have been unable to significantly contribute to
social inclusiveness by ensuring social mobility through education and training. Educational system is
supposed to ensure the right of an individual to grow in income and stature on the basis of his/her
excellence in education and training.
28. Uneven distribution of resources and opportunities and apprehensions of sliding down the scale
of poverty promote social exclusion. Increased social exclusion expresses itself in different forms like
ethnic strife, sectarianism and extremism, etc. Social exclusion or extremism is not exclusively a
function of the curriculum, but a host of traditional factors like poverty, inequity, political instability
and injustice contribute to it and it becomes a huge challenge that calls for a comprehensive response on
1.6 SETTING STANDARDS FOR EDUCATION
29. A key deficit is the absence of clearly articulated minimum standards for most educational
interventions and their outcomes. Even where these are established, there is no measurement or
structured follow up. As a result, impact of the interventions remains subject to anecdotes or
speculation and the true picture never emerges. Since standardization has not been part of the
governance culture, relevant indicators have not been developed. Only recently the National Education
Management Information System (NEMIS) has begun the process of computing indicators. Though
even these indicators are those that have been internationally identified and developed by UNESCO or
some of the donors for cross-cutting international programmes like Dakar Framework of Action for
EFA, indigenous requirements on a scale have not been assessed.
1.7 DOVETAILING GOVERNMENT INITIATIVES
30. Recently many new initiatives have been taken by the government aiming at providing missing
facilities. Traditional approach of improving infrastructure and providing brick and mortar is no doubt
necessary, but not sufficient for quality education delivery and sustainable economic development in
the existing burgeoning global competitive milieu. Some initiatives also focus/target on improving
teaching quality and learning environment, building capacity of education managers and administrators,
etc. Apart from the Ministry of Education, many other initiatives have been launched in the recent past
by different Ministries, organizations and departments like National Commission for Human
Development (NCHD), Higher Education Commission (HEC), National Vocational & Technical
Education Commission (NAVTEC), Ministry of Social Welfare and Special Education (MoSW&SE)
and Labour & Manpower Division, to develop the Human Resource of Pakistan in a bid to meet the
31. It has been observed that some of these initiatives are working in isolation of each other, thus
not adding much value to the national objectives. These programmes need to be dovetailed in such a
way that their impact is multiplied and we get maximum return on our investment and efforts. There is
a need of coordination at both the provincial and federal levels, where this is not already being done.
Also the issue of vertical federal programmes and projects should be reassessed as these currently have
little or no ownership from the provincial governments.
Overarching Challenges & Deficiencies: Their Causes and the Way Forward 7
1.8 LEVERAGING INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT PARTNERSHIPS
32. International development partners are providing generous support to the education sector in
Pakistan. Donors have different priorities in terms of programmatic emphasis and geographical
coverage. At times their projects overlap in an uncomplimentary manner or their programmatic focus
and emphasis bring limited value addition to the objectives of the Government. Getting optimum value
from these investments has become a challenge in the absence of institutionalized mechanisms for
donor coordination. In order to help and optimize the partnership with international development
agencies, it is important to review the guiding national policy framework, and refine it to meet the
1.9 MAJOR DEFICIENCIES
33. Pakistan has made progress on a number of education indicators in recent years but there is still
a huge gap to fill. Access to educational opportunities remains low and the quality of education is poor,
not only in relation to Pakistan’s own aspirations but also in international comparisons with the
reference countries. As the Global Competitiveness Index (GCI) shows Pakistan’s performance is weak
on the health and education related elements of competitiveness, when compared with its major
competitors like India, China, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Malaysia2.
34. On the Education Development Index, which combines all educational access measures
Pakistan lies at the bottom with Bangladesh and is considerably lower than Sri Lanka3. A similar
picture emerges from the gross enrolment ratios that combine all education sectors and by the adult
literacy rate measures. The overall Human Development Index (HDI) for Pakistan stands at 0.55, which
is marginally better than Bangladesh and Nepal but poorer than other countries in the region4. The
report also shows that while Pakistan’s HDI has improved over the years the rate of progress in other
countries has been higher. Bangladesh, starting at a lower base has caught up, while other countries
have further improved upon their relative advantage.
1.10 UNDERSTANDING SYSTEM DEFICIENCIES
35. There are two fundamental causes for the weak performance of the education sector: (i) lack of
commitment to education – the commitment gap; and (ii) the implementation gap that has thwarted the
application of policies. The two gaps are linked in practice: a lack of commitment leads to poor
implementation, but the weak implementation presents problem of its own.
1.10.1 The Commitment Gap
36. The low level of resources allocated, and even lesser utilized, stand in sharp contrast to the
commitment required by the policy statements which set up ambitious goals for the sector. The national
emphasis on education goes back to the enshrining of the right to education in the Constitution.
2 The State of Pakistan’s Competitiveness 2007, Competitive Support Fund, USAID, Ministry of Finance,
Government of Pakistan, 2007
Human Development Report 2007/2008, UNDP, 2007
8 National Education Policy 2009
37. The contrast between the vision and the commitment has been pointed out by the Planning
Commission: “We cannot spend only 2.7 % of our GDP on education and expect to become a vibrant
38. The commitment gap could be caused by two factors: (i) lack of belief in education’s true
worth for socio-economic and human-centered development; and/or (ii) a lack of belief in the
credibility of the goals themselves. In regard to the first, the analysis done during the policy review,
including reviewing recent international research and policy experience, confirms the potent role
education can play in achieving economic growth and social development. On this basis, the
commitment gap could not be caused by a lack of appreciation of the intrinsic worth of education. The
lack of commitment to the policy goals itself may, therefore, be the real problem
1.10.2 The Implementation Gap
39. The implementation gap, though less well documented, is believed to be more pervasive in that
it affects many aspects of governance and the allocation and use of resources. One piece of evidence
relates to the amount of developmental funds allocated to the sector that remain unspent. Estimates
range from 20% to 30% of allocated funds remaining unutilised. The underlying causes may lie in the
lack of a planning culture, planning capacity and weaknesses in the accountability mechanisms.
40. Another type of implementation problem surfaces in the corruption that perverts the entire
spectrum of the system. Anecdotes abound of education allocations systematically diverted to personal
use at most levels of the allocation chain. Political influence and favouritism are believed to interfere in
the allocation of resources to the Districts and schools, in recruitment, training and posting of teachers
and school administrators that are not based on merit, in awarding of textbook contracts, and in the
conduct of examinations and assessments. The pervasive nature of corruption reflects a deeper malaise
where the service to the students and learners is not at the forefront of the thought and behaviour
processes in operating the system.
1.11 THEWAY FORWARD: A PARADIGM SHIFT
41. Addressing the two underlying deficiencies requires a fundamental change in the thinking that
informs education policy at all levels. The need for a paradigm shift is echoed in the ‘Vision 2030’
report of the Planning Commission, which calls for major adaptations and innovation in the education
42. The paradigmatic shift requires that the objectives of the education policy would be to serve the
interests of students and learners rather than of those who develop policy or implement programmes.
This is a very fundamental shift as it implies changes in all the important parameters of education
policy: what educational provision to offer; who benefits from educational provision; what pedagogy
and teaching and learning methods to employ; and how the resource cost should be shared among the
stakeholders? Accordingly, the Policy recognises the need for reforms and makes recommendations for
action in a wide range of areas, which are divided into two categories. First, there are system level
reforms, which deal with issues such as the vision of the system, sector priorities and governance, and
resources for the sector. The second set of reforms address problems that are specific to individual subsectors
of education, ranging from early childhood education to adult learning.
-* - * - *-
Pakistan in the 21st Century: Vision 2030, Planning Commission, Government of Pakistan, 2007.
Filling the Commitment Gap: System Values, Priorities and Resources 9
Filling the Commitment Gap:
System Values, Priorities and Resources
2.1 EDUCATIONAL VISION AND PERFORMANCE
43. The Constitution of Pakistan affirms an egalitarian view of education based on values
responding to the requirements of economic growth. Article 38 (d) speaks of instilling moral values
and of providing education to all citizens irrespective of gender, caste, creed, or race. Article 37(b)
explicitly states that the State of Pakistan shall endeavour “to remove illiteracy and provide free and
compulsory secondary education within minimum possible period”. Article 34 requires that “steps shall
be taken to ensure full participation of women in all the spheres of national life”. It is in this perspective
that Pakistan has made a commitment to achieve six Dakar EFA Goals within the specified target dates.
44. In contrast to this vision for education, there has been little commitment to pursue the
ambitions of a National Educational Policy. Governance and management of education have fallen
short of the commitments. As a consequence, Pakistan’s education system is afflicted with fissures that
have created parallel systems of education and has performed poorly on the criteria of access, equity
45. As the ‘Vision 2030’ describes it, the reality on the ground is “the divide between the prevalent
school structure and differences in levels of infrastructure and facilities, media of instruction,
emolument of teachers, and even examination systems between public and private sectors. The rich
send their children to privately run English medium schools which offer foreign curricula and
examination systems; the public schools enrol those who are too poor to do so.” This divide can be
further categorised across low cost private schools and the elite schools. There is another divide
between the curriculum that is offered to the children enrolled in Deeni Madaris and the curriculum in
the rest of the public and private establishments. There is also an unresolved and continuing debate on
how and what religious and moral values to be taught through the educational system and how to
accommodate non-Muslim minorities.
46. Pakistan’s commitment to universal primary education by 2015 under EFA Framework appears
elusive on current performance, as participation is low and drop-out rates continue to be high. There are
persistent gender and rural-urban disparities. Girls continue to remain under-represented in the
education system, both public and private. The rural urban divide is stark on most indicators of school
provision and participation, which becomes particularly attenuated in some Provinces and Areas.
47. Finally, an education system cannot exist in isolation of the challenges and opportunities
provided by globalization. These are in the fields of business and commerce, technology, cultural
values, identity and many more. Unfortunately, a comprehensive national analysis and debate on the
potential impact and possible benefits of globalization has been a major deficit.
2.2 A REAFFIRMATION OF EDUCATIONAL VISION
48. Recognising the commitment gap, a first priority is a reaffirmation of the fundamental vision of
education. The ability to meet goals and targets, and the financial and human resources required to
achieve these, follow closely from the commitment to a clearly articulated vision.
49. There are compelling reasons for a reaffirmation. New research provides convincing evidence
of education’s contribution to both economic and social development, which can be achieved
10 National Education Policy 2009
simultaneously, because the processes of economic growth and social development are interlinked.
There are close links between equity in educational opportunities and equitable income distribution and
income growth. If the education system is constructed on a divisive basis, the divisions it creates can
endanger long run economic growth as well as stability of society.
50. The contribution of education to economic growth of societies is well established. A long
history of research has confirmed that each year of schooling contributes 0.58% to the rate of economic
growth6. The evidence is not just for the developed economies of the world but, importantly to the
point, for the developing nations as well.
51. This new research highlights the possibilities of both a vicious and a virtuous circle operating
from equity of educational opportunities to equity of income distribution, and from social cohesion to
economic growth. An affirmation of commitment to Pakistan’s egalitarian education vision in the
service of all citizens and as a driver of economic and social development can help produce a virtuous
circle of high level of human and social capital leading to equitable economic growth and social
advancement. The education sector policies have to be reoriented if they are not to fall in the vicious
52. The reaffirmation of educational vision requires a change of mindset that would permit
development of goals, policies and programmes in support of the vision. The Planning Commission’s
‘Vision 2030’ also argues for such change of the mindset, which commits to a new set of societal goals.
The Ministry of Education has adopted the following vision:
“Our education system must provide quality education to our children and youth to enable
them to realize their individual potential and contribute to development of society and nation,
creating a sense of Pakistani nationhood, the concepts of tolerance, social justice, democracy,
their regional and local culture and history based on the basic ideology enunciated in the
Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.”
2.3 AIMS AND OBJECTIVES
1. To revitalize the existing education system with a view to cater to social, political and
spiritual needs of individuals and society.
2. To play a fundamental role in the preservation of the ideals, which led to the creation of
Pakistan and strengthen the concept of the basic ideology within the Islamic ethos enshrined
in the 1973 Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
3. To create a sense of unity and nationhood and promote the desire to create a welfare State for
the people of Pakistan
4. To promote national cohesion by respecting all faiths and religions and recognise cultural and
5. To promote social and cultural harmony through the conscious use of the educational process.
6. To provide and ensure equal educational opportunities to all citizens of Pakistan and to
provide minorities with adequate facilities for their cultural and religious development,
enabling them to participate effectively in the overall national effort.
Equity, Quality and Economic Growth, The World Bank, 2007
Filling the Commitment Gap: System Values, Priorities and Resources 11
7. To develop a self reliant individual, capable of analytical and original thinking, a responsible
member of society and a global citizen.
8. To aim at nurturing the total personality of the individual: dynamic, creative and capable of
facing the truth as it emerges from the objective study of reality.
9. To raise individuals committed to democratic and moral values, aware of fundamental
human rights, open to new ideas, having a sense of personal responsibility and participation
in the productive activities in society for the common good.
10. To revive confidence in public sector education system by raising the quality of education
provided in government owned institutions through setting standards for educational inputs,
processes and outputs and institutionalizing the process of monitoring and evaluation from
the lowest to the highest levels.
11. To improve service delivery through political commitment and strengthening education
governance and management.
12. To develop a whole of sector view through development of a policy and planning process that
captures the linkages across various sub sectors of the education system.
13. To enable Pakistan to fulfill its commitments to achieve Dakar Framework of Action,
Education For All goals and Millennium Development Goals relating to education.
14. To widen access to education for all and to improve the quality of education, particularly in
its dimension of being relevant to the needs of the economy.
15. To equalize access to education through provision of basic facilities for girls and boys alike,
under-privileged/marginalized groups and special children and adults.
16. To eradicate illiteracy within the shortest possible time through universalizing of quality
elementary education coupled with institutionalized adult literacy programmes.
17. To enable an individual to earn his/her livelihood honestly through skills that contribute to
the national economy and enables him/her to make informed choices in life.
18. To lay emphasis on diversification from general to tertiary education so as to transform the
education system from supply-oriented to demand-driven and preparing the students for the
world of work.
19. To encourage research in higher education institutions that will contribute to accelerated
economic growth of the country.
20. To organize a national process for educational development that will reduce disparities across
provinces and areas and support coordination and sharing of experiences.
2.4 OVERARCHING PRIORITIES:WIDENING ACCESS AND RAISING QUALITY
53. The objective of education is the development of a self reliant individual, capable of analytical
and original thinking, a responsible member of the community and, in the present era, a global citizen.
It is imperative to identify and, possibly define, the touchstone for development of the child as a
member of society. Each culture has its own ethos that bears relevance for its individual constituents.
12 National Education Policy 2009
The challenge today is to secure values without regressing into unnecessary anachronisms and parochial
insularity. The other relevance of education is its ability to provide the graduates with an opportunity to
earn a living. Education should be able to increase the earning potential of the individual who is literate;
irrespective of the eventual vocation opted.
54. The foregoing articulations of the economic and social goals are taken by the Policy as an
appropriate basis for defining the priorities for the National Educational Policy. They lead to two overarching
priorities. Given the important role of education as a key driver of economic growth and social
advancement, the first policy priority is to widen access to education for all. Improving the quality of
education, particularly in its dimension of being relevant to the needs of the economy, becomes an
equally important strategic priority.
