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Old Monday, March 12, 2007
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Thumbs up Quality of Education in Pakistan.....

Education in Pakistan

Education has never been Pakistan's strong point. As part of his program to overhaul Pakistan's institutions in the 1970s, Zulifkar Ali Bhutto nationalized private educational institutions, many of which were gifts by philanthropists. The government then wasted little time in quickly dissolving these schools into nothingness. The resulting mediocrity soon gave way to apathy, a phenomenon further compounded by the "quota system." This obstacle in the way of an equitable merit-based system exists even today.
The result of these measures is the travesty that passes for education in Pakistan. There are basically three kinds of schools: the elite private institutions that cater to the upper class; the government-run schools serving the lower echelons of the population and the Madrassah, the religious school.
Private schools have become a necessity for contemporary Pakistani society since the government has failed to provide quality education for its population. A majority of parents, even those from lower income brackets, send their children to private schools so they can receive an education that will enable them to be competitive.
Also, most Pakistanis want their children to learn English. Private schools offer all instruction in English while government schools offer instruction in either Urdu or the local provincial language.
The feudal state of Pakistani society has prevented meaningful educational reforms from taking place. And, in many rural areas where the local tribal chief's word is law, schools will not function without his say so. There are many cases where chiefs will not allow any schools in their "jurisdiction."
Budget allocation for education is another important issue. There is no doubt that like many underdeveloped nations, Pakistan faces financial constraints for various reasons. Still, the government allocates less than 3%of the total annual budget for education. The current military government has apportioned a meager 2.9 % for the fiscal year 2001-2002.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, (UNESCO), proposes an underdeveloped nation allocate at least 4% of its total GDP for education. Chad, one of the poorest nations in the world, has allocated 6% for education in its last budget.
The condition of government schools all over the country and the quality of education being imparted there are going from bad to worse, day by day. Thousands of government schools are "ghost schools," existing on paper only. The buildings, mostly in rural areas, that were meant to house these schools are either dilapidated due to negligence or have been converted into otaqs (drawing rooms) for the local wadaras (land owners).
Thousands of "ghost" teachers have been drawing salaries from the education departments of the four provinces. They do not do any actual teaching since there are no functioning schools. Theysimply show up to collect their salaries on the appointed day.
According to a survey conducted by the education departments of Sindh and Punjab provinces in 1998, some 700 primary and secondary schools and 18,000 teachers were found "ghost" in Punjab and 340 schools and 7,000 teachers in Sindh.
Currently, the government claims Pakistan has a literacy rate of 47%. However, independent analysts and educational organizations put the actual figure at about 20%.
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here is some detail of reader's comments after viewing above threat.

Readers' Comment

ali asghar malik: 9/27/2005 10:167 AM
Education in pakistan is very much poor. magzines and news papers survey is that the literacy ratio in pakistan is 57% but i think it is not more than 21%. This is my own survey.

G.Raza Raisani: 4/8/2006 9:26:50 PM
eduction ratio in pakistan is very low,becaue of the poverty,the majortiy of the people,s are very poor they canot tolerate the expenditure of the education ,the books and othere necessery things are related with educaion are not acceptable for the poor families,this is on of big factor which keeping away pakistani poor peoples form the education.if goverment slove the basic needs of the poples , i hope the tendency of education will increase with in few years,

fazila naqui: 5/24/2006 4:31:11 AM
Mass illiteracy helps keep weak and corrupt governments of third world in power and that is why successive governments in Pakistan have pushed education to the lowest rung of their agenda with meagre allocation of funds so that they can build Nuclear bombs, drive in bullet proof million dollars cars enjoy the wealth of the country take family and friends on official trips while the people continue to live in abject poverty denied the very basic right to even minimal quality life.

Sadam: 7/12/2006 12:37:28 AM
Pakistan's education ratio is too low, its a fact but how can it be polished out? That's the question we all ask from ourselves. But we cann't find its answer its all because there is not only one but many causes behind this.In my view i think povery is the root cause of low litracy in Pakistan,because Pakistan's 59% population is under poverty line so they cann't afford expensive fees and also burden of books.So if poverty is abolished from our country we may get a peaceful and prosper and also educated Pakistan.

Asef Khan: 8/13/2006 550 AM
Education in Governoments schools of pakistan is very low. And this is the major point. All our students are just spending and distroying there time and whole life. If our education is low so our country future result will be poor and cheep. i am one gov. school student.

Basit Sultan: 11/8/2006 10:290 AM
It is a universal reality that without education man is nothing.Government has done a tremendous job to increase the literacy rate.I would like to suggest that there is a lot of improvement needed in this regard and for this Government as well as citizens should come forward, individually as well as collectively,to educate more and more people for a bette and prosper PAKISTAN.

