Since 1947, acquiring Education and raising the Literacy rate has been a real challenge for Pakistan. Though We have always admired the potential of Education in changing the fortunes of Nations, still Pakistan has always found education the most threatening challenge.
A famous quote of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah:
EDUCATION IS A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH FOR PAKISTAN. THE WORLD IS PROGRESSING SO RAPIDLY THAT WITHOUT REQUISITE ADVANCE IN EDUCATION, NOT ONLY SHALL WE LAG BEHIND OTHERS BUT MAY BE WIPED OUT ALTOGETHER.
We also witness some complete unambiguous statues in the form of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan 1973 mandating the Acquisition of Education.
According to Article 25-A
THE STATE SHALL PROVIDE FREE AND COMPULSORY EDUCATION TO ALL CHILDREN UNDER THE AGE OF FIVE TO SIXTEEN YEARS IN SUCH A MANNER AS MAY BE DETERMINED BY LAW
But unfortunately, we have rarely been witnessing the complete implementation of the above-mentioned Law and quote, mandating Education.
If Pakistan manages to educate and skill this surging youth population, it could harness a tremendous youth dividend that could help to fuel the country’s economic growth and modernization. Failure to integrate the country’s legions of youngsters into the education system and the labor market, on the other hand, could turn population growth into what the Washington Post called a disaster in the making (WENR Report).
In this blog, we will highlight some serious flaws in our education system Consequences of those flaws, their reforms, and of course some researched facts regarding Achievements.
Flaws in our Education System
Theoretical Education System:
Pakistan’s education system has evolved substantially from both its Islamic and British historical roots. It has improved greatly in the 20th and 21st centuries but still tends to rely too heavily on rote memorization and outdated teaching and examination methods.
Due to the absence of estimable practical education, our youth can’t go far in the Job market.
Let’s have some examples highlighting this issue.
- An Engineer in Pakistan works under a Contractor Called “Thaikedar” in the local language who has no Subject knowledge at all. All he has is just money to invest and buy the knowledge of Educated ones.
- A graduate Lawyer dawdles around to get the very deserved opportunities to deliver his arguments in court. Though they are more learned than those of Primitive ones because of weekly innovations in Law subject. But all because they don’t get any practical learnings in Law schools, So they can’t make it up to the mark early on.
Outdated (20 years old Syllabus):
We need to come with fresh and latest knowledge which can be compared to the foreign updated syllabus to overcome the challenges of quality education in Pakistan.
The Textbooks of computer science in Sindh are still talking about cassettes and floppies.
As shown in the image of the textbook above, they talk about the operating system. The operating systems mentioned in the book are more or less 20 years old.
- Windows 98
- Windows 2000
- Windows NT
- Windows XP
These systems are not used even at the old computers now but the textbooks of Sindh are teaching about it. It is more of a history of computer science instead of computer science itself.
Low Budgetary Rationing for Education:
Finance is considered as a fuel for any field. The educational Channel of Pakistan has been Despaired by Low Budgets by Federal as well as Provincial Governments. According to Annual Budget 2020, Government allocated Rs 4.5 bn to Education.
Above table highlights comparisons of the Education budget of Pakistan with similarly ranked countries. [i]According to the International Crisis Group, Pakistan is amongst the 12 countries in the world that spent less than 2 percent of its GDP on the education sector.
With this insufficient budgetary allocation, the country is hardly going to meet the targets of Increasing Literacy rate and raising the Quality of Education. [i]
Over Stress on Examination:
Unfortunately, Examination has become the end of our knowledge. The students are assessed by written examinations only which are not justifiable to an individual being judged by written capabilities only.
Moreover, the examination system of Pakistan is not only outdated but it also does not have the quality to evaluate the performance of learners comprehensively. It exams only the memory of a student. So the students are introduced to Cramming, (in local language called “RATTA”). It badly influences the intellectual power of being individual and never assesses the de facto achievements of a learner.
Furthermore, our Exam Systems are affected by internal and external interventions whether they are political, Racial, or something related to Social classes, etc. As a result examination system promotes inferiority complexes and despair among students.
Lack of Resources:
Resources such as Books, laboratories, physical facilities are necessary for smooth as well as the quality running of Education. Almost every Public sector university (exceptions are respected) has overcrowded classrooms, an inadequate number of books, ill-equipped Laboratories.
I would like to highlight an example concerning my ALMA MATER i.e Gomal Law College DI Khan. Recently the whole batch of LLB 3 years (2019-2022) was not delivered the necessary Books. What’s more perturbing is that they were not provided Books for the whole year of LLB Part I. Some of them managed to give the exams by purchasing their books But still deprived of Books during Lecture hours. This is something alarming happening to our Educational institutions.
Consequences of These Flaws
Out of School Children:
Pakistan is facing a serious challenge to ensure all children, particularly the most disadvantaged, attend, stay, and learn in school. While enrollment and retention rates are improving, progress has been slow to improve education indicators in Pakistan.
Currently, Pakistan has the world’s second-highest number of out-of-school children (OOSC) with an estimated 22.8 million children aged 5-16 not attending school, representing 44 percent of the total population in this age group. Gender-wise, boys outnumber girls at every stage of education. [i]
Following are the reasons behind these alarming numbers:
- Less Number of schools in Rular Areas.
- Lack of awareness
- No security
No Major Invention/Exploration:
Due to the flaws in the education system of Pakistan, and the low quality of education students are unable to explore something new and invent something for the betterment of society.