55. This Policy document identifies policy actions in pursuit of these two overriding objectives.
These are divided into policy actions required at the system level and actions pertaining to specific subsectors
of education treated across various chapters.
1. Provinces and Area Governments shall affirm the goal of achieving universal and free
primary education by 2015 and up to class 10 by 2025.
2. Provincial and Area Governments shall develop plans for achieving these targets,
including intermediate enrolment targets and estimates of the required financial,
technical, human and organizational resources.
3. The plans shall also promote equity in education with the aim of eliminating social
exclusion and promoting national cohesion. Greater opportunities shall be provided to
marginalised groups of society, particularly girls.
4. To achieve the commitments of Government of Pakistan towards Education for All
(EFA) and the MDGs, inclusive and child-friendly education shall be promoted.
5. Special measures shall be adopted to ensure inclusion of special persons in mainstream
education as well as in literacy and Technical and Vocational Education (TVE)
6. Governments shall improve quality of educational provision at all levels of education.
7. National Standards for educational inputs, processes and outputs shall be determined. A
National Authority for Standards of Education shall be established. The standards shall
not debar a provincial and area government/organization from having its own standards
higher than the prescribed minimum.
8. Provincial and district governments shall establish monitoring and inspection systems to
ensure quality education service delivery in all institutions.
9. Steps shall be taken to make educational provision relevant for the employment market
and for promoting innovation in the economy.
10. Universities and research institutes shall place greater emphasis on mobilising research
for promoting innovation in the economy.
Filling the Commitment Gap: System Values, Priorities and Resources 13
11. Educational inputs need to be designed with a comprehension of the challenges and
opportunities related to globalization. Strategies shall be developed to optimize
opportunities and minimize the potentially negative impacts.
2.5 MOBILISING RESOURCES FOR EDUCATION
56. Reforms and priorities will need to be planned in detail at various levels of government,
including the cost requirements. Even in the absence of such detailed estimates it is easy to see that the
required resources will exceed, by a considerable margin, the current outlay of 2.7% of GDP.
57. The need for a higher level of allocation comes from the fact that both the volume and the
quality of provision have to be enhanced simultaneously. Also, Pakistan starts from a smaller base level
of resource commitment, as is evident from a comparison with other developing nations.
1. The Government7 shall commit to allocating 7% of GDP to education by 2015 and
necessary enactment shall be made for this purpose. Formula for proportional allocation
(out of available funds) to different sub-sectors of education shall be evolved by the
provincial/ area governments.
2. The Government shall explore ways to increase the contribution of the private sector,
which at present contributes only 16 per cent of the total educational resources.
3. For promoting Public-Private-Partnership in the education sector, particularly in the case
of disadvantaged children, a percentage of the education budget as grant in aid (to be
decided by each Province) shall be allocated to philanthropic, non-profit educational
4. A system of checks and balances for the private sector shall be formed to oversee the
issues of fees, school standards, salaries of teachers, conduct and hygiene etc.
5. Total resources for education shall be further augmented by developing strategies for
inviting and absorbing international contributions. The Federal and Provincial/Area
Governments shall develop consensus on needs and priorities with a focus on provinces
and areas with weaker human development, for foreign assistance in education through
comprehensive sector plans of provincial/area governments.
6. A system for donor harmonization and improved coordination between development
partners and government agencies shall be developed
7. The cost estimates for serving as the basis for educational allocation shall be to adopt
more comprehensive definition of the concept of “free” education. The term shall
encompass all education related costs including expenditure on stationery, school bags,
transport and meals, which are, in general, not covered at present, and shall be applied as
a basis of allocating funds on a needs basis for poor children.
8. Government and educational institutions shall strengthen planning and implementation
capacity to improve utilisation of resources.
-* - * - *-
7 “Government” includes different tiers i.e. federal, provincial/ area as well as district governments and the figure
of 7% consists of allocation by all these governments.
14 National Education Policy 2009
Filling the Implementation Gap: Ensuring Good Governance 15
Filling the Implementation Gap:
Ensuring Good Governance
58. The Policy has identified implementation problems as one of the two main underlying causes
of poor performance of the education sector. Implementation problems, themselves, can be traced to
several types of governance issues, which need addressing:
1. Absence of a whole-of-sector view
2. Lack of policy coherence
3. Unclear roles in fragmented governance
4. Parallel systems of education (public-private divide)
5. Widening structural divide
6. Weak planning and management
7. Lack of stakeholder participation
3.1 DEVELOPING AWHOLE-OF-SECTOR VIEW
59. The education sector has divided responsibilities at the Federal level and between the Federal
and other sub-national administrations. At the Federal level, the responsibilities for different elements
of the education are carved up between the Higher Education Commission (HEC), National Vocational
and Technical Education Commission (NAVTEC) and the Ministry of Education (while other
Ministries also run individual establishments and trusts). This splitting up within education also exists
at the Provincial level. In the Punjab, the Department for Literacy and Non-formal Education is separate
from the Provincial Education Department. In Balochistan, Literacy comes under the Social Welfare
Department, and so on. There is no mechanism for developing a whole-of-sector view provincially as
well as the national level.
1. A comprehensive Human Resource Development (HRD) policy shall be developed
integrating all types and branches of HRD institutions from Early Childhood Education
(ECE) to tertiary education. The policy must keep market needs in view, including the
flexibility in market trends, for Higher and Technical and Vocational Education.
2. Organizational fragmentation of education at federal and provincial levels shall be
assessed for rationalisation and where feasible various streams, including literacy, shall
be managed by one organization.
3. Sector-wide planning shall be co-ordinated by the Ministry of Education in order to bring
together responsibilities for different sub-sectors of education, training and learning.
3.2 ENSURING POLICY COHERENCE
60. Education policies have major intersections with other policies at the national level and subnational
levels. Policies for early childhood education (ECE) are closely linked to social welfare
policies; education and skills for the labour market figure as a factor with employment, labour,
economic and regional development policies. Policies in the higher education area, likewise, are closely
linked with innovation, growth and industrial policies. They point to the need for coherence across
many policy domains. A whole-of-sector-view is an essential input for achieving policy coherence.
16 National Education Policy 2009
1. The Ministry of Education shall be responsible for ensuring coherence with other socioeconomic
policies of the Government
2. Inter-Provincial/Area exchange of students and teachers shall be encouraged with a view
to promote cultural harmony, mutual understanding, tolerance, social integration and
3. A mechanism for a strong coordination among different entities at the Federal and
Provincial levels shall be developed to ensure harmony amongst different sub-sectors of
education, training and learning.
3.3 OVERCOMING FRAGMENTED GOVERNANCE
61. Governance of education is the overarching framework that determines the ability of the state
to meet its goals and targets; the responsibility to ensure that education of quality is available to all
without discrimination. It cannot abdicate this responsibility to any other entity within (or outside) the
country. The state dispenses its responsibility in education through direct service delivery as well as
regulating the non-state participation in the sector. The largest proportion of the service delivery in
Pakistan remains with the public sector even as the private sector is growing. However, the current size
of the private sector, including the propensity for continuous growth, call for a more inclusive approach
to dealing with education. It requires an approach that recognises the role of the private sector, its
linkages with the rest and the possibilities of synergizing for improved outcomes.
62. Looking at the education sector vertically, Pakistan, like many other federal countries, has
divided jurisdictional arrangements over education matters. Within a Province or Area Administration,
jurisdiction over education is further divided across District and institutional levels. Given these divided
jurisdictions, it is essential that the demarcation of responsibilities is clear. A lack of clarity in roles and
responsibilities leads to unclear regimes of accountability and the possibility that responsibilities could
fall between the stools of different levels of government.
63. Inter-tier roles are, in principle, defined in the Constitution and its related Ordinances i.e. the
Local Government Ordinances (LGOs). However, details of interaction and demarcation of functions
across each tier are missing because development of an effective federal system in the country has been
hampered by centralization under dictatorial regimes.
64. The Constitution of the country places education in the Concurrent List as a national
responsibility; which does not translate into a Federal responsibility. It implies a collective national
response of all the Provincial and Areas governments along with the Federal government as equal
partners. The Federal Ministry of Education is required to co-ordinate and facilitate the process.
65. Considerable ambiguities can, however, arise in how the principles are applied in practice as
the principles of responsibility-sharing can be open to different interpretations. In the past, there has
been a perception that the Federal Government may have overstepped its mandate, while some voices
from the Provinces see little role for the Federal level.
66. In case of the provincial-district interaction, the Local Government Ordinances (LGOs) have
not spelt out any functional divide and each province continues with its own interpretation of
67. The ambiguities that can arise relate not only to the relations between the Federal and the
Provincial Governments but also, under the Devolution arrangements, between the Provincial and
Filling the Implementation Gap: Ensuring Good Governance 17
District governments. The relations between the provincial governments and the local governments are
in transition and there are a number of issues that need to be addressed. The main problem arises from
an administrative instead of a functional division of powers between the provincial and the Local
Governments. Greater clarification will also be needed if decentralisation is pursued right to the school
level. It is essential that different levels of governments should come together to articulate a clear
understanding of inter-tier roles and responsibilities.
68. This process can be aided by institutionalising the role of the Inter-Provincial Education
Ministers’ (IPEM) Conference. Policy making shall remain a national function with participation from
the Federal Government and the Provinces/Areas in a national forum. The role of the Federal
Government should be that of a facilitator and coordinator, while the IPEM would oversee
1. To remove ambiguities between the different roles of Federal and Provincial
Governments in the field of education, their respective role and responsibilities shall be
mapped and clarified through national consultative processes involving the federal
government as well as provincial/area governments.
2. The Federal role shall be that of a facilitator and coordinator. This should apply not only
to the school level but also other levels and streams of education, including technical and
3. The Federal Ministry of Education shall be the focal point for development of the
National Education Policy through feedback from and consultations with the provincial
and area governments within the Implementation Framework described in Chapter 9.
4. The IPEM shall oversee the implementation of National Education Policy and review its
5. An overarching framework shall be developed to aggregate the initiatives taken by the
Federal Education Ministry, provincial/areas education departments and organizations.
All these initiatives shall be coordinated to leverage their outputs in a manner that these
respond to the emerging challenges of society and the economy including globalization,
in a concrete way.
6. Decentralisation shall be pursued at each level of governance to devolve decision making
closer to the point of implementation and shall eventually move to the school level,
which shall become the basic unit for planning, including school based budgeting.
7. Decentralisation within the framework of devolution shall focus on delegation of
educational functions and not merely on delegation of administrative powers.
3.4 BRIDGING THE PUBLIC-PRIVATE DIVIDE
69. Existence of insulated parallel systems of public and private education in Pakistan remains a
cause for concern as it creates inequitable social divides. First, a small but important component of the
private sector caters to the elite and offers high quality that only the rich can afford. Its long-term socioeconomic
impact is divisive for the society, not the least in the relative neglect of improvements in the
public sector. Second, Deeni Madrassahs form a component of the private sector. The parallel system in
this case consists of a curriculum that lies outside the mainstream. Third, private sector establishments
within the mainstream are not properly regulated, which can leave students unprotected. They do not
often register with the Provincial authorities as they are required by law and do not often comply with
18 National Education Policy 2009
the regulations. Registered private schools often charge more fees than they are authorized to (the
average household annual expenditure per student in a private establishment is reported to be four times
greater). Similarly, private schools are being encouraged to offer admission and education services to
10% needy but meritorious students free of cost, a regulation that is not followed by most private
establishments. Fourth, the curriculum and qualifications structures do not give a clear idea of their
equivalence with public sector qualifications, which can put these students at a disadvantage. Finally,
the public sector has failed to capitalise on the potential benefits of synergies from the growth in private
70. Over the last few years, the private sector has been attempting to bridge the gaps and ills of
education system like inequitable access, poor quality, high drop outs etc. These efforts have sometimes
been through formal agreements with the relevant governments and sometimes on an informal basis. It
is being increasingly felt to institutionalize the arrangement to receive optimal results across the country
instead of incremental efforts in sporadic areas. The question arises as to where the private sector can
assist. Practically, it seems in every possible educational input. The exact possibility would depend on
the specific area or domain. Some of these inputs, inter alia, include (The list is not exhaustive, nor does
it identify areas that are new to the concept.):
1. School construction
2. Textbooks development
3. Libraries development including provision of supplementary reading material
4. Teacher education
6. Food supplement to poor children
7. Literacy programmes
8. Information Communication Technology (ICT)
71. There may be other forms also. All of these opportunities can be evaluated for efficacy and
then implemented according to local conditions and requirements. Some options already operational in
the country are:
1. Voucher systems in existing schools or adoption of ill-performing public schools (already
first practised in Sindh by Sindh Education Foundation and now on a larger scale, by the
Punjab Education Foundation in poorer districts of the Punjab);
2. Using premises and/or facilities of the public schools for higher than the existing level of
schooling (first piloted by Punjab Education Department in 2003 and replicated by some
other provinces at a smaller scale);
3. Additional services like literacy centers after school timings of the morning shift in the
public sector schools (also initiated by the Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) in
some Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) institutions in collaboration with Children
Resource International, Islamabad). All these possibilities, as already stated, are being
pursued in some form or the other.
4. “Adopt A School” programme, particularly by the corporate sector and philanthropists.
1. Available educational resources in the private sector shall be mapped and information
made available to all. The resources in this case would include more than simply private
schools which are already part of the overall education census.
Filling the Implementation Gap: Ensuring Good Governance 19
2. Transparent and clear procedures shall be initiated in the education sector to allow
utilization of private sector inputs. Systems shall be developed through involvement of
all stakeholders: the public sector, the private sector and the community; keeping in view
Ministry of Education’s document “Public Private Partnerships in Pakistan’s Education
3. Provincial Governments shall encourage private education at the school level as an
option available to those who can afford such education. At the same time, Governments
shall take steps to encourage public sector institutions to draw benefit from the resources
available in the private sector.
4. A common curricular framework in general as well as professional education shall be
applied to educational institutions in both the public and the private sector. Government
shall take steps to bring the public and private sectors in harmony through common
standards, quality and regulatory regimes.
5. Where a private school already exists with additional admission space, the children shall
be accommodated in it, through public financing and the public sector new school shall
either be developed in separate vicinity or for different levels. Private sector schools shall
be provided permission to operate on a need- cum- quality basis.
6. Provincial and Area Governments shall develop regulations for establishing and running
private sector institutions that include transparent accountability procedures. Where such
regulatory bodies have already been developed, those shall be reinvigorated.
7. Provincial and Area governments shall take steps to build capacity of the regulators to
enable them to effectively monitor compliance by private sector institutions.
8. Non-profit educational institutions should be provided tax incentives.
3.5 OVERCOMING STRUCTURAL DIVIDES
72. There exists the challenge of ensuring a uniform system of education that provides a level
playing field for children irrespective of their caste, creed, family’s economic capacity and religion, and
in line with the fundamental rights and principles of policy as enshrined in the Constitution of Pakistan.
As already discussed, broadly there are three parallel streams in education that have created unequal
opportunities for children who manage to enter the education system. In addition there are sub-streams
within each. The main ones are public sector schools, private schools and Madrassahs. Within both
public sector and private sector schools there are elite and non-elite schools. The latter caters to the
economic elite only while the former like Cadet Colleges, at least conceptually, allow talented children
of the lower middle classes also. These elite schools cater to a very small minority of school going
children. The bulk of lower middle class and poor children study in the non-elite low quality private
and public schools. Most of these schools fail to produce students who can compete for high end jobs to
allow vertical social transition.
