Education System of Pakistan: Issues and Way Forwards

Education System of Pakistan: Issues and Way Forwards

CSS and PMS Solved Essays | Education System of Pakistan: Issues and Way Forwards

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2-Debunking the term education 

3-Significance of education for a nation’s progress

4-Current situation of Pakistan’s education system

5-What issues are facing Pakistan’s education system? 

  • Lack of policy implementation due to shortage of political will promoting lawlessness, corruption, and governance crisis in the country
    • Case in Point: Even after the adoption of more than 25 policies, still the education system is failing to raise the nation socially and economically
  • Non-uniform education trajectory leading to extremism and terrorism
    • Case in Point: Clear difference between the attitudes of students coming out from the public educational institutions, deeni madaris and the few private elite institutions
  • Low budget for the education sector, which results in mismanagement of human and natural resources 
    • Case in Point: According to the International Crisis Group, Pakistan is amongst the 12 countries in the world that spent less than 2 per cent of their GDP on the education sector
  • Teachers’ naivety to modern methodologies due to a shortage of training programs failed to produce skilled labourers and an innovative mindset
    • Case in Point: According to a UNESCO report, there are no proper training standards in the available training institutes in the remote areas of Punjab, Sindh, Baluchistan, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
  • Absence of training and research centres hinders the socio-economic approach
    • Case in Point: According to the International Association of Universities, Pakistan is the world’s 20th-largest country in terms of the number of universities. Nonetheless, the country contributes only 0.49 per cent to the world’s research documents.
  • Lack of quality techno-vocational institutes leading towards unemployment
    • Case in Point: According to the Planning Commission of Pakistan, less than six per cent of the youth population acquires technical skills, and only two per cent implemented
  • Negligence of moral development in the education sector promotes intolerance and polarization
    • Case in Point: Kalimullah, head of the sociology department at Peshawar University, depicts the education system as a source of ongoing deep polarization in the country

6- Recommendations to overcome educational challenges 

  • To allocate a sufficient budget for education, the education system of Pakistan takes a fresh breath with resources  
  • To strengthen accountability so that everyone owns their responsibilities
  • To own their responsibilities, accountability must be strengthened
  • To introduce an updated and relevant curriculum catering to the modern world’s psyche and needs.
  • To work smoothly without any discrimination, there must be less political interference in the education sector
  • To provide solid political will on policy implementation and less interference of politics in the education sector

7- Conclusion 

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Education, the kindling of the flame, is the permanent character of human history from darkness to light and the evolution of thoughts from ashes to the phoenix. It has remained the most powerful tool for securing growth and progress in the socio-economic and political realm. Thus, education lays the foundation for a country’s political, social, and economic development. However, being a developing country, Pakistan has been facing critical issues in education since its inception; therefore, the education system has failed to deliver according to the nation’s aspirations. This is because there is a shortage of techno-vocational institutions, policy implementation, uniformity, budget, training and research institutions, and moral development in the country’s institutions. As a result, the state has failed to develop innovative mindsets to contribute to the socio-economic and political upliftment of the country. Although multiple education policies have been designed to improve Pakistan’s education system, none have ever been implemented successfully. Therefore, it is high time for the government to look into the matter meticulously to help the coming generation have a better education system and progress. This essay discusses the issues of Pakistan’s education system and suggests ways forward for overcoming these issues.

      Debunking the term, education is a process that begins at birth and continues until the end of life. The primary focus and function of education is to prepare children for their roles as workers and members of a larger society and identify the purpose of education, shaping of the social being. Generally, there are two main types of education: formal education, which takes place in proper education and training institutions, and non-formal education, which does not occur in formally structured schools. The differences between traditional and non-formal education can be seen in terms of the purpose, timing, content, delivery system and level of control.

      In a broader context, it plays a significant role in people’s physical, mental, psychological and social growth and is the pillar of national progress. Countries with constructive education systems are considered the world’s socio-economic leaders. The founders of Pakistan realized early that the future of this nation depended on a productive pursuit of knowledge through education. In his message to the first Education Conference in November 1947, the Quaid-e-Azam said: “If we are to make real, speedy and substantial progress, we must bring our educational policy and program on the lines suited to the genius of our people, consonant with our history and culture and having regard to the modern conditions and vast developments that have taken place all over the world. The future of our State will and must accordingly depend upon the education we give our children and how we bring them up as future citizens of Pakistan. Through sound education, we should try to instill in them a high sense of honour, integrity, responsibility and selfless service to the nation. There is an immediate and urgent need to give scientific and technical education to our people to build up our future economic life and to see that our people take to science, commerce, trade, and particularly well-planned industries. We should not forget that we must compete with the world, which is moving quickly in this direction.” Every nation crops its generations according to its society and provides teachings to play a significant role in developing its country. Thus, education has played an essential role in the development of Norway, as their highest literacy rate leads them to be amongst the most prosperous nations.  

       Since its inception, Pakistan has expressed its commitment to promoting education and literacy in the country through education policies at the domestic level and getting involved in international commitment, for instance, ‘Education for All’, Vision 2030, and Millennium Development Goals. A review suggests that progress has been observed in the education system. But still, there is a dire need for research and training institutions, policy implementation, trained and professional teachers, uniformity and direction, and updated and relevant syllabi, delineating the current outlook of the country’s education system.