Unfortunately, our mentality is engineered so that we collate our achievements in military progress and war equipment with neighboring countries, due to some military, political and Geographic effects. It all reflects the matter of priorities. Our professionally renowned journalists make fun of India’s efforts to travel the moon.
Reforms needed in the Education System
- Free Education: As stated in article 25-A, every citizen of Pakistan should be given free education.
- Scholarships: Should provide scholarships for higher education.
- Career Counseling: It should be compulsory in every school in govt. as well as the private sector.
- Remove Ratta System: Should come up with a new system to remove the cramming (Ratta) system.
- Teachers Qualification: There must be a standard qualification to be able to teach in schools as in majority private schools FA pass teachers are hired.
- Teachers Training: Teachers should be given proper training before allowing them to teach.
- Standard Syllabus: One syllabus should be made for country-wide schools to avoid disparities.
- Technical Training Centers: Make the vocational and technical training centers more efficient so that skilled youth could be produced.
- Policy Planners: Special Policy planning units should be established in provinces.
- Special Grants: If needed special grants should be provided to the provinces where the literacy rate is low.
Some achievements in improving Education
Sindh School Monitoring System by Sindh Govt:
- This first digital system in the education sector in Pakistan allows transparent and effective monitoring of staff, students, and school infrastructure.
- The Sindh School Monitoring System spreads across 15 districts and to the remotest parts of the province. Plans are underway to expand it to the entire province.
- More than 210,000 teaching and non-teaching staff have been profiled using bio-metric information, covering more than 26,200 schools.
THE SINDH SCHOOL MONITORING SYSTEM BRINGS TOGETHER TECHNOLOGY AND A ROBUST ACCOUNTABILITY MECHANISM TO ADDRESS LONG-STANDING GOVERNANCE ISSUES IN EDUCATION.[i]
Education Reforms by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Government:
Uniform Education System:
The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Elementary & Secondary Education Department (ESED) is revising textbooks.
So far up to class five have been revised. New books are structured in manner, which will help students in concepts instead of root learning.
The Department of Elementary & Secondary Education (ESED) has successfully established about 450 new schools in KP.
All are fully resourced and functioning according to the data available at ESED. About 229 schools have been sanctioned while 221 are in process.
- The overall increase in the Education budget has been 113.84% over the last 5 years.
- The enrolment of students in govt. schools increased with 4.17 million students in 2014-15, 4.219 million in 2015-16, and 4.274 million in 2016-17.
- Reforms in the education system improved parents’ confidence, more than 34,000 students migrated from private to government schools in 2016, while this year a record of 151,000 students have been migrated.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is the only province that has allocated budget for its Education Sector Plan in-line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nation on education.
Education Reforms by Punjab Government:
The Punjab Education Sector Reform Programme (PESRP) and School Education Reforms Roadmap provided a holistic strategy for achieving systemic sectoral improvements over the last five years.
These reforms put a special emphasis on higher enrolment and retention, improved learning outcomes and quality of education, and a better managed, monitored, and administered education sector.
Some of the efforts under the program include:
- Improving the provision and quality of teaching
- Developing improved monitoring systems
- A robust public-private partnership program through Punjab Education Foundation (PEF)
Education Reforms by Baluchistan Government:
The Balochistan Education Sector Plan (2013-2020) provided a holistic strategy and roadmap for guiding the reforms process over the following five years. It put special emphasis on improving quality, equity, and governance.
Under BESP, the Balochistan government implemented reform initiatives like:
- Real-time monitoring
- Standardized testing of learning levels
- Restructuring of governance systems through District Education Authorities (DEA)
This blog includes problems faced by the education system of Pakistan, reforms needed to meet the needs of literacy in Pakistan, and some recent achievements by Provincial Governments of Pakistan. Besides above-mentioned reformatory measures, Pakistani institutions have also produced internationally enlightened personalities in the forms of:
- Abdul Salam, University of Engineering and Technology, Lahore
- Ayub Ommaya (Neurosurgeon)
- Allah Baksh Malik (Researcher /Author)
- Mahbub ul Haq (Economist)
- Atta ur Rahman (Scientist, Natural Products)
- Ismat Baig ( Mathematician)
- Arfa Abdul Karim Randhawa ( youngest Microsoft certified professional, age 9)
- Naveed Sayyed (Scientist, 1st to connect the brain to silicon chip)
- Nergis Mavalvala (Astrophysicist,1st observer of gravity waves.
- Malala Yousafzai (Nobel Peace prize Holder)
And much more, off course many to come,
In sha Allah.
 Education in Pakistan, February 25, 2020 Robert Hunter, World Education Services
 Rehman H. and Khan N., “The flaws in Pakistan’s Education System”, Abasyn Journal of Social Sciences,
vol/issue: 4(1), 2011.
 UNICEF/PAKISTAN/Asad Zaidi
 AMJAD NOORANI, EDUCATION ACTIVIST (PAKISTAN), THE CITIZENS FOUNDATION, SAN FRANCISCO, USA @AMJADTCFUSA@TCFPAK
 ROOHI ABDULLAH, LEAD AND INITIATOR, GIRL RISING PAKISTAN, WASHINGTON DC, USA @GIRLRISINGPAK
 Amjad Norani
 MADEEHA ANSARI, WRITER AND INDEPENDENT CONSULTANT, LONDON, UK @MADEEHA_ANSARI
 ZUBEIDA MUSTAFA, COLUMNIST FOR DAWN, KARACHI, PAKISTAN@ZUBEIDAMUSTAFA @DAWN_COM
 FAZLULLAH PECHUHO, FORMER SECRETARY EDUCATION AND LITERACY DEPARTMENT, SINDH