73. A number of factors lead to the differences that allow students of the elite schools to do better.
Management, resources and teaching quality are their main strengths. Most of these elite schools follow
the Cambridge or London University O/A level systems that have a different curriculum, assessment
system and textbooks. A major bias of the job market for white collar jobs appears in the form of a
candidate’s proficiency in the English language. It is not easy to obtain a white collar job in either the
public or private sectors without a minimum level proficiency in the English language. Most private
Public Private Partnerships in the Education Sector: ESR Action Plan 2001-05, Ministry of Education, GoP,
20 National Education Policy 2009
and public schools do not have the capacity to develop the requisite proficiency levels in their students.
English language also works as one of the sources for social stratification between the elite and the nonelite.
Employment opportunities and social mobility associated with proficiency in the English language
have generated an across the board demand for learning English language in the country.
74. Differentials in quality and consequent opportunities of children also depend on the location of
the school, for example rural versus urban or large city versus small town. Children who join the nonformal
stream also suffer and most fail to enter the mainstream.
75. The third tier of Madrassahs plays a role in a different type of social divide. Young children
educated in Madrassahs normally do not have skills that enable them to seek employment outside the
realm of duties associated with clerics. This increases social tensions because of the sense of exclusion
among children educated in these institutions.
1. The state shall provide greater opportunities to the citizens and areas that have been
largely excluded from mainstream development and participation in the national
processes, by ensuring even and equitable human development across Pakistan.
2. Governments shall identify schools in less developed areas for prioritisation in resource
allocation and management for improving quality.
3. Ministry of Education, in consultation with Provincial and Area education departments,
relevant professional bodies and the wider public, shall develop a comprehensive plan of
action for implementing the English language policy in the shortest possible time, paying
particular attention to disadvantaged groups and less developed regions.
4. The curriculum from Class I onward shall comprise of English (as a subject), Urdu, one
regional language and mathematics, along with an integrated subject.
5. The Provincial and Area Education Departments shall have the choice to select the
medium of instruction up to Class V.
6. English shall be used as the medium of instruction for sciences and mathematics from
class IV onwards.
7. For the first five years, Provinces shall have the option to teach mathematics and science
in English or Urdu/ official regional language; but after five years the teaching of these
subjects shall be in English only.
8. Opportunities shall be provided to children from low socio-economic strata to learn
9. A comprehensive school language policy shall be developed in consultation with
provincial and area governments and other stakeholders.
10. Federal, provincial and area governments shall develop joint strategies with main
Madrassah systems, through consultations, to formally integrate market-oriented and
skills-based subjects in the Madrassahs’ curricula - subjects that would enable the
children graduating from Deeni Madaris to have wider employment options.
Filling the Implementation Gap: Ensuring Good Governance 21
3.6 BUILDINGMANAGEMENT AND PLANNING CAPACITY
76. Modern day educational management demands professional standards and expertise for which
the traditional policy makers at the ministries, educational managers and the head teachers are
unprepared. At the institutional level, planning also takes time away from teaching responsibilities.
Recognising this, many countries around the globe are paying special attention to training potential
educational managers from amongst teachers.. In contrast, most persons holding management positions
in Pakistan’s education sector have no training in this function. Head teachers, District Education
Officers (DEOs), Executive District Officers (EDOs) and Directors Public Instructions (DPIs) are
mostly appointed from amongst the teacher cadre (college or school), without much management
77. The strategies in regard to Devolution require considerable strengthening of planning capacity
at all levels of programme development and delivery. An important requirement for planning is the
availability of standards for both input requirements and educational outcomes, which is lacking at
present. Good planning and monitoring through standards also requires data and indicators of
performance. These have been severely lacking at all levels of educational activity and performance.
78. While data limitations have been a real constraint in educational planning, insufficient use of
data has been made in decision making and planning even when these have been available. This is
partly due to the culture of not using quantitative analysis and partly because the managers lack the
79. Information based planning is also thwarted by political interventions that distort decision
making and impact merit and efficiency. Unless political interference and corruption are rooted out,
social policies and plans would have low impact; and this is all the more devastating for the Education
1. A management cadre for education, with specific training and qualification requirements,
shall be introduced.
2. Education sector management shall be left to the Education managers without any
intervention from politicians and generalist civil servants; only then the education
managers can be held accountable for outcomes.
3. Education planners and decision makers shall be trained in the use and analysis of
educational statistics to develop the practice of information-based decision making and
4. Conformity with the national standards shall be the criterion for a realistic assessment of
resource requirements as well as a fair and equitable basis for allocation across institutions.
5. A Personnel Management Information System (PMIS) as well as Financial Management
Information System (FMIS) shall be developed to support the planning, implementation
and evaluation function. These shall be linked to the existing Educational Management and
Information System (EMIS).
6. Besides collection and dissemination of education statistics of Public sector education
institutions, its jurisdiction shall be extended to private education institutions as well as
Non-formal schools all over Pakistan
7. A National Standards and Certification Agency for EMIS shall be established to set,
monitor and evaluate the quality of education, data collection, analysis and use across all
22 National Education Policy 2009
levels and tiers of education management. This can be part of a National Standards
Authority for Education, proposed earlier (ref: policy action No. 7 under Section 2.4).
8. The Provincial and Area EMIS shall cater to the data needs of all tiers of the local
governments. It shall also provide data to NEMIS for national aggregation on a routine and
9. A separate data base for literacy shall be developed.
3.7 GETTING THE COMMUNITY INVOLVED
80. Effective implementation of policies is strengthened if the stakeholders have ownership of the
policies. One weakness of the governance regime in Pakistan has been its weak performance in
allowing all stakeholders to have a say in policy development and implementation: the most significant
set being the community. Most stakeholders consulted during policy development were of the view that
various experiments with School Management Committees (SMCs) or Parent Teachers Associations
(PTAs) have had limited success. Most cases of success are either owed to a dynamic head teacher or a
local non-government organization that provides an interface between community and the school.
81. In most rural areas, these organizations are controlled by politically influential persons who
have little interest in school improvement. In other cases, finances remain unutilised because of fear of
audit. Also, most head teachers have no training in working with communities and are unprepared for
capitalising on the potential of SMCs. The main obstacle to greater success remains the lack of
acceptance and comprehension of the concept at both the community as well as school level.
82. For the New Education Policy to succeed it has to be a collaborative exercise with the
stakeholders, at all levels of education, policy development and programme delivery.
1. School Management Committees (SMC) shall be strengthened through involvement of
students, teachers, educationists, parents and society (STEPS).
2. The tenure of the SMCs shall be enhanced, so that the members are able to make use of
3. To promote greater utilisation of allocated funds, Governments shall move from financial
audit to performance or output based audit system for SMCs.
4. Head teachers shall be trained in social mobilisation to involve the community
5. Awareness campaigns shall be launched, at the District, Tehsil and Union levels to
sensitise communities about their role in school education.
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Islamic Education 23
4.1 ISLAMIC EDUCATION: DUTY OF THE SOCIETY AND THE STATE
83. The ideology of Islam forms the genesis of the State of Islamic Republic of Pakistan and its
fundamental principles were defined in the Objectives Resolution of 1949 as follows:
“Whereas sovereignty over the entire Universe belongs to Almighty Allah alone and the
authority to be exercised by the people of Pakistan within the limits prescribed by Him is a
And whereas it is the will of the people of Pakistan to establish an order:
“Wherein the State shall exercise its powers and authority through the chosen representatives of
Wherein the principles of democracy, freedom, equality, tolerance and social justice, as
enunciated by Islam, shall be fully observed;
Wherein the Muslims shall be enabled to order their lives in the individual and collective
spheres in accordance with the teachings and requirements of Islam as set out in the Holy
Qura’an and Sunnah;”
84. The Objectives Resolution forms part of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan,
1973. According to the Constitution, Pakistan is a Federal Republic to be known as the Islamic
Republic of Pakistan wherein the Muslims shall be enabled to order their lives in the individual and
collective spheres in accordance with the teachings and requirements of Islam as set out in the Holy
Qura’an and the Sunnah.9 The Constitution further stipulates that the State shall endeavour, as respects
the Muslims of Pakistan, to make the teaching of the Holy Qura’an and Islamiyat compulsory, to
encourage and facilitate the learning of Arabic language and to secure correct and exact printing and
publishing of the Holy Qura’an and to promote unity and the observance of the Islamic moral
85. Pakistan is currently engaged in the process of reviewing, updating and reforming school
curriculum from Early Childhood Education up to Higher Secondary School levels keeping in view the
Islamic teachings and ideology of Pakistan, cultural and religious sensitivities in the country and
modern emerging trends to make the whole education purposeful and to create a just civil society that
respects diversity of views, beliefs and faiths.
86. Islamiyat is being taught as a compulsory core subject from Early Childhood Education to
Higher Secondary School levels extending up to graduation in all general and professional institutions
so as to create a tolerant and peace loving society with vision of finding solutions to the real life
9 Article 2A: The Objectives Resolution, of the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan 1973
10 Article 31(2) (a) (b): Islamic Way of Life, of the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan 1973
24 National Education Policy 2009
problems through the teachings of the Holy Qura’an and Sunnah. To further augment Islamic teachings,
Advanced Islamic Studies, as an elective subject, has also been introduced at Grades IX-X and XI-XII.
1. The objectives of teaching of Islamiyat shall be to ensure that all Muslim children are provided
opportunities to learn and apply the fundamental principles of Islam in their lives with the
purpose of reformation and development of society on the principles of the Qura’an and
2. Islamiyat shall be taught as a compulsory subject from Grade I to Grade XII (For Grades I and
II as an integrated subject and from Grade III onwards as a separate subject), extending up to
graduation in all general and professional institutions. Non-Muslim students shall not be
required to read lessons/pages on Islam in the textbook of integrated subject for Grades I and II.
3. The Islamiyat Curriculum shall be divided into five main topics as under:
a. Al-Quran Al Kareem.
b. Imaniyat and Ibadat.
d. Ethics and Good Behaviour (towards others) – Haqooq-ul-Ibaad.
e. Prominent Personalities of Islam.
4. Advanced Islamic Studies shall be offered as an elective subject at Grades IX-X and
5. Provision shall be made for teaching of the subject of Ethics/Moral Education in lieu of
Islamiyat to non-Muslim children and subject specific teachers, where possible, shall be
appointed according to the requirements.
6. Individuals desirous of pursuing higher education in Islamic Sciences shall be encouraged and
scholarships shall be provided to outstanding students to pursue higher education in Islamic
institutes of repute, both at home and abroad.
7. Well qualified teachers shall be appointed for teaching of Islamiyat and Arabic and training
programmes for Islamiyat and Arabic for in-service teachers shall be organized by teacher
8. Islamic teachings shall be made the part of teacher training curricula and the curricula of other
9. Arrangements shall be made for printing of rare books on Islam, charts and materials relating to
Islamic injunctions and their distribution amongst libraries of schools, colleges, universities,
research institutions and Deeni Madaris.
10. It shall be ensured that textual and other learning materials do not contain anything repugnant
to Islamic injunctions and controversial material against any sect or religious/ethnic minorities.
11. The Institutes of Educational Research in Universities in collaboration with Departments of
Islamic Studies shall commission research on Islamiyat Curriculum and recommending
strategies for making it more relevant to the needs of the ever changing society.
Islamic Education 25
12. Deeni Madaris shall be mainstreamed by introducing contemporary studies alongside the
curricula of Deeni Madaris to enhance prospects of their students to pursue higher studies,
research and excellence and to ensure employment, recognition and equivalence.
13. Madrassah Education authority shall be established by the Federal Government with the
a. Provide an opportunity for all existing and future Madaris to excel and enhance the
services they already provide to the nation.
b. Arrange funds for education and socio-economic welfare of students.
c. Provide infrastructure and equipment for improvement of existing facilities.
d. Provide further training to enhance skills of teachers.
e. Provide support in vocational training to equip students to generate income.
f. Provide advice and assistance in streamlining policies, objectives and syllabi to give
graduates a competitive edge in the job market and for placement in institutions of
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26 National Education Policy 2009
Broadening the Base and Achieving Access 27
Broadening the Base and Achieving Access
87. Quality of education has been a major casualty of the system’s inefficiency. The biggest victim
has been the public education system; but quality cannot be assumed as given even in the private
schools. Efforts to increase enrollments are not sustainable in the absence of quality education in the
country. Reprioritization of quality can only be initiated with a common understanding of the term and
then focusing on the major imports that impact it; these being curriculum, textbooks and learning
materials, assessments, teachers and the learning environment available in an educational institution.
88. Broadening the base with quality is the most central strategic education policy priority. The
superstructure of the knowledge society cannot be erected without a wide and high quality base that can
feed quality human resources into all walks of societal endeavour. This chapter sets reforms for
widening the base of education at the foundation level, in the areas of early childhood, primary and
secondary education. Since much of non-formal and adult learning is also concerned with the
foundation level learning, the chapter also presents reforms and policy actions for this sector.
5.1 EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION (ECE)
89. Historically, ECE has not been formally recognized by the public sector in Pakistan. The
traditional ‘katchi’ class in some public sector schools has predominantly remained a familiarization
stage towards formal schooling for un-admitted, young students. A limited part of the Grade I National
Curriculum is taught to this group.
90. Against this background, for the first time in Pakistan’s history, ECE was included as a
component in the Education Sector Reforms programme and funding was provided to the provincial
and district governments. ECE was also included in the National Plan of Action of Education for All.
Pakistan is committed to the Dakar Framework of Action, the first goal of which is to expand and
improve comprehensive ECE for all children, especially for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged. A
curriculum for ECE has also been developed.
91. Progress has been achieved over the last few years, as noted in Annex- A, but further action is
required in three areas to improve provision of ECE across the country: (i) wider participation; (ii)
better quality; and (iii) improved governance.
1. Improvements in quality of ECE shall be based on a concept of holistic development of
the child that provides a stimulating, interactive environment, including play, rather than
a focus on regimes that require rote learning and rigid achievement standards.
2. ECE age group shall be recognised as comprising 3 to 5 years. At least one year preprimary
education shall be provided by the State and universal access to ECE shall be
ensured within the next ten years.
3. Provision of ECE shall be attached to primary schools which shall be provided with
additional budget, teachers and assistants for this purpose.
4. For ECE teachers, a two-year specialised training in dealing with young children shall be
a necessary requirement.
28 National Education Policy 2009
5. This training shall be on the basis of the revised ECE National Curriculum. The
curriculum and support material for ECE shall take account of the cultural diversity of
5.2 ELEMENTARY EDUCATION
92. Primary education is a weak link in education in Pakistan. The Policy focuses attention on two
large and critical problems facing the sector: (i) low participation and narrow base of the sector; and (ii)
poor quality of provision.
93. Despite some progress in recent years, access rates remain low, as noted in Annex- A. NER at
66% for primary are the lowest compared to the selected reference countries. Even though 2005 rates
have improved in 2006-07, Pakistan still faces the risk of defaulting on EFA 2015 targets. The narrow
base is further attenuated through high drop out rates. The survival rate to Grade 5 is 72%. Of those
who succeed in completing Grade V, there is a further loss to the system through those not making the
transition to the secondary level. Pakistan cannot afford to live with the narrow base in the perspective
of long term economic and social development of the nation.
1. All children - boys and girls - shall be brought inside school by the year 2015.
2. Official age for primary education shall be 6 to 10 years. The official age group for next
levels of education shall also change correspondingly.