Sundas Awan: 11/28/2006 8:32:39 AM
In Pakistan, The Education rate is very low.Govt. don't want to provide education's facility to people.In govt.schools and colleges teachers don't want to fulfil teir duties.They only come to schools and colleges to get their fees only.So,Govt.should take action and do work for the betterment of education system.
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a likely question in current affair 2007
how a common policy of education can meet national aspirations?
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When we talk about Quality of Education in Pakistan,several queries come into mind, Poor Literacy Rate,Difference of Education standards for different people or a clear Partition between English Medium and Urdu Medium institutes,Continuously varying Education poilicies of the govts.,Restriction of Women education in a large area of rural Paksitan,Ghost Schools and many other issues echo in our minds about quality of education. But if we think in a lateral angle the most unfortunate condition of Paksitan's education or Education policy is "No Research Oriented" mode of education.We study for job not for Knowledge or research.It is really disappointing that our Technology Universities doesn't produce good enogh Research Scholars or PHDs.In 50 years UET produce only 4 PHDs.We are urge to go for higher education in foreign countries.
If we took a narrow look of top thousand Universities of the world, the difference is not their structural infrastructure but the infrastructure of research conducted there is root cause of their prominance.We have no doubt world class institutes like LUMS,GIKI,PIEAs,IBA and Agha Khan Medical College but unfortunately they are even not much focused towards Research. Even our history depicts clearly that Muslims were on the zenith when their focus was Research and lost their focus when they leave Research.I think its prime time come to build excellent state of art Technological Research Institutes in Paksitan and encourage Researchers and Scientist to contribute their best for their country.Beleive me if we establish such Research oriented society, we don't need to go to MIT or Harvard but people seek addmissions to Pakistani Universities for the thirst of their knowledge.

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Old Wednesday, March 14, 2007
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@mazhar bhai..

The first point which u have mentioned is about quota system…this statement is very true that QS is an obstacle in the way of equitable merit-based system….

Lots of deserving students are not able to get admission due to this factor…coz we have fixed number of seats for each province…but I think this system has rather now become a necessity…. As the standard of education of many parts of the country, esp. the rural interior sindh, backward areas of Baluchistan …partial Punjab…. Fana/fata and northern areas…is so much low down…. that if there is no quota system the children of those areas will not be able to get further higher education…their merit/standard will never meet the demands and requirements of the university.

But on the other hand giving them admission sometimes becomes a problem for themselves …

This is something which I have observed in my university.. That a lot of my class fellows belong to rural areas of sindh, northern areas of chitral swat. fana/fata etc are having tough and extremely difficult time…. Mostly they have received their early education from villages. When the enter the university there a totally different system… which they are not used to…they only get admission on the basis of quota Not merit… resulting in low down quality of education.....
then there is another big problem of medium of instruction…in most areas of our country the medium of instruction is either Urdu or mother tongue… now when children from remote areas admitted in university… they have to face the big ghost of eng.. Language…most of them fail due to the factor that they can not articulate themselves them selves in eng…they understand the lectures but are unable to express… now how can a student learn the basics of eng… at this stage…so this quota sys here becomes trouble and dilemma for them….

SO IN THIS PREVAILING QUOTA SYSTEM HOW COULD WE THINK TO IMPROVE OUR QUALITY OF EDU?


Ur second point is about was about kinds of schools

here I disagree a little bit…coz what I have seen here in Islamabad and some other cities as well is that there are four types of schools existing… one for the elites I.e. private schools…second the high level govt. English medium schools like model schools…. Third the low level govt. schools (usually called as 3 number or 7 number Urdu medium schools) mostly for the lower middle class… and then the forth type of schools known as madras’s…

I totally agree that Private schools have become a necessity for contemporary Pakistani society since the government has failed to provide quality education for its population. Getting education from a private institution has become a status symbol…
People want their children to learn English. Private schools offer all instruction in English while government schools offer instruction in either Urdu or the local provincial language.


Now a days the primary objective of 90% people is to get good job and earn money…. there are very less people who still have the concept in mind that getting education is also our religious obligation…we learn and teach from the primary class that
“ilm hasil karna har musalman mard aur aurat pe farz hai” but forget it with the passage of time..