      Talking about the issues that Pakistan’s education system facing today, the first is several education policies have been created, but none have been implemented in an authentic and genuine spirit. It is because there has been a lack of political will on the part of successive governments to enforce the policies vigorously due to the problems of corruption, lack of funds and gross inconsistency in straight planning on the part of various political regimes in Pakistan. Moreover, in the overall policy formulation, teachers have been ignored. They are regarded as unimportant elements, which has led to alienation between the teachers and the education system.

     Moreover, different systems of education are simultaneously working in the country. The curriculum is also not uniform, giving birth to other schools of thought. For example, there is a difference between students’ attitudes toward public educational institutions, deeni madaris, and the few private elite institutions. This trend has accelerated the pace of polarization in society, created a massive gap in the nation, and even deeply penetrated its cultural veins. The recent wave of terrorism and the increasing sectarian division are the logical consequences of this divided system of education. As a result, in the current polarized system of education, there has occurred a tremendous social division in society on political, social, and economic grounds rather than unity among the people, which is cutting knee deep the ideological and social foundation of the nation leading towards further divisions on linguistic and regional grounds, which has potentially damage the social cohesion and fabric of the society.

      Besides, finance is considered the engine of a system. The education system of Pakistan has been crippled mainly due to the scarcity of finance. The successive governments have been giving less than 2.5 per cent of their budget to the education sector, which is not sufficient for the growing educational needs of the nation in the present changing times. Academic budgetary allocation has increased in many developing regional countries, such as Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. But in Pakistan, it is declining day by day. According to the International Crisis Group, Pakistan is among the 12 countries that spend less than 2% of their GDP on education. With this insufficient budgetary allocation, the country has hardly meet the targets of universalizing primary education as a signatory to the SDG goals by 2015 and onward.

      In addition to this, training is essential for quality performance of teachers, as teaching is a challenging job. And there is a lack of training opportunities for teachers in Pakistan. However, there are various teacher training institutes in the country. These institutes are either not well-resourced or are poorly run due to a lack of funds and trained human resources, such as trainers and administrators. According to the UNESCO report, “There are no proper training standards in the available training institutes in the remote areas of Punjab, Sindh, Baluchistan, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.” Most training institutes have been closed down due to lack of funds. The courses being run in the teacher education intuitions are outdated and very traditional, which does not enhance teachers’ skills, motivation, and quality.

      Adding more to it, quality research in Pakistan’s education system is still a distant dream. According to the International Association of Universities, “Pakistan is the world’s 20th-largest country in the number of universities. Nonetheless, the country contributes only 0.49 per cent to the world’s research documents.” As a result, even the highly qualified youth could do nothing to resolve the prevailing socio-economic problems of the country.

Furthermore, technical education is considered the most practical form, potentially developing countries’ social and economic aspects by producing trained labour. Contrarily, Pakistan’s education system is unable to have skilled labour. According to the Planning Commission of Pakistan, “Less than six per cent of the youth population acquires technical skills, and only two per cent implement them.” This indicated that Pakistan’s techno-vocational institutes lack efficiency and productivity. Thus compromising the country’s employment and economic output.

       Lastly, the education system’s negligence in children’s moral development promotes intolerance and polarization among the young masses. So, it impacts their thoughts and actions. Kalimullah, the head of the Sociology Department at Peshawar University, depicts, “The education system as a source of ongoing deep polarization in the country. As a result, they failed to serve the country for good.” Thus, neglected morality in the education sector buries the talent of the land of the pure even before the bloom.

      Nonetheless, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. Pakistan’s youth can be turned into diamonds of talent and virtuosity if educated how they deserve to be. For this purpose, the following steps must be taken. First, there should be sufficient educational budgetary allocation in the national GDP. This will provide the system with resources to take fresh breaths of life. Thus, if the country’s fiscal allocation exceeds the low percentage to the optimum demanded one, its education system will eventually boom at large like all other developing countries: Sri Lanka and Finland.

      Second, the accountability system must be strengthened, and all the professionals associated with the education system should be educated to take responsibility individually and collectively. This helps create a sense of ownership of the system and its functions. To accomplish this, free and fair accountability benches must be allocated in all institutions to ensure their transparency, especially the country’s education sector’s officials. In this way, the government will overcome the predicament of the poor education system.

      Third, the government should introduce a uniform curriculum to provide equal opportunities for rural students to compete with urban students in the job market. The curriculum should be evaluated on an annual basis. In this regard, a vast survey could be conducted to seek the opinions of teachers, parents and the community regarding their expectations and observations. In this light, the expert recommendations of the education researchers are that the curriculum goals should be redefined, and such curriculum should be prepared, which caters to the psyche and needs of the society and the country without any discrimination of cast, colour and creed.

      Fourth, the education sector should have as little political interference as possible. This will allow the system to function smoothly and without any discrimination. Frequent political intervention creates gaps and trust deficits on the part of public and government agencies; solid political will on the part of government is required in policy implementation in the education sector. Thus, policies should be implemented without any delay in time and resources.

      Last but not least, there is a need to implement 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, policies should be implemented without any delay of time and resources. There should be a strong political will on the part of the government to implement policies without any delay. Poor policy implementation has created gaps and trust deficits for the public and government agencies.

      To conclude, a nation’s efficiency depends on its education system; only a viable education system can enable it to achieve its national goals. Unfortunately, Pakistan, as a developing country, has faced critical problems in education: unequipped teachers, lack of political will, irrelevant and outdated curricula, and a non-uniform education trajectory since its inception. Therefore, the education system has failed to play its part in achieving human resources. The raw potential of the country’s youth can be polished through pragmatic education policies and raising education indicators to help strengthen the country’s position in global and International politics.

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