3. Government shall make efforts to provide the necessary financial resources to achieve the
4. Wherever feasible, primary schools shall be upgraded to middle level.
5. International Development Partners shall be invited through a well-developed plan for
expanding school facilities.
6. High priority shall be paid to reducing the dropout rates. An important element of this
effort should be to provide financial and food support to children who drop out because
7. Food based incentives shall be introduced to increase enrolment and improve retention
and completion rates, especially for girls.
8. Schools shall be made more attractive for retaining the children by providing an attractive
learning environment, basic missing facilities and other measures.
9. Government shall establish at least two “Apna Ghar” residential schools in each province
to provide free high quality education facilities to poor students.
10. Every child, on admission in Grade I, shall be allotted a unique ID that will continue to
remain with the child throughout his or her academic career.
5.3 SECONDARY AND HIGHER SECONDARY EDUCATION
94. The secondary and higher secondary school system prepares young people for life. It has two
important roles in this respect – providing skills to the labour market, as many students leave formal
Broadening the Base and Achieving Access 29
schooling at this time; and providing input to the tertiary system. The system does not provide an
adequate base for both these functions. Quite apart from the quality of instruction at this level, a central
question that Pakistan’s education policy makers confront is the level of skill development and
preparation that can be achieved by twelve years of school education as a terminal qualification.
95. The present system has shortcomings in two main respects: it has a narrow base that leaves a
large number of young people outside the system and the quality of skills it produces does not
appropriately match the needs of the labour market. Some of the policy actions needed to address these
concerns have already been outlined in section 5.2 above, dealing with elementary education. The
additional reform initiatives described below are specifically meant for secondary and higher secondary
96. Access and participation rates at this level of schooling in Pakistan are low in comparison to
reference countries. Pakistan’s national average ratio of secondary to primary school is 1:6 but, in
certain parts of the country, it reaches the high figure of 1:13. There is a clear need for expanding the
provision. At the same time, efforts have to be made to cut the high drop out rates and induce more out
of school youths back to the school system, particularly girls, whose participation is still very low.
1. Provision shall be expanded, particularly in the rural areas and of schools dedicated for
girls. Priority shall be given to those locations where the ratio of secondary schools is
2. Student support shall be increased to prevent students from dropping out of school for
3. Schools shall introduce more student-centred pedagogies.
4. Counselling facilities shall be made available to students from the elementary level
onwards, in order to constructively utilize their energies, to deal with any displays of
aggression amongst young students and to address any other psychological distress that a
student may be in, by suggesting a suitable remedy
5. Life Skills-Based Education (LSBE) shall be promoted.
6. Counselling at higher secondary level must also address the career concerns of young
students and encourage them to take up studies as per their aptitude other than the
“accepted” fields of study, be it technical, vocational or any other area of study
7. Schooling shall also be made more attractive by adding community service programmes.
8. Grades XI and XII shall not be part of the college level and shall be merged with the
school level, forming part of existing secondary schools where needed and provision of
necessary human and physical resources shall be ensured. This exercise shall be
undertaken after a detailed study of the failures of similar previous efforts.
9. A system for ranking of primary and secondary educational institutions across the
country shall be introduced with rankings based on result outcomes, extra-curricular
activities and facilities provided to the students. This will encourage healthy competition
30 National Education Policy 2009
10. To create an order for excellence in the country, a “National Merit Programme” shall be
introduced to award bright students
5.4 LITERACY AND NON-FORMAL LEARNING
97. Literacy training and non-formal learning can be two different types of activities, although with
a large overlap. Non-formal learning can take the form of literacy training but it also includes a variety
of other types of learning activities such as on the job skills training and traditional apprenticeships.
Literacy programmes generally cover adults and young people who are out of school. The non-formal
learning includes these categories but also on the job learning that youths and adults might participate
in, which may not have raising literacy levels as its principal objective.
98. There are multiple causes of low literacy: social taboos, poverty, child labour, and illiteracy of
the parents/families and institutional weaknesses. Efforts to combat illiteracy have been half hearted,
disjointed and not suited to local conditions and requirements. At the provincial level, there is a lack of
uniformity in existing structures, and the set up varies from province to province.
99. There is also a question of level of priority that literacy promotion merits in the public budget
when resources are not available for basic facilities in the more productive primary schools. The case
for improving literacy is based on both its economic and social benefits and considered trade offs with
regular schooling, quite apart from the large benefit that accrues to the individual in the form of
100. In the economic field, literacy scores contribute to higher productivity, a contribution that is in
addition to the contribution made by years of schooling11. A more literate person has higher
participation rates in the labour force, is more likely to be an entrepreneur, and is more open to adopting
new techniques of production. A literate parent contributes to better leaning achievement for his or her
101. There are, as well, wider social benefits of literacy that have been estimated empirically. There
is a noticeable impact on health. A literate person is more likely to have better health and incur low
expenditure on health maintenance. Participation in civic activities and democratic processes are more
likely with literacy than without. The most important social objective served by literacy is achieving
greater social inclusiveness.
102. There are four main difficulties with current literacy and non-formal learning programme,
which need to be addressed. First, the quality of such programmes is variable as they are not regulated
by some minimum quality standards. One reason for the often poor quality of the programmes is low
quality of teachers, which is also not regulated. Second, a certification and accreditation regime is
missing. There are no benchmarks or standards that can be used for assessing literacy programmes. As
a consequence, it is difficult to link the certificate offered by these programmes to formal learning
opportunities. Hence, graduates of these programmes find it difficult to enter into the formal sector.
Third, current literacy programmes are also not well-linked to employment opportunities. Fourth,
literacy programmes are rarely found to be effective.
1. Literacy rate shall be increased up to 86% by 2015 through up-scaling of ongoing
programmes of adult literacy and non formal basic education in the country.
Equity, Quality and Economic Growth, The World Bank, 2007
Broadening the Base and Achieving Access 31
2. Sustainability of adult literacy and NFE programmes shall be ensured by strengthening
organizational structure, coordination and enhancing budgetary allocation for this
neglected sub sector.
3. Government shall develop a national literacy curriculum and identify the instructional
material, teacher training modules and professional development programmes to support
the curriculum. The curriculum shall be objectives driven, so as to facilitate assimilation
of trainees into mainstream economic activity, by imparting skills training as per local
needs and market trends.
4. Government shall develop and enforce minimum quality standards for organizations
involved in literacy in the form of literacy certification and accreditation regime. The
literacy providers shall be required to offer the literacy programmes according to the
5. A system shall be developed to mainstream the students of non-formal programmes into
the regular education system, and a system of equivalence shall be developed to permit
such mainstreaming. New literates shall receive formal certification so as to facilitate
their entry into government schools.
6. Provinces and district governments shall allocate a minimum of 4% of education budget
for literacy and non-formal basic education (NFBE).
7. Linkages of non-formal education with industry and internship programmes shall be
developed to enhance economic benefits of participation.
8. Horizontal linkages between schools and vocational/skills training centres shall be
9. Government schools shall initiate non-formal education (NFE) stream for child labourers.
Children involved in various jobs or work shall be brought within the ambit of nonformal
education system through need-based schedules and timings.
10. National Education Foundation (NEF) programmes, currently in practice up to grade 5
shall be expanded up to grade 10, wherever required.
11. Special literacy skills programmes shall target older child labourers, boys and girls (aged
between 14 and 17 years). Special educational stipends shall be introduced to rehabilitate
12. Arrangements shall be made to use school buildings (where available) for adult literacy
after school hours.
13. Government shall develop guidelines for post-programme initiatives. Regular follow-up
shall be made a part of the literacy programs.
14. Steps shall be taken to ensure that teachers for adult learners and non-formal education
are properly trained and have a well defined career structure allowing them to move into
15. International Development Partners, community and private sector involvement in
awareness programmes, content, design and availability of facilities, shall be mobilised.
32 National Education Policy 2009
5.5 EDUCATION IN EMERGENCIES
103. Pakistan has endured serious emergent situations in recent years causing human and
infrastructure losses on a large scale, the most significant being the earthquake of October 2005. The
schools have been the worst victim because the school infrastructure was structurally unprepared for the
tremendous shock of an earthquake and the school administration as well as the students were not
prepared to meet such kind of challenges. Although there were some provisions in the school
curriculum and learning materials to address crisis and disaster management related issues but due to
non-availability of a proper mechanism, the concepts could not be enforced appropriately. Pakistan’s
education system has now recognised the need for preparation of individuals and groups to grapple with
the demands of emergencies and disasters through organized and effective responses. Credible
rehabilitation and disaster management plans need to be put in place to ensure early restoration of
1. Awareness shall be raised amongst the students regarding emergency situations, natural
disasters and school safety so as to enable them to take appropriate preventive
measures and informed decisions in emergencies or crises.
2. Curriculum, especially of Social Studies, Geography, Languages, and Literacy shall
include themes on emergencies, natural disasters and trauma management based on
latest international best practices and shall also include information about response in
an emergency or disaster.
3. Teacher education and training curricula shall include provisions to enable the teacher
to address education in emergencies.
4. A repository of all emergency related materials, manuals, guidelines, minimum
standards and research pertaining to education shall be maintained at the teachers
training institutions, schools, colleges and universities.
5. National Disaster Management Authority shall provide guidelines and code of conduct
to the building departments to construct school infrastructure according to the
6. The authorities in planning (at Federal Ministry of Education, Planning Commission
and Provincial Planning & Development Departments) shall ensure that guidelines and
code of conduct for construction of school infrastructure regarding disaster have been
followed while recommending the education projects for approval.
7. National Disaster Management Authority shall make available the Standard Operating
Procedures (SOPs) for the educational institutions to follow pre and post emergency
8. Disaster Management Plans shall include education delivery mechanism for
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Raising the Quality of Education 33
Raising the Quality of Education
104. There is an impending need to debate and agree on what constitutes quality at each stage of
education and the system overall. Based on this, some standards will need to be defined and pursued
through development of policies, strategies and plans which target them. The recently completed
National Education Assessment System (NEAS) 2007 points to significant quality deficits and confirms
the widespread perception of the low quality of Pakistan’s education. Improving quality requires action
in the areas of teacher quality, curriculum and pedagogy, textbooks, assessment approaches, and in
learning environment and facilities. In developed countries, close to two thirds of children’s
performance in early schooling depends on factors outside the school, namely on the home
environment, the socio-economic status of parents, parent education particularly the mother’s, and the
learning resources available at home12. Of the remaining one-third, teacher quality and leadership at
school are believed to be the more important factors13. Most of the inputs in the system have an impact
on quality. However, there are six basic pillars that make the major contribution. These are teachers,
curriculum, textbooks, assessments, the learning environment in an institution and relevance of
education to practical life/ employment market.
6.1 IMPROVING TEACHER QUALITY
105. The reform of teaching quality is of the highest priority. There is a consensus amongst all
stakeholders that the quality of teachers in the public sector is unsatisfactory. Poor quality of teacher in
the system in a large number is owed to mutations in governance, an obsolete pre-service training
structure and a less than adequate in-service training regime. Presence of incompetence in such a huge
quantity and permeation of malpractices in the profession have eroded the once exalted position
enjoyed by teachers under the eastern cultural milieu. Teaching has become the employment of last
resort for most educated young persons, especially males.
106. Reform is required in all areas: pre-service training and standardization of qualifications;
professional development; teacher remuneration, career progression and status; and governance and
management of the teaching workforce. The growth of private sector is adding new complexities to the
teaching profession and needs to be taken into account in any reform of the system.
1. A Bachelors degree, with a B.Ed., shall be the minimum requirement for teaching at the
elementary level. A Masters level for the secondary and higher secondary, with a B.Ed.,
shall be ensured by 2018. PTC and CT shall be phased out through encouraging the
present set of teachers to improve their qualifications, while new hiring shall be based on
the advanced criteria. Exceptions shall be made in case of less developed areas where
teachers with relevant qualifications are not available. Diploma in Education (D.Ed) may
be used as an intermediate qualification till B.Ed teachers are available universally.
2. Teacher training arrangements, accreditation and certification procedures shall be
standardised and institutionalised.
Knowledge and Skills for Life: First Results from PISA 2000, OECD, 2001
Teachers Matter: Attracting, Developing and Retaining Effective Teachers, OECD 2005
34 National Education Policy 2009
3. Teacher education curriculum shall be adjusted to the needs of the school curriculum and
scheme of studies. The curriculum shall include training for student-centred teaching,
cross-curricular competencies, and an on-site component.
4. A separate cadre of specialised teacher trainers shall be developed.
5. Governments shall take steps to ensure that teacher recruitment, professional
development, promotions and postings are based on merit alone.
6. All teachers shall have opportunities for professional development through a programme
organized on a three-year cyclic basis. Progress in career shall be linked to such
7. In-service teachers training in mathematics shall be provided, with due attention to
developing conceptual understanding, procedural knowledge, problem solving and
practical reasoning skills.
8. In-service teacher training in science shall be based on real life situations, use of science
kits and provision of science kits to all primary and middle schools.
9. Teacher allocation plans, likewise, shall be based on school needs and qualifications of
teachers. Over the next two years, Governments shall develop a rationalised and needbased
school allocation of teachers, which should be reviewed and modified annually.
10. Provincial and Area Administrations shall develop effective accountability mechanisms,
including EMIS data on teacher deployment, to control absenteeism and multiple jobholding,
11. Institutionalised and standardised in-service teacher training regime shall be established
in those provinces where it has not already been done.
12. In-service training shall cover a wide range of areas: pedagogy and pedagogical content
knowledge; subject content knowledge; testing and assessment practices; multi-grade
teaching, monitoring and evaluation; and programmes to cater to emerging needs like
trainings in languages and ICT.
13. Training needs shall be assessed on the basis of research and training programmes.
14. Governments shall take steps to improve social status and morale of teachers. These
include: up-scaling of teacher salaries as part of establishing a separate teaching cadre
and teaching career; teachers' professional development, and a reward system based on
15. Incentives shall be given to teachers in rural or other hard areas, at least to compensate
for loss in salary through reduction of various allowances given for urban but not for
16. The teaching workforce shall be managed on a truly professional basis, organized as a
Raising the Quality of Education 35
17. In-service teacher training institutions shall emphasise developing the capacity of
teachers and school managers for school development plans, to overcome low
18. Special short term courses for improvement of language skills for rural area teachers
shall be designed.
19. The voice of teachers associations shall be given due consideration in decisions on
collective issues affecting teachers.
20. Government shall aim to draw upon resources from the private sector through publicprivate
partnerships, especially in the areas of teacher education and professional
21. International Development Partners’ resources shall be harnessed within a broad national
programme of teacher improvement for the country as a whole through inter-tier
22. Maximum age limit shall be waived off for recruitment of female teachers.
6.2 CURRICULUM REFORM
107. Curriculum is the guide that delineates the learning path of a student. It also determines the
process of this learning. Normally a curriculum should have the teacher as the centre but textbook
development appears to be the only activity flowing from the curriculum. In the classroom teachers do
not use it, being solely focused on the single textbook assigned to them. Consequently even assessments
are based on this textbook and not the curriculum.
