The following academics have released a paper addressing these issues:
- E. Bloom
There are many problems in the education system in Pakistan. They include access, quality and equal opportunity – this is the case at every level of schooling. Recently there has been an increase in private schools and additional opportunities for tertiary education. However, despite this the government has not been able to make the necessary reforms. This has had an impact on the development of the economy and society in Pakistan. As the population numbers increase, particularly the youth, and other countries in a similar position attend to education, Pakistan is being left behind.
This paper addresses the issues of reform in education and suggests there is an opportunity to address this now.
Firstly, the reform must cross all sectors, from primary, secondary and tertiary. Second, reforms need to be systemic including goals, governance, financing and curriculum. Finally, with limited resources, implementation will not be easy. However, reform in possible.
There are many problems in the education system. Access and achievement at both primary and secondary levels are low. It is unlikely that Pakistan will reach the goal of primary education for all children by 2017. The training of teachers and their attendance is not good enough. The inequalities cover access, quality and can be seen across gender, income, rural and urban communities, and even between the provinces. For example, 65% of Punjabi males in their early 20s from urban areas completed primary school, but only about 10% of females from the rural areas of Balochi or Pathan did likewise. There has been some improvement in these figures recently.
In higher education the figures are much the same. With enrolment at 8% the figures are quite different from other countries including India (18%) and Malaysia (42%).
There are many problems in this area and include the following – faculty of poor quality, lack of motivation amongst students, the use of rote learning, obsolete curriculum, lack of discipline amongst students, low funding and very little research. Even when they graduate Pakistani students don’t have the skills to be able to contribute to a modern world.
Vocational education training is no better. Technical and vocational training has only been accessed by less than 1% of the population. The quality of this training is inconsistent. Even those who graduate are not employable. Vocational institutions have poor administration, and very little connection with industry. Poor work ethic and education are explanations as to why doing business in Pakistan is difficult.
It is not that these are new problems, and governments in Pakistan have attempted to resolve these issues, but they have failed. One of the first reports on education in Pakistan was undertaken in 1959, and despite the recommendation, subsequent reports have outlined the same problems.
It has been so long since the issues were noted and so little has been done to address these problems that it has made the situation even worse. Other developing countries have made progress, leaving Pakistan even further behind. As the numbers of young people in the population increase, the problems can only increase. If the present system is not able to education the young now, an increase in the number of young people will see the situation deteriorate even further.
Pakistan has the potential to change and needs to start these reforms to education now. This must be done for the entire system, not just sections. We will examine the opportunity there now given the present situation, the challenges and how to instigate and sustain these reforms over time.