Ed­u­ca­tion Sys­tem in Pak­istan

The Diplomatic Insight - - Opinion - *Bakhtavar Ma­lik Waqar 22

Ed­u­ca­tion rep­re­sents an im­por­tant tool for a coun­try's eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment and hu­man for­ma­tion. In or­der to achieve pros­per­ity and au­ton­omy, a coun­try needs to pri­or­i­tize ed­u­ca­tion when de­lin­eat­ing na­tional con­sti­tu­tions. How­ever, it is de­bat­able as to whether Pak­istan's cur­rent pri­or­i­ties and poli­cies are ef­fec­tive in trig­ger­ing the changes needed. For a coun­try like Pak­istan, there is a con­tin­u­ous strug­gle to im­ple­ment poli­cies that could prompt ir­re­proach­able out­comes. Sim­i­lar to many other de­vel­op­ing coun­tries, it is an on­go­ing bat­tle to en­cour­age Pak­istan's ed­u­ca­tion sec­tor to thrive and con­trib­ute to eco­nomic growth. The mount­ing pop­u­la­tion size has had a con­sid­er­able impact on the gov­ern­ment's abil­ity to as­sist a large num­ber of peo­ple, in par­tic­u­lar the high per­cent­age of them liv­ing in poverty. Fur­ther­more, the coun­try's de­mo­graphic chal­lenge does not only re­strict its alarm­ing growth in pop­u­la­tion but also in­cludes gen­der in­equal­ity and pop­u­la­tion mi­gra­tion. Gen­der roles in Pak­istan are mostly de­ter­mined by cul­tural norms and tra­di­tions. In a coun­try were eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment is low, many con­sider boys to be bet­ter eco­nomic providers for their par­ents' old age. Stud­ies show that girls get bet­ter grades than boys, mak­ing them valu­able for fu­ture growth. Ed­u­ca­tion is es­sen­tial for em­pow­er­ing women. An ar­ti­cle pub­lished in The Econ­o­mist states that women in gov­ern­men­tal lev­els would con­trib­ute a lot more to the coun­try's so­cial con­cerns (via im­prov­ing health, in­fra­struc­ture, and ed­u­ca­tion) com­pared to men who tend to waste money on the coun­try's mil­i­tary (bombs and tanks). Pak­istan's large young and dy­namic pop­u­la­tion could work in its fa­vor; how­ever mi­gra­tion has been a pre­ferred op­tion for those es­cap­ing from po­lit­i­cal per­se­cu­tion or war, nat­u­ral dis­as­ters (floods, earth­quakes) and those seek­ing for a bet­ter qual­ity of life. Ac­cord­ing to the UN Ed­u­ca­tional, Sci­en­tific and Cul­tural Or­ga­ni­za­tion (UNESCO) re­port, Pak­istan is ranked as hav­ing one of the world's largest out-of-school pop­u­la­tion, es­ti­mated at about 7.3 mil­lion. In point of fact, it has been pub­lished by Dawn News that Pak­istan's gov­ern­ment spends a lot more on its mil­i­tary than on its ed­u­ca­tion sec­tor. An­other pre­vail­ing fac­tor per­turb­ing ed­u­ca­tion growth in Pak­istan is the low amount of gov­ern­ment spend­ing on in­fra­struc­ture. Schools in Pak­istan are in de­plorable con­di­tions which pose a se­ri­ous threat to chil­dren's health. De­sign­ing poli­cies and elab­o­rat­ing con­sti­tu­tions can only be ef­fec­tive if gov­ern­ment's trans­form words on pa­per into con­crete ac­tions. The con­sti­tu­tion of Pak­istan be­lieves that it is the state's re­spon­si­bil­ity to pro­vide free ed­u­ca­tion. At the time of in­de­pen­dence, there was only one univer­sity in Pak­istan called The Univer­sity of the Pun­jab, founded in 1882 in La­hore. Pak­istan's sec­ondary school ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem in pri­vate schools pro­vides a cur­ricu­lum set and ad­min­is­tered by the Cam­bridge In­ter­na­tional Ex­am­i­na­tions which en­ables stu­dents to chose to takeOlevel orAlevel ex­ams through the Bri­tish Coun­cil. Bri­tish col­o­niza­tion has left its mark on Pak­istan. An­other form of ed­u­ca­tion pro­vided in Pak­istan is in madras­sas. It is a free Is­lamic ed­u­ca­tion which also of­fers a free board­ing and lodg­ing to stu­dents who come mainly from the poorer strata of so­ci­ety. How­ever, since the 9/11 at­tack, there is con­cern that the madras­sas are con­nected to ter­ror­ists en­abling them to re­cruit and pro­vid­ing them fi­nan­cial sup­port. De­spite gov­ern­ment ef­forts, cor­rup­tion is ever-present in Pak­istan. Ed­u­ca­tion is not pro­tected from cor­rup­tion: in fact, po­lit­i­cal in­ter­fer­ence and cor­rup­tion in tan­dem had the most per­ni­cious impact on the sec­tor. The pres­ence of ghost schools, bribery sys­tems and coun­ter­feit de­grees has rep­re­sented a ma­jor threat to growth in the ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem. Cor­rup­tion in ed­u­ca­tion is in­sti­tu­tion­al­ized in a man­ner that has en­abled it to be­come the norm. And yet what poli­cies has the gov­ern­ment es­tab­lished to

deal with ed­u­ca­tion? The Na­tional Ed­u­ca­tion Pol­icy was re­viewed in 2005 with the main ob­jec­tive of reg­u­lat­ing hu­man de­vel­op­ment tar­gets set by the Gov­ern­ment of Pak­istan. Re­vis­ing the ed­u­ca­tion pol­icy made it so the prime goal repri­or­i­tiz­ing mul­ti­ple ob­jec­tives in the ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem so as to re­duce con­flicts and at­tain a knowl­edge-based econ­omy per­mit­ting ev­ery in­di­vid­ual to fully re­al­ize his or her in­nate po­ten­tial. The Fed­eral Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion's cur­rent initiatives dis­tin­guish them­selves from other ef­forts in Pak­istan be­cause pub­lic pol­icy for­mu­la­tion has never been pur­sued so as­sid­u­ously or de­signed so metic­u­lously. The Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion en­sures that this pol­icy re­view will, as a result, pro­vide state and non-state, for­mal and non­for­mal- a ho­moge­nous ed­u­ca­tion. The Pak­istani gov­ern­ment pub­lished a white pa­per on ed­u­ca­tion in Pak­istan out­lin­ing that ed­u­ca­tion Pol­icy of ev­ery state has an ide­o­log­i­cal ba­sis which pro­vides the so­cial norms ex­pected of a so­ci­ety. While in the West, this ide­o­log­i­cal ba­sis may be seen as be­ing­more lib­eral, con­ser­va­tive orMarx­ist re­strict­ing it to the con­text of Pak­istan, this ide­o­log­i­cal base is his­tor­i­cally de­rived from Is­lam

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