There is another drawback that the education system prevailing in Pakistan is (unluckily) gifted by the goraass…. at that time when they were ruling us an education system was introduced BY LORD MACAULY (begun by CHARLES GRANT) in which ENGLISH was made compulsory…secondly main objective of education was just to attain jobsss… govrt. High jobs were given to only those who were conversant with English…

This is all which is still prevalent in our motherland…and we are still under the influence of this system… till now we are not able to devise our own education system…in which we could promote our own rich culture, art, aesthetics, values and religion…

I think education has far more objectives other than just attainment of job…it totally reconstructs ones personality…builds up character…teaches to distinguish between right and wrong and many many others…

anywayz it was a lond discussion but we should hope for the best

I pray to almighty Allah to bestow upon our nation and us his blessings…and show us the right path so that one day we could compete with Sri Lanka and England and reach to 100% literacy rate…inshallah.

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@najabat

brother....nice elucidations about research...bravo

regards,
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@ all Forum members

dears..... Pakistan has 155 maillion population and it increases @ 2 % per annum.

77 Million population is under-age that means they are in schools or colleges.

In 2030, Population will be 255 MIllion and 177 million will b under-age.

If quality of education could not improve, scenario will b very dangerous.

This crowd of sub-standardized students (under-age) can easily be exploited.

This will b more dangerous to Europe and US so it's simply 2 donate and pressurize Pakistan not to favor us but just to avoid up-coming threat to them 4m our side.

But we will change the current system that has collapsed our generation.

1) Class distinction must b discouraged.

2) Same qualitative knowledge should b there 4 all.

3) Pay back 2 teachers must b enhanced on very prior basis.

4) All queries 4m the teachers must b answered and safe-gaurded.

5) There should b study of sciences and technology instead of "History of Sciences & Technology"..... ( as our leading institutes and Technology deciplines hav this problem )

6) Madrassahs must b reformed on True Quranic basis i.e. focuss on Sciences

and many many more suggestions and actions should be followed



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Here is the best essay on education







