We are students of words: we remained silent in schools, colleges and recitation -rooms, for many years and come out at last with a bag of wind and a memory of words.
Education doesn’t only transform the very social structure of a society but as the key to sustainable development and peace and stability within and among countries, it is an indispensable means for effective participation in the societies and economies of the 21st century.
Pakistan being an independent and sovereign state has not yet been able to enjoy this privilege of being fortunate due to lack of governance, administration, infrastructure, technological advancements and various other advancements which were supposed to be Pakistan’s fate but due to extremely low literacy rate it could not produce such literal brains.
The more pivotal status education has for us the more ignorance it bears by us. If we start highlighting the problems with our education system this few pager blog would not be enough. So it is intended to pinpoint some of the basic problems in order to show its enormity.
The education system of Pakistan, according to the Pakistan Education Statistics 2015-16, is comprised of 303,446 institutions and is facilitating 47,491,260 students with the help of 1,723,790 teachers. The system is composed of 191,065 public institution and 112,381 private institutions.
According to Pakistan Social and Living Standards Measurement (PSLM) Survey and Labor Force Survey (LFS) the literacy rate of Pakistan from 2011-15 is:
It is generally believed that through education gender discrimination would be vanished from the society but what to do with the gender discrimination for the education itself, which has plagued the progress of Pakistan. The graph below shows the gender wise distribution of enrolment:
Source: Pakistan Education Statistics 2015-16.
Low level of girls’ participation can be traced to lack of access to girls’ schools especially in rural and remote areas, shortage of qualified females to serve as teachers and conservatism in the society, especially among the feudal and tribal populations. For Punjab, the Pakistan Education Atlas 2016 states, 60% of the population is estimated to be literate with 69% of them male and 51% female.
Only having schools and colleges isn’t enough; “And just because you have colleges and universities doesn't mean you have education.” ? Malcolm X. There is need of quality of education which could actually create thoughtful, intellectual brains rather than mere rot memorizers. But the double, rather triple, standard of our education system is keeping it from producing such productive brains. There are basically three kinds of schools: the private institutions that cater to the upper class; the government-run schools serving the lower classes of the population and the Madrassah, the religious schools. These parallel systems of education in Pakistan have perpetuated inequalities and economic stratifications, and are root cause for behavioral divisions and social conflict in the society.
Moreover, historically, Pakistan's overall national expenditure on education as percentage of GDP has remained around 2%. Given the country's huge bill on defense spending, interest payments and energy needs, fiscal space allows constrained expenditures on remaining sectors particularly on social services such as health and education. During the past decade, budget allocation on education as percentage of GDP was:
Source: Calculated from Budget Documents
If we keep on counting the problems we will end up exhausted but the list will go on and on. There is a need for implementation of national education policy and vision 2030 education goals. An analysis of education policy suggests that at the policy level there are several admirable ideas, but practically there are some shortcomings also.
It is the responsibility of government to make every effort to produce such intellectual brains which could help in creating bright future of Pakistan and female population of Pakistan has equal intellectual sophistication to contribute towards the progress. So they should be given full-fledged facilitated environment where they can get education.
It may not be possible for the government at the moment to implement uniform education system in the country, but a uniform curriculum can be introduced in educational institutes of the country. This will provide equal opportunity to the students of rural areas to compete with students of urban areas in the job market.