108. The curriculum does not cater to the diverse conditions in the education sector itself (e.g. multigrade
classes), as well as the variations within the geographical breadth of the country. Pakistan is
blessed with a multitude of cultures and topographies. These are not adequately recognized and
assimilated by the education system. In basic primary education the most important missing element is
the diffused focus on the local context. However efforts have been made to overcome the deficiencies
in curriculum development and its translation into meaningful knowledge
109. A comprehensive review of school curricula was initiated in 2005. The Curriculum Wing of the
Ministry of Education, strengthened by professionals from the field, reviewed the scheme of studies in
the first phase. In the second phase, the revised curricula for 25 core subjects (Grades I to XII) were
notified in 2007. The review of remaining subjects as listed in the scheme of studies is in progress and
will continue till December, 2009. Comparison of current curriculum with curricula of different
countries; consultations with teachers, administrators, educationists, curriculum experts and students;
field visits to collect feedback from teachers and stakeholders; identification and training of working
teams through workshops and seminars; reviews of drafts by subject experts and working teachers
leading to further revision and refinement of contents; and preparation of a uniform curriculum format
consisting of standards, benchmarks and learning outcomes were vital parts of the curriculum
1. Curriculum development shall be objectives driven and outcome based. It shall focus on
learning outcomes rather than content. It shall closely reflect important social issues; provide
36 National Education Policy 2009
more room for developing the capacity for self-directed learning, the spirit of inquiry, critical
thinking, problem-solving and team-work.
2. The curriculum development and review process, as well as textbooks review process, shall be
standardised and institutionalised within the framework of the Federal Supervision of
Curricula, Textbooks and Maintenance of Standards of Education Act, 1976.
3. Professional Councils like Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PM&DC) and Pakistan
Engineering Council (PEC) shall be involved in consultations for relevant curriculum
4. Curriculum shall emphasize the fundamental rights guaranteed to the citizens of Pakistan, so
that each individual shall develop within himself/herself and the society at large a civic culture
strong enough to withstand any extra constitutional interference which threatens those rights.
5. Environmental education shall be made an integral part of education.
6. Use of Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) in Education shall be promoted in
line with Ministry of Education’s “National Information and Communication Technology
Strategy for Education in Pakistan”.14
7. ICTs shall be utilized creatively to assist teachers and students with a wide range of abilities
and from varied socio-economic backgrounds.
8. ICTs shall be used to strengthen the quality of teaching and educational management.
9. Emerging trends and concepts such as School Health, Prevention Education against HIV/AIDS
and other infectious diseases, Life Skills Based Education, Population and Development
Education, Human Rights Education including gender equality, School Safety and Disaster and
Risk Management, Peace Education and inter-faith harmony, detection and prevention of child
abuse, etc shall be infused in the curricula and awareness and training materials shall be
developed for students and teachers in this context, keeping in view cultural values and
10. School Health Education and School Safety shall be infused within the curricula and learning
materials with focus on improving school environment, enriching health education content,
instituting regular mechanisms for health screening and health services of students and
nutritional support to needy children in coordination with the Departments of Health,
Environment and Population at the Federal, Provincial and District levels.
11. Entrepreneurial Studies shall be introduced to develop entrepreneurial and business skills in
students of general education, to make them productive and self oriented citizens.
12. There shall be an ongoing feedback and evaluation mechanism so that a continuous
improvement process is institutionalised. Feedback should flow from the primary providers of
education to the curriculum development process with the full involvement of all intermediary
13. Matric-Tech scheme shall be re-introduced at secondary level.
National Information and Communication Technology Strategy for Education in Pakistan developed by
Ministry of Education, GoP in collaboration with USAID assisted Education Sector Reform Assistance (ESRA)
Programme, 2007 http://www.moe.gov.pk/Publications/N...n_Pakistan.pdf
Raising the Quality of Education 37
6.3 QUALITY IN TEXTBOOKS AND LEARNINGMATERIALS
110. Textbooks are a key input towards provision of quality education. Their importance gets more
highlighted where teacher quality is below par. The stakeholders consulted expressed dissatisfaction
with the quality of the textbooks available. In addition to problems of bland writing and presentation,
problems of weak content on local context at the primary level were identified. Pakistan has been
grappling with this situation over the last many years. The lack of quality authors and processes for
development of textbooks limits the ability to develop quality books. To overcome the problem, the
National Education Policy 1998-2010 recommended preparation of multiple textbooks.
111. To operationalise the policy recommendation, the Ministry of Education, in consultation with
Provincial/Area Education Departments, constituted a committee to design and recommend a Textbook
Policy for improvement in Textbooks and Learning Materials. A comprehensive dialogue, involving all
stakeholders, led to the notification of a ‘National Textbooks and Learning Materials Policy and Plan of
Action’ in June 2007.
112. The objective of the exercise was defined as: “Improvement in the quality of education at all
levels through better quality textbooks at affordable prices and other learning materials for promoting
Pakistan as a knowledge-based society…….Choice and competition are major forces in achieving this
objective. Choice on the part of the buyer promotes acquisition of knowledge, empowerment and
participation. Competition on the part of the producer leads to a wider variety of products, improved
quality, availability and better prices”.15
1. A well regulated system of competitive publishing of textbooks and learning materials shall
2. Textbook Boards shall be transformed into competent facilitating, regulating and monitoring
authorities. The Boards shall review and support the process of approval of textbooks for use
in schools in their respective areas of jurisdiction.
3. A Provincial /Area Committee comprising representatives of the education authorities,
Textbook Boards, the private sector, teachers and other stakeholders shall be formed to select
and prescribe textbooks for use in public schools in the respective province or areas of
jurisdiction. Private sector schools shall be free to choose any of the books authorised by the
respective Textbook Board.
4. Federal and Provincial Governments shall arrange for the Textbook Boards to provide
assistance in capacity development for the national and/or provincial publishing industry to
become competitive players in an expanded education publishing market.
5. Government shall ensure availability of quality paper at reasonable cost for printing of
6. As part of the review and approval process, Textbook Boards shall seek a no objection
certificate from Federal Ministry of Education, Curriculum Wing.
7. Federal and Provincial / Area Governments shall increase investments in school libraries and
supplementary reading, teacher guides, teachers’ training and learning materials.
National Textbook & Learning Materials Policy & Plan of Action, Ministry of Education GoP, 2007.
38 National Education Policy 2009
8. An “Inter-Provincial Standing Committee on Textbook Policy” shall be established to
regulate operational and procedural issues, and monitor and coordinate further
implementation processes. Curriculum Wing of Federal Ministry of Education shall be the
secretariat for the Committee and shall be strengthened for the expanded tasks.
9. Implementation of the new system of regulated competitive publishing of textbooks and
learning materials shall start with the introduction of revised National Curricula, and issuance
of notification of the National Education Policy 2009.
10. Textbooks at primary level shall be developed within the context of local cultures.
11. Special textbooks shall be prepared to cater to multi-grade environments. Alternately,
supplementary reading material that helps self-learning must be developed for such
12. Curriculum Wing of Ministry of Education and provincial textbook boards shall ensure
elimination of all types of gender biases from textbooks. Also adequate representation of
females shall be ensured in all curriculum and textbooks review committees.
13. An overall policy shall be developed to increase library usage and improve the quality of
library services in the country
14. In order to promote a reading culture among youth, libraries equipped with modern facilities,
including internet connectivity for online library services, shall be established in elementary,
secondary and higher secondary schools in a phased manner.
15. To ensure improved library services the current career and professional development
structure for librarians shall be reviewed to create a structure that manages to attract and
retain quality human resource in the profession.
16. Immediately, the option of librarians working in education institutions to be declared as
library teachers and library lecturers respectively shall be explored.
17. The network of public libraries shall be extended up to the level of union councils.
18. Mobile library services for rural areas shall be introduced.
19. National Library Foundation shall be established to provide resources for libraries on an
20. Provision for continuing education of library professionals shall be made.
6.4 IMPROVING STUDENT ASSESSMENT
113. Assessment systems are quality measures that cater to a number of requirements of the
education system. These can be used to measure overall system efficiency as well as individual student
performance for movement in the education system. A comprehensive assessment design would
provide feedback for improvements at all tiers starting from changes in the classroom to improvements
in the national systems.
114. Assessment system currently suffers from several deficiencies in promoting quality education.
The one with more sinister outcomes is the practice of rote learning which stops the mental growth of
the child and blocks innovative learning. Efforts have to be made to address this issue and need for
inculcating critical and analytical thinking skills for producing life-long independent learners has to be
emphasized. Assessment mechanism should be such that analytical thinking and critical reflections are
tapped and encouraged.
Raising the Quality of Education 39
115. The recent work of the National Education Assessment System and the Punjab Examination
Commission is pioneering in reforming the system across the country.
1. Education system needs to be internationally competitive and Pakistan shall make efforts to
offer itself for international level academic assessments by 2015, participating in mathematics
and science assessment conducted under the umbrella of Trends in International Mathematics
and Science Study (TIMSS).
2. Student performance shall be based on assessing competence in a specialised area that requires
a given skill set. There shall be periodic reviews of the assessment system.
3. Multiple assessment tools in addition to traditional examinations shall be explored, to ensure
the right balance between the uses of formative assessment approaches combined with the
summative approach of high-stakes examinations.
4. National standards shall be developed to reduce the differences in quality across regions.
Assessment processes shall be standardised to become uniform across the Boards over time, so
that students appearing in examinations under different Boards are assessed against
5. Examination systems shall be standardised to reduce differentials across students appearing in
different boards of examinations, either through gradual reduction of the number of boards or
any other mechanism deemed workable by the province/area government.
6. The Examination boards shall be responsible for capacity building of paper setters and
7. A comprehensive plan shall be prepared to eliminate cheating and use of other unfair means
from examinations including addressing social attitudes towards the issue.
8. A quality cycle management shall link the various systems of assessment and institutions
involved in assessment (examinations, NEAS/ PEACE, continuous assessment) to provide
feedback to curriculum development, textbooks development and teacher education and
6.5 ATTAINING STANDARDS IN THE LEARNING ENVIRONMENT
116. In an average rural area of Pakistan, a five or six years old child walks to the school dreading
what he or she would face. Children are scared of the teacher; for de facto corporal punishment exists in
all provinces, although Punjab has managed some interesting counters .They know that they may have
to sit on cold floor in winters and a hot one in summers provided they are lucky enough to have a
school building otherwise the tree is the only shade available to the children. Toilets are a luxury and
where in some schools they exist, the ratio is extremely poor. These issues are linked to poverty,
irrespective of the locale. Library facilities are very rudimentary and teaching aid material is generally
in short supply. Games, sports and other co-curricular activities such as debating contests, drawing
competitions, skills/arts and crafts training, and cultural activities that positively contribute to the
overall development of school children are missing from most schools. School infrastructure facilities
are highly inadequate, especially in rural areas. In public sector, around 40% of schools are without
boundary walls, 36% without drinking water facilities, 61% without electricity, 39% without sanitary
facilities and 6% without any buildings.16
16 Findings from Pakistan Education Statistics 2007-08, AEPAM- Ministry of Education, GoP
40 National Education Policy 2009
117. One element of the learning environment consists of teacher-student relationship. Although
firm data is not available, anecdotal evidence suggests that corporal punishment exists in all provinces.
1. A framework setting out the basic standards for school facilities and teaching aid
materials including playground shall be established by 2012 and shall form the basis for
allocation of funds.
2. Federal government shall provide necessary resources to less developed areas for
provision of missing basic facilities in all education institutions.
3. A concept of service to the society shall be introduced.
4. Student-teacher ratios shall be standardized and enforced at school level
5. Multi-grade teaching shall be eliminated by recruiting need based teachers and
simultaneously providing training to in-service teachers on multi-grade methodologies
till removal of teachers’ shortage in the system.
6. An awareness campaign against corporal punishment shall be initiated and teachers shall
be held accountable for violations.
7. A study for analyzing the impact of modern media on children with a view to realize its
potential to help in attaining the objectives of the education system shall be undertaken.
This must encapsulate the negative impacts and the possible ways to mitigate them.
6.6 CO-CURRICULAR AND EXTRA-CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES
118. Co-curricular and extra-curricular activities traditionally were a focus of most of the schools.
While co-curricular activities are linked to curriculum, though these fall outside the routine classroom
activity; extra-curricular activities go beyond the set curriculum. Over the years, the emphasis on both
has been reduced due to various reasons, including lack of resources and unavailability of teachers.
119. An important component of students’ health and mental development is sports. Most schools,
especially at the primary level, do not have the ability to provide sports options to children. In case of
high schools, playgrounds exist in the relatively older establishments, but sports equipment is lacking.
Poor sports facilities are a major complaint against private schools as most of these are housed in small
buildings. It has come out as a major area of neglect.
1. All schools shall establish a school mission that assists students in achieving their learning
potential and personality development as the key goals. Pursuant to this, co-curricular and
extra-curricular activities shall be made a mandatory part of the entire learning process.
2. Standards shall be developed for co-curricular and extra-curricular activities, including
scouting, for all levels of education by all provincial and area governments.
3. Sports activities shall be organized at the Secondary, Higher Secondary, College and
4. A system for monitoring of sports and co-curricular/ extra-curricular activities shall be
established by all provincial and area governments.
Raising the Quality of Education 41
5. A special Cell shall be established in the Ministry of Education for this purpose. Higher
Education Commission will look after all such activities at the Universities’ level.
6. All schools, colleges and equivalent institutions and above shall create sports facilities or
get affiliated with sports grounds.
7. In order to streamline sport activities in all educational institutions, a Steering Committee
comprising representatives from Education and Sports Ministries/ Departments at Federal
and Provincial levels, as well as representatives from Pakistan Olympics Association and
Pakistan Sports Board, shall be constituted.
8. To provide incentive and to encourage development of Sports at grassroots level, quota (as
determined by respective provincial/area governments) for admission to educational
institutions on sports basis shall be enforced and a transparent mechanism shall be devised
for this purpose.
9. Sports Fund collected from students shall only be used for the purposes of promotion and
development of Sports.
10. Every School to participate in minimum of four sports. Each College shall have its own
four to six teams including Athletics.
11. All schools to organize Sports/PT periods in line with approved scheme of studies 2006.
12. Regular summer camps in various sports disciplines shall be arranged by educational
institutions, during the summer vacations.
13. Annual inter-schools, inter-colleges and inter-universities sports competitions shall be held
regularly in all Provinces/Areas.
14. Performance and interest in sports and other co-curricular activities to be reflected in
annual confidential reports (ACRs) of Heads of Educational Institutions.
15. Incentives would be offered to Heads of Institutions, performing well in sports and other
co-curricular activities at all levels.
16. A code of conduct shall be established which shall enable students unions, as and when
restored, to participate in healthy activities without affecting the environment of the
6.7 MATCHING WITH THE EMPLOYMENT MARKET
1. Courses at the secondary and higher secondary level shall be reviewed with a view to
making them more relevant to the needs of the employment market in order to better
prepare those students not planning further studies.
2. A study shall be conducted to evaluate the impact of technical matriculation and explore
ways of introducing an improved system of technical and vocational education at high
school level. The stream shall offer two-way link with the academic stream and also
provide links to a revamped vocational and technical sector at higher levels.
3. Approaches shall be found to provide students with a window to the world of work. This
could involve short assignments with the local enterprises and institutions or “job
shadowing’ approaches to familiarise students with the work environment.
42 National Education Policy 2009
4. Career guidance and counselling shall be introduced at secondary and upper secondary
levels, if not in each school, at least for school clusters. This shall involve local employers
in providing information about job openings and the nature of work requirements.