Educating the Pakistani Masses: The world needs to help1

Introduction
Let me start this brief presentation with the main conclusions that I have to offer with
respect to the deteriorating state of education in Pakistan and how this could affect the
rest of the world. I would like to underscore the following six conclusions. One, it is right
for the world to worry about the larger impact of Pakistan’s dysfunctional educational
system especially when it has been demonstrated that poorly educated young men in a
country as large as Pakistan pose a serious security threat to the rest of the world. Two, it
is timely for the world’s donor agencies to offer help to Pakistan to reform its system of
education so that it can produce people who have the right kinds of skills to operate in the
modern economy. Three, it is correct to focus on the reform of the madrassa system but it
would be imprudent to give too much attention to this part of the educational system in
the country. Four, the part of the system that really needs attention is the one managed by
the public sector. This is the system that looks after the education of some 90 percent of
the school going age. Reforming it is of critical importance. Five, the problem of public
education will not be solved by throwing more money into the system. What is required
is systemic reform. Six, and finally, the private sector has an important role to play in
reforming the educational system. This is an area in which the large and well-endowed
communities of Pakistanis resident in the United States could also participate.
I will develop these conclusions in five parts. In the first, I will provide a quick overview
of Pakistan’s demographic situation and how it has affected the system of education. In
the second part, I will give a brief description of the structure of the educational system in
the country from the time of independence in 1947 to the early 1970s when it began to
deteriorate. The third part will provide a quick overview of the reasons that led to slow
collapse of the educational system. In the fourth part I will indicate the lessons Pakistan
can learn from attempted reforms in other parts of the world to improve its own system.
In the fifth and final part I will suggest some approaches to the reform of the Pakistani
system.
Pakistan’s demographic situation and how it has impacted on the system of education.
Pakistanis, both policymakers based in Islamabad and the public at large, were slow to
recognize that the country’s large and increasingly young population was mostly illiterate
and was singularly ill-equipped to participate in the economic life of the country.
1 Prepared text of the testimony before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations on the theme of
“Combating Terrorism through Education: The Near East and South Asian Experience” on April 19, 2005.
2 Shahid Javed Burki is former Vice President of the World Bank and former Finance Minister of Pakistan.
Testimony
2
Pakistan’s young did not even have the wherewithal to participate in the process of
“outsourcing” that had brought economic modernization and social improvement to many
parts of India. The economic and social revolution that India is witnessing today could
have also occurred in Pakistan but for a number of unfortunate developments discussed
below. For the moment we will reflect on the problem Pakistanis faces today – in 2005.
In 2005, Pakistan is the world’s sixth largest country, after China, India, the United
States, Indonesia, and Brazil. Its population is estimated at 155 million; of this, one half,
or 77 million, is below the age of 18 years. Pakistan, in other words, has one of the
youngest populations in the world. In 2005, the number of people below the age of 18 in
the United States was less than those in Pakistan and yet the American population is
almost twice as large as that of Pakistan. What is more, with each passing year the
population is getting younger.
In spite of a significant decline in the level of fertility in recent years, Pakistan’s
population is still growing at a rate well above 2 percent a year. Even with some further
reduction in birth rate, by 2030 Pakistan could – a quarter century from now – overtake
Brazil and become the world’s fifth most populous country, with a population of 255
million. Or, put in another way, Pakistan is set to add another 100 million people to its
already large population over the next 25 years.
A significant number of this additional population will end up in the already crowded
cities of the country, in particular Karachi, in Lahore, and in the urban centers on the
periphery of Lahore. Karachi already has more than 10 million people; by 2030 it could
have a population of 25 million. By the same time, Greater Lahore may have a population
of 15 million. Will such large urban populations live in peace and become active
contributors to Pakistan’s economic growth and development? Or will they become
increasingly restive and disturb peace not only within the country but also outside the
country’s borders? The answers to these two questions lay in the way the authorities and
people of Pakistan approach the subject of education and what kind of assistance they can
receive from the world outside.
There are four characteristics of Pakistan’s demographic situation that have attracted
attention in the western world, particularly in the United States. One, that in two to three
decades Pakistan will have the largest concentration of Muslims in the world, more than
in Indonesia and in India. Two, the population of Muslims will be very young. Out of a
population of some 255 million projected for 2030, about 170 million will be below the
age of 18. Three, unless an ambitious program is launched soon and implemented with
the government’s full attention and energy, a significant proportion of the young will be
poorly educated and will have skills that will not be of much use as a factor of production
in a modern economy. Four, an indifferently educated workforce made up of millions of
young people, living in a few crowded mega cities, will become attractive recruits for
groups and organizations that are alienated from the global economic, political and social
system. In a Muslim country such as Pakistan, the groups that will be able to attract the
young espouse various radical Islamic causes.
Testimony
3
There are two questions that need to be answered in order to explain the situation in
Pakistan. One, why did the education system in Pakistan deteriorate to the point where it
now threatens economic, political and social stability not only within the country but also
poses a real danger for the world at large? Two, what can be done to redress this
situation?
The Structure of the System after the creation of the state of Pakistan
In the late 1940s and up to the early 1970s, Pakistan had a reasonably efficient system of
education, not much different from other countries of the South Asian subcontinent. It
was dominated by the public sector; educational departments in the provinces
administered schools and colleges while a small number of public sector universities
provided post graduate instruction. The private sector was active at the two extreme ends
