The education system includes all institutions that participate in the delivery of formal education (public and private, for profit and non-profit, on-site or virtual instruction) and its faculties, students, physical infrastructure, resources and standards.
In a broader definition, the system also includes institutions directly involved in the financing, management, operation or regulation of such institutions (such as government ministries and regulatory bodies, central testing organizations, textbook boards and accreditation boards). . The rules and regulations that guide the individual and institutional interactions within the configuration are also part of the education system.
The education system in Pakistan is composed of approximately 260,903 institutions and is facilitating 41,018,384 students with the help of 1,535,461 teachers. The system includes 180,846 public institutions and 80,057 private institutions. Therefore, 31% of educational institutes are administered by the private sector, while 69% are public institutes.
A review of Pakistan’s educational system suggests that there have been few changes in schools in Pakistan since 2010, when Amendment 18 enshrined education as a fundamental human right in the constitution. The problems of access, quality, infrastructure and inequality of opportunities are still endemic.
There are so many problems that lead to an understanding of the problems faced in the development of the education system and the promotion of literacy. If we improve our education system, our country will definitely be included in the list of developed countries. The article describes seven main problems that must be addressed, such as:
- Lack of proper planning: Pakistan is a signatory to the MDGs and the EFA goals. However, it seems that it will not be able to comply with these international commitments due to the financial management problems and the limitations to reach the MDGs and the EFA goals.
- Social limitations: it is important to realize that the problems that hinder the provision of education are not only due to management problems on the part of the government, but some of them are deeply rooted in the social and cultural orientation of the people. Overcoming the latter is difficult and would require a change in the attitude of the people, until then universal primary education is difficult to achieve.
- Gender gap: the main factors that hinder girls’ enrollment rates are poverty, cultural limitations, parents’ illiteracy and parents’ concerns about the safety and mobility of their daughters. The emphasis of society on the modesty, protection and early marriages of girls may limit the willingness of the family to send them to school. The enrollment of rural girls is 45% lower than that of urban girls; while for children, the difference is only 10%, which shows that the gender gap is an important factor.
- Cost of education: the economic cost is higher in private schools, but they are only located in richer settlements. The paradox is that private schools are better but not everywhere, and government schools ensure equitable access but do not provide quality education.
- War on terror: Pakistan’s participation in the war against terrorism also affected the promotion of the literacy campaign. The militants attacked schools and students; Several educational institutions were flown, teachers and students were killed in Balochistan, KPK and FATA. This may have to contribute not as much as other factors, but this is still an important factor.
- Education funds: Pakistan spends 2.4% of GDP on education. At the national level, 89% of education expenditure includes current expenses, such as teacher salaries, while only 11% corresponds to development expenses, which is not enough to raise the quality of education.
- Technical education: insufficient attention has been given to technical and vocational education in Pakistan. The number of technical and vocational training institutes is not enough and many lack infrastructure, teachers and tools for training. The population of a state is one of the main elements of its national power. You can become an asset once you are an expert. The unskilled population means more unemployed people in the country, which negatively affects the national development. Therefore, technical education needs priority management by the government.
Poverty, the situation of law and order, natural disasters, budgetary constraints, lack of access, poor quality, equity and governance have also contributed to fewer enrollments.
We can solve these problems if we adequately implement the national education policy and the 2030 vision education objectives. It is possible that the government cannot currently implement a uniform education system in the country, but a uniform curriculum can be introduced in the educational institutes of the country. This will provide equal opportunities for students from rural areas to compete with students from urban areas in the labor market.
Given that the majority of the Pakistani population lives in rural areas and access to education is a major problem for them, it seems feasible to adopt a balanced approach to formal and informal education. Both the government and the non-governmental sector should work together to promote education in rural areas.
The government should take measures to evict the school buildings that are occupied by the feudal lords of Sindh, Balochistan and Punjab. Efforts should be made to ensure that adequate education is provided in these schools.
The federal government is paying attention to professional and technical training, but it is important to make the existing vocational and technical training centers more efficient so that trained young people can be produced.
Since education is a provincial issue, the provincial education secretariats should be strengthened. Special policy planning units should be established in the provincial education departments for the implementation of educational policies and the formulation of new policies when necessary. The provincial departments of education must calculate the financial resources necessary to comply with Article 25-A.
The federal government must play a supporting role against the provinces for the prompt fulfillment of the constitutional obligation established in article 25-A. Special subsidies may be granted to provinces where the literacy rate is low.
There are some recommendations that can help to endure our colossal mess of the educational system:
- Technical education must be part of secondary education. Carpentry, electricity and other technical education classes should be included in the curriculum.
- Provide financial incentives to students can encourage parents to send their children to school and can help reduce the dropout rate.
- The local government system is useful to promote education and literacy in the country. In the local government system, the locality will spend the funds for education according to need.
- Corruption in education departments is one of the factors of the low level of literacy in the country. An effective monitoring system is needed in education departments.
- For any system to work, it is imperative that relevant structures are developed. The legislation and structure should be framed to plan the promotion of education in the country. After the 18th amendment, education has become a provincial issue; therefore, the provinces should form laws and design educational policies that guarantee a quality education.
- The unemployment of educated men and women is a big concern for Pakistan. There should be professional guidance of students in schools so that they understand the labor market and can develop their skills accordingly.
- It requires the advice of parents, so they can choose a career for their child that is friendly to the market.
There are two approaches to acquiring education: First, what many in Pakistan are pursuing is getting education to earn bread and butter. The second approach is to obtain education for personal development and learning. This approach is followed by rich and economically stable people who send their children to private schools and abroad for education. The problem arises when non-affluent families send their children to private schools and universities. This aspiration to send children to higher education is wrong, because the country does not need managers and officers only. There are many other jobs where people are needed. Therefore, the mentality of sending children to college only to become officials and managers must be changed.
The reforms required in the education system of Pakistan cannot be made only by the government, public-private participation and a combination of formal and non-formal education can remove the majority of the population of the country from illiteracy. In the same way, for the youth of the country to be an asset, attention must also be given to professional and technical training.