-* - * - *-
Strengthening Skill Development and Innovation 43
Strengthening Skill Development and Innovation
120. Pakistan has a large population and therefore a comparative advantage in labour costs.
However low skill levels dampen the potential of the labour force to significantly contribute to
economic growth. The deficit permeates all sectors: industry, agriculture, services, commerce.
Improvements in the skill levels of the human capital will increase efficiency and competitiveness of
the local industry, attract international investment and allow overseas employment of Pakistanis
generating a flow of foreign remittances.
121. The formal Technical and Vocational Education (TVE) system is not a major supplier of skills
to the country’s labour market. As a structure it suffers from rigidities that fail to cater to the dynamism
required by the market. Secondly the structure does not factor in local requirements that vary across
geographic units i.e. provinces, districts, tehsils. It is critical that skill development and market
7.1 TECHNICAL EDUCATION AND VOCATIONAL TRAINING
122. Like all other sectors of education in Pakistan, TVE also suffers from issues of access as well
as quality. While theoretically it caters to the market needs, practically it meets a very small portion of
the demand. In most countries, the relative share of the applied segment of the tertiary sector is higher
than the 18.5% in Pakistan. Hence, the base of technical and vocational skills provided to the economy
in Pakistan is narrow. The inadequate quality stems from both a smaller number of total years of
preparation and limitations of the curriculum, compared to the more advanced systems as well as the
issue of availability of quality instructors.
123. The parts of pre-independence India which became part of Pakistan had a very low industrial
base, inheriting only 4% of the total industrial sector. Pakistan progressed rapidly in the 50s from this
low base that continued to early 60s. To meet the requirements of a growing manufacturing sector,
technical and vocational training systems were expanded and strengthened. However, after the initial
success subsequent investment in the sector failed to keep pace with the changes in the market
124. On the demand side, jobs in the public sector continued to be a priority. Most of these jobs did
not require specialized skills and even a general matriculation certificate with no technical or vocational
content was deemed satisfactory to fill the junior level administrative and service jobs. The academic
degrees of Bachelors of Arts and Masters of Arts were sufficient to fill the requirements for higher level
jobs. This tradition has largely been maintained since Independence, even though the economic
structure of the country has changed significantly. The demand-pull effects have had limited effect on
125. On the supply side, the certificate and diploma programmes do not seem to have a progression
ladder into higher level skills. They do not provide entry claims into the tertiary sector with credit
recognition in both the academic and applied streams. In addition to this blocked forward linkage, the
backward linkage with apprentice training in the traditional sector is missing. There is no provision
whereby the traditional apprenticeship experience in the non-formal sector could be assessed and
certified for entry into the formal sector of vocational education. The current TVE certificate stream is
too narrow in its scope and does not cover the large variety of skills training that takes place in the
44 National Education Policy 2009
traditional sector. Two way cross-over between the academic and the applied / professional streams is
lacking in the system. The absence of a well-articulated qualifications system is a major structural
126. The problem of a fragmented structure of governance, endemic to the education sector, also
plagues the technical and vocational sub-sector. Many institutions and jurisdictions are involved in
governance of this field without a clear demarcation of their respective responsibilities. There is no
focal point for coherent planning for the sector.
127. At the same time, the voices of important stakeholders, such as the business sector, are not
adequately considered while shaping the content, structures and certification of study programmes. The
TVE sector does not benefit from good collaboration and input from the business sector, such as for
updating its equipments and teaching materials. Resultantly, there are perennial complaints from
employers about the substandard quality of the skills available in the market.
128. The Policy recognises the high importance of developing a broad-based and high quality sector
for providing technical skills. As the manufacturing and services sectors have expanded, skill
requirements of the country have diversified as well, and there are needs for technical and vocational
skills even in the traditional sector as it adopts more productive techniques of production. The technical
intensity of production processes will increase as new technologies become more pervasive, thereby
raising the demand for TVE skills of a higher quality.
129. In a global environment that permits easy flow of investments and people, the TVE sector in
Pakistan needs to have a forward looking supply strategy of producing a sophisticated skill base.
Pakistan has a comparative advantage in the labour market due to its population size. Unfortunately it
has so far failed to optimally benefit from this endowment. In comparison, India has developed a wider
and more qualified skill base to the point that it can export high value added services. The forecasted
demographic transition over the next few years shows the young population of 15-24 years to grow and
peak in 2015. The current global talent deficit is expected to expand rapidly and Pakistan needs to be
well poised to benefit from this expanding demand. This is an opportunity for the TVE to substantively
contribute to the country’s growth potential.
130. While Technical Education and Vocational Training need distinct treatment, this chapter deals
with the sector as a whole. As far as Vocational Training is concerned various experiments in the
country have not succeeded and most reform proposals invite controversy. A major deficit has been
absence of focused research into the causes of this failure and potential remedies. During the
consultations for the policy some of the issues that appeared were:
Schools did not have enough budget to meet the equipment requirements for sustaining
Adequately skilled teachers for these programmes were not available.
The curricula assume prototypes that did not cater to differentials in market
requirements across districts or other geographic divides like rural-urban, etc.
131. The Policy addresses three principal problems faced by the sector: (i) its weak linkages with
other education sectors and the labour market, (ii) deficiencies in the governance of the sector; and (iii)
the need to expand supply of technical skills of good quality.
Strengthening Skill Development and Innovation 45
1. Inputs of all stakeholders like Industrial/Agricultural/Service sectors etc. shall be
institutionalized to ensure their inclusion in all current and future reforms of TVE to enable
the sector to meet market needs.
2. Skills Standards and Curriculum should be developed and standardized at the national
3. The TVE curriculum shall be developed in standardized modules for each trade to
eliminate differentials across various training institutions to provide opportunities to the
trainees for horizontal/vertical mobility and also help in assessment and certification of
apprentices in non-formal sectors for their entry into formal vocational/technical sectors.
4. TVE shall be extended according to the need of the area i.e. Tehsil, District and Division.
5. Skills-based vocational training courses, relevant to the local labour market, shall be
offered to the graduates of literacy programmes by the National Education Foundation,
provincial/ area literacy department/ directorate and relevant NGOs.
6. Level-wise prerequisites for entry as a teacher in TVE shall be defined and Teacher
professional development shall be focused as an ongoing process.
7. Terms and conditions of service for TVE teachers shall be compatible with market demand
of their services and skills.
8. Local conditions and requirements must be considered while making any recommendation
for replication of TVE models, implemented in other countries.
9. A study to evaluate failures of vocational training interventions at school level shall be
commissioned to make more realistic recommendations, including cost requirements, for
making it part of general education up to Secondary School Level.
10. Technical and vocational education institutions shall particularly focus on agro-based
vocational skills to deal with both agriculture and livestock.
11. Curricula for vocational education shall allow flexibility for adaptation in accordance with
the requirements of local market, including absorption of future changes in the market.
12. Technical education institutions before offering (if planning to offer) degree programmes,
shall also seek clearance from Pakistan Engineering Council before launching such
13. Governments shall take practical measures to remove social taboos attached to TVE and
promote dignity of work in line with teachings of Islam.
7.2 POSSIBLE STRATEGIES
132. National Vocational and Technical Education Commission (NAVTEC) has already prepared a
set of strategies for this sector. These provide a basis for development of implementation plans for the
technical and vocational sector. The above policy actions in conjunction with these strategies will
assist in development of implementation plans. Most strategic options given by NAVTEC appear as a
46 National Education Policy 2009
natural progression from the above policy actions. Some of the strategic options that have a clear link
to the above policy actions are given below (the list is inclusive and other strategic options in NAVTEC
document are also relevant to the implementation process of NEP):
1. A National Qualifications Framework (NQF) shall be established in consultation with
professional bodies (like PEC, PM&DC, ICAP etc.) along with a changed programme
structure that encompasses all qualifications in the country, both academic and
vocational/technical. The NQF shall be competency based and provide entry points and
progression routes throughout the structure of qualifications. In particular, it shall provide
the possibilities of two-way cross-over between the academic and the applied streams,
with clearly mapped out recognition of credit points for each competency level.
2. The business sector, in particular, shall be included in advising on the course and
programme content, and in providing training positions and job shadowing opportunities
for students in the applied streams. The business sector could also help teachers by giving
specialised lectures and short training programmes.
3. All administrative jurisdictions and stakeholders shall be involved in a consultative
process to develop the NQF programme. Expertise shall be sought from countries that
have applied the NQF approach in recent years.
4. To address the problem of fragmented governance structures, a coordination mechanism
between higher education, school education and technical, vocational education shall be
5. Government shall develop a suitable framework for technical and scientific education and
training with close involvement of Chambers of Commerce and Industry.
6. Teacher training in the industries during vacation period every year for improvement of
technical know-how on technological changes shall be initiated.
7. Commerce stream shall also be introduced under technical education and vocational
8. A University of Technology shall be established at the national level
9. Public Private Partnerships (PPP) shall be strengthened in this area.
10. A regular tracking system shall be instituted for graduates to get feedback on relevancy.
11. B.Tech technologists should also be registered by the Pakistan Engineering Council
12. Vocational training facilities, Polytechnic Institute and Colleges of Technology shall be
established on need basis.
-* - * - *-
Higher Education 47
133. Good quality, merit-oriented, equitable and efficient higher education is the most crucial
instrument for translating the dream of a knowledge-based economy into reality. The tertiary sector
contributes as well in the attainment of social goals of developing civic responsibility, social cohesion
and a more tolerant society. An important function of higher education is research through which it
contributes to the innovation process, economic growth, sustainable development and social cohesion.
134. The Higher Education Commission (HEC) was created to serve as the apex body for all matters
pertaining to policy, plans, programs, standards, funding and oversight of higher education in the
country and transform the higher education sector to serve as an engine of growth for the socioeconomic
development in the country. The HEC is responsible to formulate policies, guiding principles
and priorities for higher education institutions for promotion of socio-economic development of the
country, funding of higher education institutions, accreditation and quality assurance of academic
programs and preparation of plans for the development of higher education and express its opinion on
all matters relating thereto.
135. Enhancing equitable access to higher education remains a formidable challenge for the higher
education sector in Pakistan. Although significant achievements have been recorded with an
enhancement in access to higher education rising from 2.2% of the 18 to 23 year age cohort in 2002 to
over 4.7% in 2008, participation rates remain low compared to India (7%) and Malaysia (12%).
136. Low allocation of per capita expenditure to students in the higher education sector continues as
a challenge facing the sector, especially since taking into consideration the ever increasing demands for
resources to support the rapidly evolving scientific fields. To address the requirements of the country it
is necessary to focus on enhanced provision of scientific education relevant to the needs of the
agricultural and industrial sectors. Provision of adequate resources to provide infrastructure including
libraries, laboratories, scientific equipment, teaching aids, and high speed internet connection remains a
137. Provision of quality education requires a mechanism for internal and external evaluation of
quality parameters. In this regards it is necessary to ensure that program and university accreditation
mechanisms are instituted that are compatible with international best practices and provide complete
transparency of operation leading to enhanced provision of quality education.
138. The scale, quality and institutional arrangements of the higher education sector must be able to
support and encourage innovation in the economy and domestic and international funding support. The
challenge is to enhance the R&D capacity to achieve knowledge transmission to the productive sector
through university-industry partnerships.
139. On the governance side, the academic and administrative management of Colleges remains an
unresolved issue since the degrees are awarded by the universities while the administrative control of
colleges themselves lies with the provincial governments.
48 National Education Policy 2009
8.2 STRATEGIC VISION
140. While preparing a response to the challenges faced in transforming the higher education sector
in Pakistan to respond to domestic and global socio-economic challenges it needs to be recognized that:
1. Faculty is the heart and soul of the university, and without an active and well qualified faculty
it will not be possible to have meaningful development in this sector.
2. Faculty development cannot be viewed in isolation and must be considered together with the
development of an environment conducive to academics, as well as research and development
in the universities. Faculty development programmes must also address factors pertaining to
retention of qualified faculty in the public sector higher education institutions.
3. Institutions of higher learning are knowledge repositories whose faculty and students acquire
knowledge and apply it to understand and address "local" issues.
4. An integral role of higher education institutions is in assisting policy making and serving as
"think tanks” to the public and private sectors.
5. In line with the worldwide paradigm shift from "Teaching" to "Learning", programs of study
will focus on ensuring maximal absorption of subject matter by the students.
6. Faculty training in pedagogical, communication and ICT skills is required at all levels to
enhance the efficiency of teaching in higher education.
7. The higher education system and institutions must accord high priority to ensuring the quality
of services and quality of outcomes. Internal quality assurance processes of higher education
institutions must be strengthened to conform to international standards of quality assurance.
8. While building the higher education sector priority should be given to recognizing excellence
and supporting it.
9. To ensure that reform initiatives are aligned with development objectives, the engagement of
key stakeholders of the higher education sector in the decision making processes is of utmost
importance, particularly in ensuring the relevance of educational and research programmes to
10. Changing innovation processes and the evolution of the relative contribution made by the
private and public sectors have emphasized the need for strong industry-university linkages,
allowing both sectors to interact and collaborate on joint projects.
11. Engineers build nations and engineering education must receive priority, especially in
engineering disciplines of immediate economic relevance to major industry sectors such as a)
Information and Computerization Technology, b) Energy Sector, c) Mining, d) Construction, e)
Textiles, f) Manufacturing, g) Nanotechnology and Engineering Design.
12. In the modern global knowledge-economy, employers increasingly look up to universities and
colleges to deliver the well-educated workforce they require in the form of articulate, flexible,
and readily employable graduates to remain competitive.
13. Graduates of the higher education system must have the ability to communicate effectively both
in reading and in writing.
Higher Education 49
14. In the rapidly changing global economy, the employment market constantly requires new and
different skills, requiring mechanisms to be enhanced to allow professionals to upgrade their
skills at regular intervals and develop new competencies through lifelong learning. Higher
education institutions are required, therefore, to offer learning opportunities in response to
diverse demands and work cooperatively with stakeholders to ensure that appropriate courses
are readily available.
15. Brain Drain is a daunting problem for Pakistan. Whilst it is essential to encourage mobility as a
source of intellectual enrichment, measures are to be introduced to encourage Pakistanis to
return to their country of origin and to participate in its economic, social and cultural
16. The Higher Education sector is a major contributor to innovation. Universities and colleges
through local, regional, national and international partnerships must share their expertise and
facilities to support socioeconomic regeneration and growth.
17. Knowledge creation and diffusion are increasingly important drivers of innovation, sustainable
economic growth and social well-being. Research is to be reaffirmed as a fundamental activity
of institutions. The establishment and long term sustainability of a dynamic research sector in
universities, that engages stakeholders in its activities, is central to achieving economic
18. It is widely recognized that transferring knowledge effectively is often as important as original
scholarship. Incentives are to be provided to ensure that scientists who innovate and develop
novel applications, addressing local needs, receive recognition and support.
19. It is imperative that award of Ph.D. degrees should signify original contribution to the world
body of knowledge as certified by international experts.
20. The delivery of quality education and research is the core responsibility of each institution of
21. Universities and institutions of higher learning and research play a catalytic role in the
economic development of the region in which they are located. Development projects should
therefore be initiated with a vision of sustainable economic development in the region in which
the Institution is located.
22. It is essential to provide equitable and enhanced access to higher education for underrepresented
groups. The strategy here will be two-faceted: firstly to promote cultural change in
instilling the value of higher education amongst citizens; and secondly to tackle the primary
barrier of prohibitive costs of higher education. Distance education and open learning can play
a major role in widening access.