of the educational spectrum. On the one end were missionary schools and colleges
specializing in western-style liberal education. At the opposite end were religious
schools, called dini madrassas that imparted religious instruction. Some of the better
institutions belonging to this genre were either imports from India or were patterned after
the old madrassas in what was now the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. The best known of
these was the Darul Uloom at Deoband that had developed its own curriculum and taught
a highly orthodox or fundamentalist interpretation of Islam. Following the partition of
India and the birth of Pakistan, a number of ulema (Islamic scholars) from Deoband
migrated to Pakistan and established seminaries in the new country. Two of these, a
madrassa at Akora Khattak near Islamabad called Darul Uloom Haqqania and the other
in Banori township of Karachi played prominent role in brin ging an austere form of
Islam to Pakistan. We will return to the subject of these madrassas a little later.
The private schools catered mostly to the elite while the religious schools produced
imams (preachers) for the mosques or teachers for the madrassa system of education.
These two systems are producing two different social classes with very different world
views and views about the way Pakistan should be managed. The two groups are now
clashing in the political and social arena. One recent example of this is the controversy
over the deletion of a box in the newly designed and machine readable passport that
initially did not have a column indicating the religious affiliation of the passport holder.
This step was taken by the government headed by General Musharraf as one small move
towards what he has called “enlightened moderation”. He was, however, beaten back by
the religious parties and the “religion column” was reinserted in the passport.
In between these two social classes is a large inert group, the product of the public
educational system. The large public school system includes all aspects of the system of
education. It starts with kindergarten and primary schools at the bottom, includes
secondary and higher schools, and has at its apex semi-autonomous but publicly funded
universities. For several decades the standard of instruction provided by this system was
adequate; the system’s graduates were able to provide workforce for the large public
sector and also for the rapidly growing private sector of the economy. Those graduates of
the system who went abroad for further education either at their own expenditure or
relying on the funds provided by various donor supported scholarship schemes did not
Testimony
4
experience much difficulty in getting adjusted to the foreign systems. Some of Pakistan’s
better known scholars and professionals such as the Noble Prize winning Physicist
Professor Abdul Salaam and the well known economist Mahbubul Haq were the products
of this system.
However, the system has deteriorated over time to the extent that it has become common
to describe Pakistan as the country that has done the least for the social development of
its large population. It is also common to fear that without major investment in education,
Pakistan may well become a large exporter of manpower to the stateless Islamic
organizations – al-Qaeda being the most prominent among them – that will continue their
crusade against the West, western values, and anything else they see from their narrow
prism as anti-Islamic.
How did Pakistan travel the distance from a moderate Muslim country with a reasonably
efficient educational system to a country in which the public system of education is
virtually broken down and in which a large number of educational institutions are
providing instruction that teaches hate for those who hold different points of view and
encourages jihad against them? Pakistan’s gradual transformation from one state to the
other occurred slowly under many different impulses. As such the country offers a good
case study of how a society can get derailed.
Systems progressive collapse over time
The Pakistani educational system collapsed slowly, at times its progressive deterioration
was not even noticed by the people who later were to be most affected by it. The collapse
occurred for basically four reasons. The first jolt was given in the early 1970s by
government headed by Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. Bhutto decided to nationalize
private schools, in particular those run by various Christian missionary orders. His motive
was simple. He was of the view that private schools encouraged elitism in the society
whereas he wanted equality and equal opportunity for all.
Bhutto was also responsible for delivering the system the second shock and this time
around the motive was political expediency. His rise to political power was viewed with
great apprehension by the religious forces in the country. They considered the socialism
Bhutto espoused as “godless” and were determined to prevent him and the Pakistan
People’s Party founded by him from gaining ground. The two sides – Bhutto and the
Islamists – chose to use the college and university campuses to fight the battle for the
control of the political mind in the country. Both sought to mobilize the student body by
establishing student organizations representatives of their different points of view.
For a number of years campuses of the publicly run institutions became the battle ground
for gaining political influence at the expense of providing education. It was in this battle,
waged in educational institutions, that Pakistan witnessed the birth of another
organization – the Muhajir Qaumi Mahaz – that was to use violence in order to spread its
word and make its presence felt.
Testimony
5
The third development to turn the system of education dysfunctional occurred in the
1980s when a coalition led by the United States and included Pakistan and Saudi Arabia
decided to use the seminaries as training grounds for the mujahideen who were being
instructed to battle the Soviet Union’s troops occupying Afghanistan. There was an
unspoken understanding about their respective roles among these three partners. The
United States was to provide equipment and training for the foot soldiers of the jihad.
Pakistan was to set up madrassas in the Afghan refugee camps and along the country’s
long border with Afghanistan. Its military with better knowledge of the Afghan terrain
was to be actively involved in training the mujahideen. The government of Islamabad
also reserved the right to choose among the various groups that were prepared to do battle
in Afghanistan. The Saudis were happy to aid the effort with money as long as they were
allowed to teach Wahabism, their brand of Islam, in the seminaries that were to be used
for training the jihadis. This proved to be a potent mix of motives: the United States was
able to recruit highly motivated fighters to go after the occupying forces of the Soviet
Union in Afghanistan, Pakistan was able to further its influence in Afghanistan and Saudi
Arabia was able to introduce its extremely conservative interpretation of Islam into a
large Muslim country that had hitherto subscribed to a relatively liberal, accommodating
