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It has been said that education is the panacea for all the social evils in a society. Investing in education does not have a direct impact, as it works indirectly to revamp a society by changing the minds of its citizens. The breach in the government and private educational institutions is considered to be the major reason of Pakistan lagging behind in educational sector.
In Pakistan, public-sector education is a joke, and standards in private institutions, excluding a few that are affordable by the elites, are not up to the mark. The question is how come Pakistan is expected to fight the menaces like unemployment, poverty, and corruption etc. when the building blocks of education sectors aren’t in place.
Pakistan being the sixth most populous country in the world vis-à-vis having high illiteracy rate is the only country outside of sub-Saharan Africa among the bottom ten countries regarding the overall achievement towards education for all. According to Alif Ailaan, Pakistan’s District Education Ranking 2016, the lags in the spending in the education sector are clearly visible.
As 81 percent of the total government schools are operating as primary ones. The rest 19 percent operating as the secondary ones are in an abysmal state, being unable to provide quality education. This is an alarming situation as it violates the pledge taken in the article 25(A) of the constitution to provide free and compulsory education to the children between age group ranging from 5 to 16. Keeping in mind the failure to achieve the MDG target of 88% literacy rate, it is far-fetched for Pakistan to achieve SDG of providing quality education by 2030.
According to a recent report published by United Nations, Pakistan lags 50+ years behind in primary and 60+ years behind in secondary education. The total expenditures equivalent to 1.7 percent of GDP in the education sector depict a grim picture of Pakistan’s future. It seems that government has done nothing so far to improve the quality of education although it has guaranteed to accomplish the SDG target regarding the availability of quality education.
Likewise, children who do get enrolled into the schools, 31 percent of them drop out before they finish primary school. And when it comes to gender disparity, 52 percent of all girls within the age bracket of 5 and 16 years are currently out of school as compared to 43 percent of all boys.
It is a pertinent fact that Pakistan is suffering from lowest education spending in South Asia moreover, this abysmal situation has been aggravated due to the administrative corruption that does not allow the funds allocated to the education sector utilize properly. Feudalism and plutocratic culture is also an obstacle that obstructs the schools in backward areas to function properly.
Use of English language in the education system is a big conundrum as Pakistan is a multilingual country and English is not our native language. Besides all these problems Pakistan does lack qualified workforce in the education sector, and those who are qualified do not have the subject knowledge equivalent to their degree. Furthermore, it is the lack of funding in the education sector that qualified staff abstains from working in the education department as they are not paid according to their services.
Analysts are of the opinion that investments done by the government on infrastructural projects give promptly to result in the form of increased voters and devotees. Whereas, investment in the educational sector is a long-term phenomenon as it benefits a country in the longer run in the form of polished and trained human resource and high levels of economic growth. Therefore our pseudo-politicians and government officials invest more on gigantic infrastructural projects that help them gaining instant popularity in a shorter span of time.
There is an increase in brain drain, unemployment and crime rate due to lack of educational facilities. Most of the Ph.D. scholars prefer to work in greener pastures and researchers claim that just one teacher is available for approximately 80 students in Pakistan. So the question is that how can schools in Pakistan perform robustly when there are no teachers?
Someone has rightly said that illiteracy begets illiteracy and Pakistan cannot come out of the vicious cycle of poverty and unemployment unless it focuses wholly and heartily on the provision of quality education.
The problems in the education sector are well known but are well ignored. By making education a priority, Pakistan can excel in all walks of life. Although it seems utopian in the current abysmal conditions but the need is to initiate an instant reform project aiming to revamp the education system.