This post discusses the main problems of the education sector in Pakistan. Moreover, suggestions for the redressal of these problems are also provided with each problem.
Problems of the education sector and their remedies in Pakistan
1. Lack of uniformity
The education system of Pakistan is not uniform. It means multiple educational systems are at work in the country. For instance, different schools in the private and public sectors including religious seminaries have different mediums of instruction, curricula, and examination systems.
The young minds graduating from school with these differences get into practical life with differing attitudes, schools of thought, approaches, etc. These differences in turn may lead to a myriad of issues such as polarization, economic disparity, reinforcement of class system, etc.
The introduction of an education system exactly similar across the country is neither possible nor desirable. According to Faisal Bari, a columnist of Dawn News, what government should do is setting minimum standards for all schools to achieve and raise the standard of education in public schools. If public schools can ensure a minimum standard, private schools will have to at least match this quality. We can have a notion of equality of opportunity only if the state enables public schools to provide the minimum acceptable standard guarantee.
2. Outdated curricula
Outdated curricula are also one of the problems of the education sector in Pakistan. The curriculum acts as a tool to achieve the educational goals of a nation. Unfortunately, the school curriculum in our case is seldom updated as per the demands of changing times. It does not meet the demands of the current age. Instead of encouraging deep, powerful learning, critical thinking, etc. it promotes memorization and cramping.
Periodic curriculum revision should be carried on instead of making revision attempts on an ad-hoc basis. Moreover, the revision process should include adequate research, experimentation, and formative evaluation, the discussion.
3. Lack of trained faculty
Professional development of teachers is of paramount importance for quality teacher learning at schools. Unfortunately, opportunities for professional development are lacking.
There are a number of teacher training centers in all provinces but they have failed to train teachers to a desirable extent. Poor management, lack of funds, improper training standards, deficient trained staff i.e trainers, administrators have contributed chiefly to this failure.
Another reason contributing to the failure of these institutes is the traditional and outdated curriculum which does not enhance the skills, motivation, and quality of teachers
4. Lack of professional teachers
One of the problems related to the educational sector of Pakistan is low-quality teaching. This is because schools in the country lack professional and quality teachers. The situation is worse in villages where one could also find a good number of ghost schools also.
One would hardly find teachers using friendly strategies and pedagogical skills. A major part of teachers does not know about lesson planning and its importance. Those who know about lesson planning do not make it practically. Consequently, such teachers instead of encouraging conceptual learning promote the culture of cramming and memorization – the surface learning.
Dropout is a roadblock in the achievement of universal education targets esp. at the primary level. The dropout rate in Pakistan is relatively the highest among the developing countries. The poor education system, lack of trained teaching staff, and poor parent-school relationships, poverty, and child labor act as major factors that contribute to this problem.
According to a report of 2017, 40% of children aged 5 – 6 (22.4 children of the same age group) did not go to school. With the progress of children in the educational ladder, the student dropout further increases. According to the report, out-of-school children at primary level was 5 billion, at middle level 6.5 billion, and at secondary level 11.3 billion children.
The dropout rate in females is more than that of male students. According to different reports, the female dropout rate was 32% as compared to 21% of male students at the elementary level. Similarly, the dropouts
Suggested remedial measure
Government should establish schools in villages so that the children who cannot go to schools away from home could access school in their own villages. Similarly, to encourage girls’ enrollment, the state can establish separate girl schools and recruit female staff in areas local culture does not encourage co-education.
Moreover, the government should make and implement a plan to assist poverty-stricken families to send their children to schools rather than factories and fields. Its high time for the government to think about introducing a child-labor-specific welfare program.
Lastly, Laws related to enrollment of students in schools i.e. fining parents and depriving them of different facilities should be implemented upon.
6. Faulty examination system
The examination system of Pakistan is outdated. It does not assess and evaluate the real learning of the examinees. The decade’s old system only assesses how much information a student crams or memorizes. The assessment tools i.e. tests are not developed to assess the understanding and higher-level cognitive abilities i.e. critical thinking, reflection, analytical skills, etc. Thus, the examination system does not measure the real performance and achievements of the learners.
Furthermore, our examination system is plagued with the menace of cheating. There is no proper mechanism in place to discourage and check this educational evil. Even teachers and faculty members engage in this illegal act by taking commissions or bribes or acting under the influence of powerful people in the power corridors.