assimilative form of religion.
The fourth unhappy development to affect the sector of education was the political
confusion that prevailed in the country for more than a decade, from the death of
President Zia ul-Haq in August 1988 to the return of the military under General Pervez
Musharraf in October 1999. In this period four elected governments and three interim
administrations government the country. Preoccupied with prolonging their stay, the
elected governments paid little attention to economic development in general and social
development in particular. Under the watch of these administrations, public sector
education deteriorated significantly.
The failure of Pakistan to educate its young was the result of the failure of the state to
provide basic services to the people. As already noted, the collapse of the public sector
began in the mid seventies when the socialist-leaning administration of Prime Minister
Zulfikar Ali Bhutto nationalized some parts of the educational system while denying an
expanded public sector the resources it needed. In the thirty-year period since then,
various governments, both military and civilian, continued to neglect public education
while allowing it to be politicized. Politicization took the form of increased political
activity on the part of student organizations representing various political parties. It was
the Islamic parties that gained the most in the battle to influence the campuses.
The progressive failure of the public sector to provide reasonable education to the masses
brought in two very different types of educational entrepreneurs into the sector. On one
end of the spectrum were groups of entrepreneurs who filled the space for western-style
liberal education. Since there was enough demand for this type of education on the part
of the relatively well-to-do segments of the society, a number of for-profit institutions
were established. They have flourished over time, providing high quality education to
the upper-end of the society.
Testimony
6
At the other end of the social spectrum were the poor who needed institutions that could
provide basic education to their children without placing an unbearable economic burden
on the families. This is when the madrassas stepped in with the financial wherewithal to
take in male students, provide them with board and lodging, and give them instruction in
religion. Most of these institutions did not have qualified teachers who could give
instruction in mathematics, sciences, and languages other than Urdu to their students.
The result of all this is that the Pakistani society today is split three ways when viewed
from the perspective of education. At the top are the students who have received
reasonably good education from western-style institutions that operate mostly for profit.
They count for perhaps 5 percent of the student body in the five to 18 year age group of
some 70 million people. At the bottom are the religious schools that provide education to
an equal number of students. In between is 90 percent of the student population
dependent on a public system that is inefficient and corrupt. It is, in other words,
dysfunctional. Before addressing the important subject of the remedies that are available
to improve the educational system, we should take a look at the situation as it is today.
Reforming an educational system
There are several ways of assessing the status of an educational system in the developing
world. Among the more frequently used indicators are adult literacy rates for both men
and women in various parts of the country; enrolment rates for both girls and boys at
different levels of education and in different areas of the country; the drop out rates at
different levels of education; the number of years boys and girls spend in schools; the
amount of resources committed to education as a proportion of the gross domestic
product, particularly by the public sector; the amount of money spent on items other than
paying for teachers’ salaries; and, finally, some measure of the quality of education
provided. To these indicators, one should also add the quality of data and information
available about education. Unfortunately, Pakistan’s record is relatively poor on all these
counts, including the quality and reliability of the data which makes it difficult to provide
a reasonably accurate description of the state of affairs in the sector.
The latest information available for Pakistan suggests an adult literacy rate of only 43.5
percent for the entire population above the age of 15 years. The rates for Sri Lanka and
India are considerably higher than for Pakistan; 92.1 percent and 61.3 percent
respectively. Of the South Asian countries, only Bangladesh has a slightly lower rate,
41.1 percent. Since the level of literacy has a profound impact on the quality of human
development, Pakistan ranks 142 in terms of the UNDP’s Human Development Index. Sri
Lanka ranks at 96, India at 127, and Bangladesh at 138.
There are noticeable differences in gender literacy and in the level of literacy in different
parts of the country. Some 58 percent of the male population qualifies as literate while
female literacy rate is estimated at only 32 per cent. In other words, two-thirds of the
country’s women can’t read or write. There is not a significant amount of difference in
the rates of literacy among different provinces. Sindh, on account of Karachi, has the
highest rate at 60 percent while Balochistan at 53 percent has the lowest rate. However, it
Testimony
7
is among women living in different parts of the country that literacy rates vary a great
deal: in Balochistan the rate is as low as 15 percent while it is 36 percent for Punjab’s
women. It is clear that the women of Balochistan must be targeted in any drive to educate
the masses in the country.
There are wide discrepancies in the various estimates of enrolment provided by various
sources of information. My own estimates are for the year 2003 when the number of
children in the primary school age was 22 million of which 11.5 million were boys and
10.5 million girls. According to the Ministry of Education in Islamabad 9.6 million boys
were in school, giving an enrollment rate of 83.4 percent. The number of girls attending
primary school was estimated at 6.6 million, giving an enrollment rate of nearly 63
percent. There was in other words a gender gap of almost 20 percentage points. Once
again the policy implication of this information is the need to focus on the provision of
education for girls. Another conclusion suggested by these numbers is that we should
expect a fairly significant increase in the rate of literacy as the cohorts presently in school
reach adulthood.
There is considerable disparity in the rates of enrollment among the richest 20 percent of
the population compared to the poorest 20 percent. The gap is two and half times as large
in the urban areas and even larger in the rural areas. Applying these number to overall
literacy rates, it appears that while universal primary education has been achieved for the
richest one-fifth of the population for both boys and girls, the enrollment rate for the
poorest 20 one-fifth is only a shade above 45 percent. Public policy aimed at increasing