23. Extensive access to higher education will first require optimal usage of existing physical
infrastructure. It will be necessary however to invest in equipment, laboratory facilities and
space to cater to the demand of enhanced enrolment.
24. Modern information and communications technologies (ICT) are essential to enhancing
efficiency, efficacy and impact of programmes of development in the higher education sector.
25. Allied with the increased demands on higher education by its customers and stakeholders, the
sector faces growing expectations from government and society as a whole. With increased
50 National Education Policy 2009
appropriation of public funds towards Higher Education come growing demands for
transparency and that those financial allocations are well-targeted.
26. Movements in the global knowledge-society will require universities to develop into diverse,
flexible, self-analytical and adaptable enterprises. Only a sector that is actively engaged in
meeting the needs of its stakeholders will be adequately prepared to respond to the accelerated
pace of change the global markets will inevitably undergo in the 21st Century.
141. The realization of the strategic vision and implementation of proposed policy actions will
require the availability of adequate financial resources. It is imperative to enhance the funds available to
the education sector to 7% of GDP by 2015 as well as to enhance the proportion of this budget available
to the higher education sector to 20% of the education budget. The Policy endorses the main plans of
the Medium Term Development Framework (2005-10) of the Higher Education Commission, while
suggesting additional action that are consistent with the Framework.
1. Steps shall be taken to raise enrolment in higher education sector from existing 4.7% to 10% by
2015 and 15% by 2020.
2. Investment in higher education shall be increased to 20% of the education budget along with an
enhancement of the total education budget to 7% of GDP.
3. A two-fold strategy for R&D promotion at universities shall be pursued. In the first case, basic
research in the universities and research institutions shall focus on building the capacity to
conduct and absorb cutting edge research. The second strand shall be a focus on knowledge
mobilization - that is, transmission of research knowledge through various forms of universityindustry
partnerships and incubator programmes and science parks to the business sector. This
commercialization strategy aims at assisting the innovation process of the economy.
4. Competitive research grants for funding must be available to ensure that the best ideas in areas
of importance are recognized, and allowed to develop.
5. Opportunities for collaboration with the world scholarly community should be provided for
both post-graduate students and faculty.
6. Tenure Track system of appointment of faculty members will be institutionalized.
7. ICT must be effectively leveraged to deliver high quality teaching and research support in
higher education, both on-campus and using distance education, providing access to technical
and scholarly information resources, and facilitating scholarly communication between
researchers and teachers.
8. Additional television channels should be dedicated to the delivery of high-quality distance
9. Faculty development doctoral and post-doctoral scholarships shall be awarded to meritorious
students for pursuing their studies both in Pakistan and abroad.
10. For promoting quality in its teaching function, universities shall specialise in particular areas,
rather than each university attempting to cover the whole range of programmes.
Higher Education 51
11. A continuous professional development (CPD) programme shall be designed for College and
university teachers. The CPD, among other things, shall include the practice of subject-wise
refresher courses for college teachers; Provinces/Area education departments shall ensure
training of college teachers in pedagogical skills and educational administration.
12. Universities shall develop quality assurance programmes, which include peer evaluation
including foreign expertise.
13. Ranking system of the universities shall be made more broad-based, including parameters that
directly reflect the quality of learning.
14. Need-based scholarship programs shall be developed and instituted to enhance equitable access
to higher education.
15. Campuses of existing universities shall be established in second and third tier cities to facilitate
the spread of higher education.
16. Recognizing the importance of social sciences in developing better social understanding,
transmission of civic and cultural values and the potential to reduce conflict, universities shall
pay greater attention to this area in their research function.
17. A broad-based education system must be developed to ensure that graduates have not only
mastered their respective areas of specialization but are also able to effectively interact with
people having a wide variety of backgrounds.
18. Universities shall introduce integrated four-year Bachelor degree programmes.
19. Existing standardization of libraries and library professionals shall be reviewed keeping in view
latest developments in the field of medical, engineering, information technology and other
fields of professional and higher education to support academic work and research.
20. The lecturers selected through the Public Service Commissions shall be required to get at least
six months pre-service training/ diploma in teaching methodologies, communication skills,
research and assessment techniques, so as to equip them with necessary teaching skills to
undertake the job.
21. Universities shall develop standards for colleges affiliated with them and these must then be
categorized accordingly. Colleges falling below a certain level must be warned and eventually
22. Accreditation councils will be established to allow accreditation of undergraduate programs in
the respective disciplines for which these councils are established.
23. Science-based education at the bachelor’s level, including professional degree programmes,
shall contain subjects in social sciences to allow the graduates to develop a more balanced
24. Research linked to local industry, commerce, agriculture etc. shall be encouraged to support
these areas through indigenous solutions and create linkages between academia and the market.
25. In order to ensure adherence to minimum standards of quality by all universities/ degree
awarding institutions, the HEC shall develop a process for periodic reassessment of various
52 National Education Policy 2009
programmes offered by institutions with regard to renewal of their degree awarding status. This
provision shall be applicable to both public and private sector universities.
26. Universities shall be encouraged to develop split-degree programmes in collaboration with
foreign universities of good repute.
27. Universities of technology should be established to produce technologists required by industry.
28. National Centres in areas of economic importance should be identified and strengthened to
contribute and compete at an international level.
29. Institutions of higher learning should be encouraged and supported to generate intellectual
property that is duly protected.
30. It is necessary to focus on implementation excellence, which will require adoption of modern
project management and reporting techniques as well as computerized financial management
-* - * - *-
Implementation Framework 53
142. Development of detailed implementation plans, priorities and strategies is the key to success of
the National Education Policy. This is exclusively the task of the provincial and district governments.
However, to facilitate the process and develop a clear path and mechanism, an overall framework for
implementation is being recommended here. The final detailed implementation plans will flow from
these conceptual bases.
143. In summary, after the NEP is agreed to by all federating units, it will become a jointly owned
national document. Each province and area will develop implementation strategies and plans according
to its own priorities (including current ongoing activities). At the Federal level, the Ministry of
Education will collate the plans of the federating units to develop a national picture of educational
progress in Pakistan for reporting to international fora and more importantly, presenting it to the Inter
Provincial Education Ministers’ Conference- the highest body to oversee development of education in
144. The National Education Policy (NEP) 2008 analyses problems and issues hampering the
development of education in Pakistan, and outlines a wide range of reforms and policy actions to be
taken and pursued in a coordinated federal – inter-provincial axis. The NEP thus outlines what is to be
done. The NEP does not deal with who will do what, how will something be done, and when is
something done? Past national education policy documents, with some exceptions, largely remained
declarations of intent and were not followed up by an effective implementation. Even where
implementation did take place, there was no complete process for monitoring and feedback.
145. To prevent failure of this policy an implementation framework, with a follow up and feedback
mechanism, shall be developed. The basic principles were agreed in the 13th Meeting of Inter-Provincial
Education Ministers (IPEM) held on 9th May, 2008 in Islamabad. The meeting decided and directed that
“An Action Plan will be developed by each Province/Area and collated at the Federal level”.
146. The purpose of the Action Plan shall be to outline, create an understanding and achieve
consensus across the federating units as well as within each province and area, on who will be
responsible and who will do what, how will it be done (implementation process, organizational set-up,
interaction of working groups and advisory panels), and when would something be done (priorities and
9.2 POLICY AS A LIVING ADAPTABLE DOCUMENT
147. In recent decades a tradition of time bound policy documents has been established. This
contradicts the reality of education which is an ongoing and living process. To reflect this reality, the
current document has not been bounded by a time frame. It will be subject to changes as and when
ground realities demand review of specific area or areas discussed in the document. Time frames will
17 In pursuance of the decisions taken in the 13th Meeting of Inter-Provincial Education Ministers
(IPEM) held on 9th May, 2008 in Islamabad
54 National Education Policy 2009
be determined by the implementation plans and not by policy except where Pakistan is committed to
International agreements. In short, periodic revision of the National Education Policy will be replaced
by a continuous cycle of review. After the policy is agreed, and the implementation process begins, the
policy will be revised in the light of need identified through feedback from the implementers.
148. Implementation is conceived as a continuous process of review, implementation, monitoring,
feedback and adjustments as considered and agreed necessary during the course of implementation. The
diagram given below depicts the implementation process:
NEP Reform Process
149. The diagram shows the process as continuous. After the approval of the revised policy the
implementation and feedback will define review. Post-policy plans of actions will be prepared by the
provinces that will be incorporated in the provincial sector plans. The next step will be implementation.
As implementation takes place there might be identification of problems with the policy or the ground
realities may change. In either case, there will be a need to revisit the policy. It is here that instead of
revising the entire document the relevant portion will be revised based on feedback from the field. The
revision will have to be approved by the IPEM before incorporation into the policy document.
Implementation plans will be adjusted accordingly.
150. The Inter-Provincial Education Ministers’ (IPEM) Conference, with the Policy and Planning
Wing of the Ministry of Education functioning as IPEM’s federal secretariat, shall be overall
responsible for facilitating, steering and monitoring the process.
9.3 IPEM TO OVERSEE PROGRESS
151. The highest level of monitoring shall be through a national framework that will involve all the
federating units and the federal government as partners. The forum of the Inter-Provincial Education
Ministers’ Conference (IPEM) shall, therefore, be the highest body to oversee and guide educational
development in the country (as articulated in this NEP document). Technical level teams, from the
federal government as well as the provinces/areas, shall support this forum.
Plans of action
for reforms prepared
reviewed & revised
IPEM Provinces/Areas Provinces/Areas Provinces/Areas
Implementation Framework 55
152. The Inter-Provincial Education Ministers’ Conference has traditionally managed federal-interprovincial
coordination in the education sector. It primarily looks at educational issues which have
inter-provincial or federal-provincial implications. National Education Policy proposes to enhance the
role to make it the highest body to oversee educational development in the country; consequently giving
it the role of monitoring and review of the Policy. At this point of time, it remains, primarily, a
voluntary body with no specific rules and procedures to guide its functioning.
153. To perform its current role as well as that of overseeing implementation of the National
Education Policy, the policy has proposed IPEM’s institutionalisation and strengthening without
infringement of the respective roles of the federal and provincial governments envisaged in the 1973
Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
154. The role of IPEM will not hinder the role of provincial governments in monitoring. In fact,
these will remain fundamental to progress. For reporting to IPEM Inter-tier joint reviews will be
arranged and external independent reviews commissioned where problems and issues come up. Regular
feedback will provide information upwards from the schools through the lower organs to the
Province/Area and further upwards to the Inter-Provincial Education Ministers Conference (IPEM).
9.4 PROVINCIAL AUTONOMY AND OWNERSHIP
155. Ownership and active participation of all stakeholders and tiers shall be essential and will be
incorporated into processes right from the onset. Emphasis will be laid throughout the process on interprovincial
exchange and mutual learning of concepts and reform approaches already developed by a
province or area. As a principle, modalities and time schedules for implementation of a particular area
of reform may vary from province to province within the overall common framework.
156. It is re-emphasised that the policy shall be implemented and monitored within the principles of
provincial autonomy and ownership of the process. The federating units remain the key actors. It will
be up to each province and area to develop implementation plans, procedures and priorities. Each
province will also develop mechanisms to monitor implementation.
9.5 ROLE OF DEVELOPMENT PARTNERS
157. Once the provincial implementation plans are prepared and the national one collated, the
development partners will be able to use it as an indicator of governments’ priorities and also
identification of their own area(s) of interest and support. The provincial governments will be in a better
position to coordinate the work of all development partners and guide the process of educational
development without issues of harmonisation. It will also help the Federal government and planning
organizations at both the federal and provincial levels to focus resources. Development partners will
also be co-opted into the feedback mechanism on implementation and consequent review.
* * * * *
56 National Education Policy 2009
The State of Pakistan’s Education 57
The State of Pakistan’s Education
1. Taking stock of the current situation is an indispensable part of any policy development
exercise as a mean of identifying areas of policy intervention. This chapter provides a brief review of
Pakistan’s education system through indicators of access, equity, quality, resources, and structure of the
education system. The latest available profile is complemented by information on how some of the
indicators have evolved over the recent years. The chapter also provides a comparison with a selected
group of countries that could be regarded as benchmark or reference countries.
A. ACCESS TO EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES
2. Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) for Early Childhood Education (ECE) rose quite remarkably
from 36% of all children aged 3-4 years in 2001-02 to 91% in 2005-0618 and 99% in 2007-0819. This is
significant progress, and the EFA mid-term targets for ECE have been met, although there remain
questions about the quality of provision in so-called “Katchi” class.
3. There was considerable progress as well, at the primary level, where the Gross Enrolment Ratio
rose from 71% for 2001-02 to 84% in 2005-06 and 90% in 2007-08. Progress is evident in the Net
Enrolment Ratio (NER) as well, which measures enrolment as a percentage of all children in the
required grade-specific age. Primary School NER rose from 57% in 2001-02 to 66% in 2005-06 and
70% in 2007-08. There has been good progress in cutting down the drop-out rates in public sector,
which fell from 43% in 2001-02 to 28% in 2005-06, but again jumped to 41% during 2007-08 for the
Primary education. Despite the oscillating progress, the 66% rate is below mid-term NER target (79%
4. Participation at the secondary school level has also improved: the GER and the NER rose,
respectively, from their levels in 2001-02 of 24% and 20%, respectively, to reach 31% and 24% in
2005-06 and exactly same in 2007-08.. Enrolment ratio in tertiary education, which was 2.2% for 2002,
rose significantly to its 3.7% level in 2005-06 and 4.7% in 2008.
5. During 2005-06, literacy rate for all adults of 15 years and above rose to 51.7% & 53.5%
during 2007-08 and for young adults (aged 15-24 years) to 67% in 2005-06 & 68% in 2007-08. Both
these rates show improvements from their 2001-02 levels, of 43% and 62% respectively20.
6. Despite the progress, participation and attainment levels during 2005-06 and 2007-08 are
disappointingly low. Almost one-third of primary school age children remain out of school, a
proportion that rises to about three-quarters for secondary school children. Clearly, Pakistan is some
distance away from achieving universal schooling, even at the primary level.
18Values of EFA indicators for the years 2001-02 and 2005-06 have been taken from Education for All: Mid
Decade Assessment, Country Report: Pakistan, Statistical Analysis, Ministry of Education, Government of
Pakistan, Islamabad, 2007
19 All values for the year 2007-08 are provisional, derived from Pakistan Education Statistics 2007-08 , AEPAMMinistry
of Education, Government of Pakistan,2009 and subject to change/ review on finalization of data
Education for All: Mid Decade Assessment, Country Report: Pakistan, Statistical Analysis, Ministry of
Education, Government of Pakistan, Islamabad, 2007
58 National Education Policy 2009
7. An equal concern is that except for ECE, Pakistan’s performance on GER and NER lags behind
its neighbours from the primary level and above. The performance on primary completion rate is
particularly weak, and Pakistan’s adult literacy rate (49.9%) is lower than the rate for countries like Sri
Lanka (90.7%), Iran (82.4%), Indonesia (90.4%), Vietnam (90.3%), Egypt (71.4%) and India (61%) for
8. Low access rates can also be attributed to the lack of confidence in the public sector schools to
deliver quality education which has convinced parents either to shift their children to private schools or
absorb additional financial burden by arranging private tuitions. If neither is affordable the households
prefer to have their children drop out from school and join income earning activities. The average
student of the public sector education system cannot compete in the job market. This leads to social
exclusion of the already poor. The decline has primarily resulted from political interference and corrupt
practices in recruitments, transfers and postings. Teacher absenteeism, ghost schools, cheating in
examinations are a widespread phenomenon. Primary sufferers are the most poor and underprivileged
in the system. Those who make it to higher education in the public sector cannot get employment due to
absence of merit or poor quality of their educational abilities.