Suggestions for remedies
The examination system should be based on both qualitative and quantitative techniques in order to ensure the comprehensive evaluation of student performance. Similarly, the standards set for assessment ensure the validity and reliability of the assessment procedures.
7. Poor supervision
Among many problems of the education sector, poor supervision is also a very serious issue in Pakistan. For instance, lack of supervision of the examination is a serious educational issue in Pakistan. Cheating in exams is one of the outcomes of this poor supervision of the examination system. When students cheat, it puts assessment-related fairness in jeopardy.
At times, the authorities themselves encourage cheating by not taking action owing to the influence of different pressure groups and higher-ups as well as acts of professional dishonesty i.e. taking bribes, the commissions by helping in cheating, and administering papers by another person.
Suggested Remedial measures
Education is a provincial subject in Pakistan. Thus each province needs to design a monitoring framework to monitor quality service delivery at different levels ( village, tehsil, district province) and for different stakeholders ( students, teachers, school leadership).
The check and balance mechanism aimed at ensuring the transparent and merit-based recruitment of faculty, cheating-free examination, proper utilization of allocated funds, more than 90 % teacher attendance, etc. is need of the hour.
In Pakistan, the public sector education system provides more than 80% of student enrollment. The majority of schools with this enrollment do not have the proper physical infrastructure required for an enabling learning environment.
Overcrowded classrooms, lack of electricity, labs, playgrounds library, absence of proper shade during scorching summers and warming facilities in bitter winters, etc. feature many of the schools both in urban and rural areas. Furthermore, many of the schools even do not have a proper commute system which is one of the findings of educational researches for the dropout of female students.
Suggested remedial measures
Government should provide physical needs i.e. proper labs, playgrounds, tech-studios with internet facilities, nurse rooms, spacious classrooms, separate toilets for both males and females, a sufficient number of faculty staff, etc. in public sector schools.
The same should be implemented in private sector schools. The schools failing to meet these needs should be banned. Government can give them a reasonable period of time to meet these requirements failing which they are stopped from functioning.
9. Low budget
The low budgetary allocation is on top of the problems of the education sector of Pakistan. Unfortunately, the education sector has never been a priority of successive governments in the country. This is evident from the fact that despite lofty claims and electoral slogans the government has not allocated more than 2.5 percent of its GDP for education. This has rendered the state unable to meet the needs of the educational sector in this fast-changing technological era.
In comparison to countries in our own region, South Asia, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh have been investing more than Pakistan. That is the reason why Bangladesh today stands ahead of Pakistan in almost all departments of life. With such insufficient allocation funds, Pakistan is not going to meet the targets of universalization, etc. as a signatory to UN sustainable goals by 2030.
Suggested Remedial measure
Our government should at least learn something from Bangladesh which allocates more funds for its education system than us. The average percentage of GDP allocated to the education sector in Pakistan has been 2.5% which is insufficient to meet the educational needs of the country. Government should increase this allocation by double.
10. Corruption in the education sector
According to Amnesty International, Pakistan is included in the list of the most corrupt countries in the world. Like other departments, corruption is also one of the problems of the education sector of Pakistan. This menace has been eroding the education sector for a long and does not seem to see any end in Pakistan.
The weak system of checks and balances has further aggravated the problem. Misuse and abuse of funds and authority along with illegal and unnecessary favors in transfers, promotions, etc. have become the rule of the day rather than an exception.
Suggested Remedial measure
A brute accountability process needs to be put in place in the education sector to do away with corrupt practices as suggested in the above lines with reference to the remedial measures related to the introduction of a monitoring framework.
11. Policy Implemetation Issue
National educational policies and frameworks for improvement in the education system have been introduced in Pakistan from day one. Unfortunately, they have seen little or no implementation because of a lack of political will.
Had there been an ambitious implementation, the education sector would have totally different. Making and framing policies is not enough which successively governments have been doing. What is important is their implemetation which is hitherto an unaccomplished task waiting for implemetation.
Suggested Remedial Measure
Drafting and framing policies is also a time and resource-consuming task. If successive governments do not bother to implement them then what is the need of framing these policies? The government should implement the National Education Policies framed periodically. The governments make the achievement of targets enshrined in the policy their utmost priority.