the level of education must, therefore, focus on the poor in both urban and rural areas.
There is demand among the poor for education; if it is not satisfied by the public sector, it
will be met by the dini madrassas.
As is to be expected, the well-to-do families tend to enroll their children in high
performing privately managed schools while the poor are forced into the public sector
system. According to a recent survey while only 27 percent of the children from the
richest 20 percent of the households were enrolled in government schools; these schools
catered to as much as 75 per cent of the children from the poorest 20 percent of the
families. This means that the rich have been able to bypass the part of the educational
sector managed by the government while the poor have no recourse but to send their
children to public schools. This process of selection according to income levels is
reducing the quality of the student body in government schools.
There is a high level drop out rate in the public system with the rate increasing as we go
higher up in the system. Barely 10 percent of the school going age children complete 12
years of schooling; around 25 percent leave after eight years of schooling and another 15
percent by grade-10. Such a high level of drop out has serious budgetary implications. At
least 50 percent of the educational budget is spent on the children who drop out early.
This is a tremendous waste for a sector that is already short of resources.
A high drop out rate has one other adverse consequence. Even if the level of literacy
increases in the country, the level of skill acquisition will not improve. For many years a
Testimony
8
number of development institutions emphasized the provision of primary instruction
without focusing attention on higher level education. It is only recently that there is
recognition that human development means more than primary education. Some
researchers maintain that universal education should mean more than five years of
schooling; it take a much longer stay in schools to be able to become functional in a
modern economy.
In light of this, what are the options available to policymakers and to the donor
community that is eager to help the country reform its educational system? The donor
interest in the country’s educational system reflects the understandable fear that, unless
the educational system is fundamentally reformed, it would create a large body of young
alienated people who would be prepared to lend a helping hand to the forces of radical
Islamic not just in Pakistan but in all corners of the world.
Educating the Pakistani masses: A new approach
The conventional approach for addressing the problem posed by the underdevelopment of
the educational sector involves is based on five assumptions. One problem – by far the
most important one according to most experts – many societies face is that the
opportunity cost of sending children to school is greater than the benefit education is
likely to bring. Parents bear costs even when education is free. Perceived cost of
education is likely to be more of an inhibiting factor for the attendance of girls in schools
than for boys. In poor households girls help their mothers handle a variety of chores
including the care of their siblings. One way of approaching this problem is to provide
monetary incentives to parents to send their children to school. School feeding programs
fall into this category of assistance; they lower the cost of education for parents.
Two, the state may not be spending enough on education. The remedy is to increase the
proportion of public resources going into education. The donor community has been
prepared to help with funds if there was the fear that the domestic resources were too
constrained to allow for an increase in public sector expenditure on education. This was
one reason why development institutions such as the World Bank significantly increased
their lending for education.
Three, typically a state spends more on secondary, tertiary and university education than
on primary education. The cure is to divert more funds into primary schooling.
Four, the quality of instruction is poor. The obvious solution is to invest in teacher
training, reforming the curriculum and improving the quality of text books. Sometimes
the quality may suffer because schools may lack proper physical facilities. They may be
poorly constructed or the buildings may be poorly maintained. The students may not even
chairs and desks on which they can sit and work. This problem can be handled, once
again, by committing more resources for public sector education.
Five, the educational bureaucracy is too remote from the parents who wish to see an
improvement in the quality of education given to their children. This gap between the
Testimony
9
provider and the receiver can be bridged by organizing parents to oversee the working of
the educational system. Teachers can be made responsible to the parent’s association in
addition to being responsible to the educational departments in some distant place.
Six, in highly traditional societies, parents will be prepared to send their girls to school
only if they don’t have to travel long distances, if they are taught by female teachers, and
if the schools have appropriate toile facilities. In some situations parents would educate
girls if there are single-sex schools. The solution for this problem is to build more schools
for girls and to employ more female teachers.
All this was learned from a great of experience by the donor agencies from their work
around the world. Most of these lessons were incorporated in a high profile program of
assistance for educational improvement launched by the World Bank in Pakistan in the
late 1980s. Called the Social Action Program, the plan developed by the bank was
supported by a number of donor agencies and billions of dollars were spent on it for over
a decade. The result was disheartening. The program was inconsequential in achieving
even the most fundamental objectives: increasing the rate of enrollment in primary
schools for both boys and girls and bring education even to the more remote areas of the
country. The bank made several attempts to correct the course during the implementation
phase but the program did not succeed. There was one simple reason for the program’s
failure. It did not take full cognizance of the fact that the educational bureaucracy was so
corrupt, inefficient and dysfunctional that it could not possibly deliver a program of this
size. Ultimately the donors decided to abandon the program.
Given this experience and given the magnitude of the problem the country faces what
options are available to the policymakers in the country and the donor community
interested in providing help to Pakistan?
A variety of donors have already committed large amounts of finance for helping
Pakistan educate its large population. According to a recent count by the Ministry of
Education in Islamabad, foreign commitment for education is currently estimated at
$1.44 billion spread over a period of seven years, from 2002 to 2009. Of this $450
million is being provided as grants with the United States at $100 million the largest
