The current state of Pakistani education is a major subject of debate in the country. The education system in Pakistan is characterized by the poor quality of studies, low enrollment and high costs fee structure. Public expenditure on education was just over 3.2% of GDP in 2021, which is among the lowest in the world. The Government of Pakistan spends about Rs. 5 billion (US$59 million) annually on non-tariff barriers to trade in education materials including books, uniforms and school fees for public schools.
The Pakistani constitution mandates free and compulsory primary and secondary education for children aged 5 to 16. However, the private school fees are unaffordable for middle-income families, thus making education inaccessible to 45% of the population of Pakistan. Moreover, in urban areas, there is a lack of government schools catering to higher grades.
The public sector suffers from a lack of qualified teachers and from high pupil-teacher ratios. Private schools are one response to these problems with many parents choosing to send their children to private institutions due to quality concerns or because they cannot afford the cost of government schools. The elite class prefers to send their children abroad or into expensive boarding and private schools within Pakistan due to perceived higher standards.
The Government’s Plan to Reform the Education System
The government has been working on reforming the current system but due to interference from different ministries and departments, it has not been successful so far. Here are some changes that could be introduced in order to make the system better:
- Citizens should be able to use their HEC cards at any school regardless of its affiliation
- Distance learning should be integrated into educational curriculums
- There should be more emphasis on vocational training as well as higher level sciences
Since education is a provincial subject, the government only provides guidelines and recommendations. The Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training (MFEPT) has been working on reforms for the last three years to improve the system but it has not been successful so far.
The ministry has been looking for ways to increase access to education for children, reduce class sizes and ensure quality teachers. They have also looked into ways to make education free of cost by removing all private schools from the equation.
The Punjab province– which is one of the most populated provinces in Pakistan- is already taking some steps to improve the system by creating more government schools and hiring more teachers.
How the System Could Be Improved
The education system in Pakistan needs to be reformed. The current system is not working and needs to be changed. In order to make sure the system works, here are some changes that could be introduced:
- Teachers need to be paid more
- Teachers need to be given more training opportunities
- provide proper counseling of student and gudie them about carreer and future plans.
- Provide better infrastructure and full fill all the mandatory resource for the student and teacher
- The government should work in collaboration with private schools so that all children can afford an education.
- There should be a monitoring committee for private schools who are not complying with the national curriculum and are only concerned about making money.
The educational system in Pakistan is under pressure to meet the challenges of the 21st century. There are many issues that need to be tackled such as inadequate infrastructure, problems with the quality of teaching, and a lack of resources. The Pakistani education system needs to provide an excellent education to produce a skilled and educated labour force in order to compete with other developing countries. It is imperative for the school organization and staff, who are on the frontline of this struggle, to have certain skills in order to meet all these challenges.