B. EQUITY IN EDUCATION
9. The averages for Pakistan, noted above, mask large differences in access across gender, ethnic
minorities, provinces, regions and rural-urban divides. This results in weaker performance on equitable
distribution of educational opportunities. It is common knowledge, as well as a proven outcome of
many studies that discrimination exists in the education system in various forms. The inequity has been
the result of poor implementation and social customs. Over the years, little attention has been paid to
rectify the situation. The issue of equity runs through the entire education system and has serious
implications for sustainable and equitable development in the country. Unless the issue is seriously
recognized and assessed in all its manifestations, a realistic policy to reprieve the situation will not
10. Data reported below, which are limited to gender and rural - urban and provincial disparities
show that females and pupils in rural areas face systematic disadvantage at all levels of education. The
intersection of these dispersions compounds the disadvantage for some groups; the disadvantage faced
by female students becomes multiplied if the female student happens to be in a low performing
province or region.
B1. The Gender Dimension
11. In 2005-06, the Gender Parity Index (GPI) for primary education was below the parity level,
0.82 and 0.85 in 2007-08 for both GER and NER. These figures showed significant improvements from
their 2001-02 figures of 0.7222. The Index falls for the secondary level to 0.77 in 2005-06 and 0.77 in
2007-08 (GER and NER) but, again, registers improvement from their 2001-02 level of 0.73. Despite
improvements, it is evident that girls continue to face significant disadvantage in access as they reach
adulthood. The situation improves significantly for higher education, where in certain subject areas the
index is in favour of females. Further positive features for gender parity come from the survival rates
for young girls reaching Grade 5, where the GPI (1.02) in 2005-06 reveals a marginally better result
Human Development Report 2007/2008, UNDP, 2007 and EFA Global Monitoring Report 2008, UNESCO
Education for All: Mid-Decade assessment, Country Report: Pakistan, Ministry of Education, Government of
Pakistan, Islamabad, 2007
The State of Pakistan’s Education 59
than for young boys, which again falls to 0.96 in 2007-08. Young girls do better, as well, in transition
rates between primary and lower secondary education, with a GPI of 1.07 in 2005-06 and 1.04 in 2007-
12. Gender Parity Indices for adult literacy rate rose from 0.51 in 2001-02 to 0.58 in 2005-06 and
0.64 in 2007-08. The GPI for youth literacy rate remained at the same level of 0.72 in both periods of
2001-02 and 2005-06, which improved to 0.78 in 2007-08. Proportion of female enrolment in
vocational education was at 38% in 2005-06. Females are particularly under-represented in rural areas
(36% versus 43% for urban areas), a feature that also holds for secondary education (35% for rural and
48% in urban areas)23. Female teachers make up only 47% of primary school teachers in 2005-06, rising
to 55% in secondary schools, but with only 31% in TVE24.
B2. The Rural-Urban Divide
13. The relative disadvantage of the rural areas compared to the urban becomes evident from the
secondary level and above. At the Early Childhood Education level, the GER for urban areas (88%) for
2005-06 was actually below the figure for rural areas (93%), and, at the primary level, the GER for
urban areas (85%) was only slightly better than the 84% for rural areas. These figures moved to 86%
for urban and 92% for rural areas during 2007-08. The disadvantage of the rural areas at the secondary
level GER is rather large: (48% urban versus 22% rural in both 2005-06 and 2007-08). The percentage
gap between the two areas has widened from 20 points in 2001-02 to 26 points in 2005-0625 and in
2007-08 as well.
14. More surprisingly, rural provision also performs better on some efficiency measures. Grade 1
repetition rates for rural areas, was better than the urban rates (2.25 versus 3.1% in 2005-06 and 7.3
versus 5.1 in 2007-08), a comparison that holds through to other primary level Grades. The differential
for Grade 5, was 2.0% versus 2.9% in 2005-06 and 3.6% versus 5.6% in 2006-07, both in favour of the
rural areas. In terms of the survival rate to Grade 5, however, rural areas are at a significant
disadvantage, where the survival rate is only 67% compared with 94% in the urban setting in 2005-06
and surprisingly 59.5% compared with 58.9% in 2007-08. On the other hand, in terms of teacher input,
the pupil teacher ratio (PTR), is favourable for rural primary schools (39 pupils per teacher) compared
with the urban (43 pupils per teacher). This is reversed for secondary schools, where the ratio of 12
pupils per teacher in urban areas is better than for rural secondary schools (18 pupils per teacher).
15. The rural schools suffer more from poor facilities: while 90% of urban schools benefit from
water sources, only 63% of rural schools do so. A similar disadvantage pertains to sanitation facilities,
which are available to 88% of urban schools but only to 56% of schools in the rural setting.
B3. Provincial and Area Disparities
16. There are large disparities in access and quality measures across Provinces and Areas. A
common pattern is for Sindh or Punjab to be at the top of the league, while Balochistan is a weak
performer among the Provinces. During 2005-06, at the primary school level, the NER for Punjab
National Education Census 2006 Ministry of Education GoP, 2006
25 The source for data in the section (paras 21-24) is from Education for All: Mid-Decade assessment, Country
Report: Pakistan, Statistical Analysis, Ministry of Education, Government of Pakistan, Islamabad, 2007
60 National Education Policy 2009
(68%), Sindh (67%) and NWFP (66%) with Balochistan showing 40%; which surged to 71%, 72%,
80% and 45% in Punjab, Sindh, NWFP and Balochistan respectively in 2007-08.
17. Similarly, for NER at secondary level, Punjab (26%) has more than twice as high an enrolment
rate compared with Balochistan (11%) and FATA (11%). NER at secondary level during 2007-08
arrived at 26% for Punjab, 21 % for Sindh, 25% for NWFP, 10% for Balochistan, 30 % for AJK and
12% for FATA. For GER at secondary level, in 2005-06, Balochistan had a GER of 15%, FATA scores
a low GER of 14%, while the rate is highest in ICT at 82%. The corresponding values for the year
2007-08 are 13%, 16% and 74% respectively. On literacy measures as well, the pattern is similar.
Literacy rates for young adults were highest in Sindh (71%) and lowest in Balochistan (48%) in 2005-
06 and for 2007-08, are highest in Punjab (70%) and Sindh (69%) and lowest in NWFP (46.8%) and
Balochistan (47.2%). Considering all adults (15 years old and over), literacy rates were highest for
Sindh (55%) and lowest for Balochistan (37%)26, but the adult literacy rates in 2007-08 are highest for
Punjab (56.6%) followed by Sindh (55.6%) and lowest for Balochistan (45.5%)27.
C. QUALITY OF PROVISION
18. Through the introduction of the National Education Assessment System (NEAS) in 2005 it has
become possible to assess quality of educational outcomes at school level on a scientific and
quantitative basis28. The NEAS 2005 assessed Grade 4 students in the subject domains of language
(Urdu and Sindhi) and mathematics, which was expanded to include science and social studies in
NEAS 2006. Grade 8 students were assessed in language (Urdu and Sindhi) and mathematics in 2007,
which was expanded to include science and social studies in 2008 at Grade 8 levels. Moreover, in 2008
NEAS also assessed the private school students at Grade 4 in the subjects of language and mathematics
and at Grade 8 in science and social studies on pilot basis.
19. The 2005 results show that the average score of Grade 4 students in Urdu (369) and
Mathematics (421) was well below the scaled mean score of 500. The 2006 results confirm that the
average score of Grade 4 students was less than 50% of the possible marks in each of the four subjects
tested29. The results from NAT 2007 for Grade 8 students show slightly better results for Urdu but again
show that the average score of students is below the 50% mark in Mathematics.30.The NAT 2008 results
show that the average score of Grade 8 students in social studies (516) were significantly higher than
science (477). The scores in science were below set mean of 500. In 2008, Grade 4 students’ scores in
mathematics (369) and Urdu reading (377) and Urdu writing (498) were also below set mean scale
score of 500. Interestingly the scores of Urdu writing were significantly higher than Urdu reading and
mathematics. The performance of the private school students in 2008 national assessment at grade 8
levels, in term of achievement scores, remained significantly better in social studies (561) than science
27 All values for the year 2007-08 are provisional, derived from Pakistan Education Statistics 2007-08, AEPAMMinistry
of Education, Government of Pakistan,2009 and subject to change/ review on finalization of data
National Assessment Report 2005, National Education Assessment System, Ministry of Education,
Government of Pakistan
National assessment Findings 2006, National Education Assessment System, Ministry of Education
Government of Pakistan
National assessment Findings 2007: Mathematics and Language, Grade VIII, National Education Assessment
System, Ministry of Education Government of Pakistan, mimeo 2006
The State of Pakistan’s Education 61
(512). In the same year the performance of private students at grade 4 levels in Urdu writing (652) was
significantly better in comparison with Urdu reading (423) and mathematics (415)31.
20. Two measures of input quality are also available: qualifications of the teaching staff and the
Pupil-Teacher Ratio (PTR). In regard to teacher quality, about 47% of ECE teachers have the required
qualifications in 2005-06 and same in 2007-08, a rate that approaches 100% at the primary and
secondary levels32. These data must be interpreted with caution, as the standards for qualifications at
this level are widely believed to be unsatisfactory.
21. The PTR works out to a high of 40 for primary schools and 15 for the secondary. Pakistan does
well in terms of trained teachers and its pupil/teacher ratio is not as high as in India and Bangladesh,
indicating better resource support33.
22. The survival rate up to Grade 5 is 72%34, that is, more than 25% of students entering Primary
education do not reach the last Grade. Although considerable progress has been made since 2001-02 but
Pakistan’s performance still remains low in comparison with its neighbours, except Bangladesh35.
23. The problem of drop out rates is severe, as it adds to the number of out of school children.
More than 31% drop out during primary level; some 16% after middle level; 16% after secondary level
and yet another 16% during higher secondary level during 2004-0536. Repeat rates are another measure
of internal efficiency of the education system. The overall repeat rates for Grades 1 to 5 are between 2.1
to 2.6 and typically highest for Grade 1 and Grade 5. Repeat rates are generally lower for young girls37.
On this measure, Pakistan’s experience is not too dissimilar from its reference countries38.
24. National Education Census 2006 reveals that most schools are sparsely equipped. Library
facilities, computer resources, sports and recreation facilities are poor. However, the paucity of facilities
can be gauged from the fact that only 60.2% of schools had drinking water in 2005-06 and 63.9% in
2007-08; and only 52.4% latrine facilities in 2005-06 and 60.8% in 2007-08; and 50.8% schools were
having boundary walls in 2005-06 and 60% in 2007-0839, notwithstanding the fact that progress has
been recorded in each of these areas since 2000-01.
National Assessment Report 2008, National Education Assessment System, Ministry of Education,
Government of Pakistan
Education for All: Mid-Decade assessment, Country Report Pakistan, Ministry of Education, Government of
Pakistan, Islamabad, 2007 and provisional findings from Pakistan Education Statistics 2007-08 , AEPAMMinistry
of Education, Government of Pakistan,2009
World Development Indicators 2007, The World Bank, 2007
Education for All: Mid-Decade assessment, Country Report Pakistan, Ministry of Education, Government of
Pakistan, Islamabad, Table 2.12, 2007
World Development Indicators 2007, The World Bank, 2007
Reforms: Education Sector 2004-2007, Ministry of Education, Government of Pakistan, 2007
National Education Census: Highlights, Ministry of Education, Government of Pakistan, 2006
Education for All by 2015: Will we make it? EFA Global Monitoring Report 2008, UNESCO, 2007
39 Findings from Pakistan Education Statistics 2005-06 and 2007-08 , AEPAM- Ministry of Education, GoP
62 National Education Policy 2009
25. In regard to the quality of human resources produced by higher education sector, the number of
researchers per one million people is often used as an indicator. The number for Pakistan (75) is
considerably lower than some of its reference countries such as Iran (1,279) and India (119).40
D. THE RESOURCE COMMITMENT
26. Financial resources for education come largely from the public sector, which spends 2.5% of
the GDP (2006-07) on education while 0.5% is estimated to be the contribution of the private sector,
putting the combined resources at around 3% of GDP for 2006-200741. The data on public expenditure
on education points to low priority Pakistan gives to education as it spends relatively less on education
in terms of GDP (2.3%) as compared to the countries like Iran (4.7%), Malaysia (6.2), Thailand (4.2%),
South Korea (4.6%), India (3.8%), and Bangladesh (2.5%)42.
27. In terms of cost structure by type of provision, the annual expenditure per pupil in the public
sector for 2005-06 amounts to Rs. 6,436 at the primary school level, rising to 6,815 for secondary
education and 40,332 for the tertiary level43. The data also show a steep rise in costs related to tertiary
education over the period 2003 to 2006.
28. In terms of disbursements to various components of the education sector, primary sector
accounts for 44%, secondary sector 24 % and 13% to the tertiary sector; the rest being claimed by
other sectors44. Disbursements on primary and secondary education, therefore, are five times more than
the expenditure on tertiary sector. These ratios vary a great deal among countries, since they depend on
a large number of country specific factors such as the demographic profile, cost per student in different
sectors, the state of development of different sectors, and the needs of the economy. In comparison, the
share of the tertiary sector in the developed economies is, on average, 2.7 times larger than for nontertiary
sectors, though the ratio varies widely among countries45.
E. STRUCTURE OF EDUCATION: PUBLIC-PRIVATE PROVISION
29. The private sector contributes about 0.5% of the GDP to education. Institutions in the private
sector include religious/missionary institutions. They offer mainstream education as well as religious
education through Deeni Madaris. The medium of instruction employed by the educational institutions
is predominantly Urdu (65%). This percentage is higher for public institutions (68.3%) compared with
the private sector institutions (57.2%)46. Sindhi is used as medium of instruction in 15.5% educational
institutions, English in 10.4% and other languages (Pushto, Balochi, Arabic etc.) in 9.5% educational
30. The public sector accounts for around 64% of all enrolments and dominates at the levels of
Primary Schools (87%), Secondary (55%) and Higher Secondary Schools (66%), Inter and Degree
Colleges, and general Universities. While the overall share of the private sector in total enrolment is
around 36%, its enrolment share is 42% in pre-primary education, Primary stage 13%, middle stage
Human Development Report 2007/2008, UNDP
Reforms: Education Sector 2004-2007, Ministry of Education, Government of Pakistan, 2007
World Development Indicators 2007, The World Bank, 2007
43 P&P Wing, Ministry of Education
EFA Mid-Decade Assessment 2007, Country Report: Pakistan, Ministry of Education, Government of Pakistan
Education at a Glance 2007, OECD Indicators, OECD. 2007
National Education Census: Highlights, Ministry of education, Government of Pakistan, 2006
The State of Pakistan’s Education 63
58%, high 45% and higher secondary 34%, Technical/Vocational (52%), Vocational/ Polytechnics
(57%), Non-formal Basic Education (61%) and Deeni Madaris (97%)47.
31. The private sector’s role has been expanding in recent years. While there are several causes for
this relative growth, it is partly a reflection of the shortcomings of the public sector to provide quality
* * * * *