donor. The remaining one billion dollars is being given in the form of soft loans by the
World Bank ($650 million) and the Asian Development Bank ($339 million). These
commitments amount to some $370 million a year.
The government has also announced its intention to significantly increase the amount of
public funds for education. In 2000-2001, funding for education amounted to only 1.96
per cent of the gross domestic product. This increased to 2.7 percent by 2003-2004 when
the government spent about $2 billion on education, of which about one-quarter was
provided by donors. It is the government’s intention to increase the amount of public
resources committed to education to about 4 percent of GDP which would bring the
expenditure in par with that of most other developing countries.
Testimony
10
However, the experience with the World Bank funded and supervised Social Action
Program tells us that a mere increase in the availability of resources will not address the
problem. What is required a multi-pronged approach in which resource increase plays
only a small part. For Pakistan to succeed this time around, it will have to be imaginative
and comprehensive in the strategy it adopts. There are at least six elements of this
approach.
First, the government must develop a core curriculum that must be taught in all schools
up to the twelfth grade. Along with the prescription of such a core syllabus, the
government should also create a body to oversee the text books used for instruction.
There should be no restriction on the submission of books that can be used as authorized
text and there should be a fair amount of choice available to schools. They should be able
to pick from an approved list. The selected books must carry the “good-housekeeping
seal of approval” of the authority created for this purpose. The members of the authority
should be selected by an autonomous Education Commission which can be nominated by
the government and approved by the national assembly.
Second, no institution should be allowed to take in students unless it registers with the
Education Commission. The Commission should issue certificates of registration to the
institutions which should indicate what kind of curriculum is being taught in addition to
the core syllabus. Overtime the Commission should develop the expertise to grade
schools according to their quality. A scale of the type used by credit rating agencies could
be used by the Commission as a way of informing the parents about the type and quality
of education on offer.
Third, either the Education Commission or a similar body should issue certificates to
qualified teachers. No school, no matter what kind of curriculum it teaches, should be
allowed to hire teachers unless they have been appropriately certified by the authority.
The certificate should indicate which subject(s) the teacher has the competence to teach.
Fourth, in order to further encourage the participation of the private sector while
lessening the burden of the public sector, the state should encourage the establishment of
Private Education Foundations that will be run on non–profit basis and will raise funds
that will qualify for tax exemption. These foundations should also be encouraged to
register abroad so that they can receive contributions from the members of the Pakistani
diasporas in the United States, Britain and the Middle East. The government should offer
for sale to the Foundations the institutions it manages at all levels. This will be a form of
privatization with the intent to encourage not only educational entrepreneurs to enter the
field but to involve the people who are interested in improving the quality of education in
the country.
Fifth, the government must reform the management of the educational system. One way
of doing this is to decentralize the system’s running to the local level. The recent
devolution of authority permitted by the reform of the local government structure has
created an opportunity for the involvement of local communities in educational
management. The development of the local government system as envisaged by the
Testimony
11
administration of President Pervez Musharraf is being challenged by some vested
interests including the members of the National and Provincial legislatures who fear
erosion of power as more authority flows to the local level. The old bureaucracy that had
exercised enormous power under the old structure is also reluctant to loosen its grip. This
resistance will need to be overcome.
Sixth, parent-teacher-administrator associations should be created that manage funds and
allocate them to the areas in which serious deficiencies exist. These associations should
also have the authority to assess the performance of the teachers and administrators based
on the quality of education given. Parental involvement in education, even when the
parents themselves were not literate or poorly educated yielded very positive results in
several countries of Central America.
Seventh, the government should attempt to level the playing field by making it possible
for children of less well-to-do households to gain admission into the privately managed
schools. The government could initiate a program of grants and loans that should be
administered by the commercial banks. Such an approach was tried successfully in
Mexico. Letting the bank’s manage these programs will save them from being corrupted.
Eighth, to address the serious problem of youth unemployment in a population growing
rapidly and in a society that is becoming increasingly susceptible to accepting destructive
ideologies, it is important to focus a great deal of attention on skill development. This
will require investment in vocational schools or adding technical skills to the school
curriculum.
Ninth, in undertaking a school construction program to improve physical facilities,
special attention should be given to the needs of girls. Only then will the parents have the
assurance that the schools to which they are sending their daughters can handle their
special needs.
Tenth, and finally, a serious review of current expenditure on public sector education
should be undertaken. It is well known that the state pays to a large number of “ghost
teachers” who don’t teach but turn up to collect their monthly pay checks. It is also well
known that the annual recurrent cost in well managed private schools that are able to
provide high quality education is one-half the recurrent cost of public schools.
Rationalization of these expenditures will increase the productivity of resource use.
Conclusion
Pakistan’s educational system requires an almost total overhaul. It will not be reformed
simply by the deployment of additional resources. This was tried once before by the
donor community under the auspices of the World Bank’s Social Action Program. That
as we noted above did not succeed. What is required now is a well thought out and
comprehensive approach that deals with all facets of the system.



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All members must read above article for better and precised approach about educational account of Pakistan

I am sending this article as a new threat also

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