Education Sector: Revolution Imminent

Compiled By: Afreen Baig and Mirza Rohail B

Pakistan has an estimated population of 170 million, above two per cent of the world’s population and it’s the 6th  largest country of the world.

Pakistan’s literacy rate was currently estimated at about 50% according to the United Nations Development Program 2009. As per the PSLM Survey 2004-05, the literacy rate of population 10 years and above was 53% showing an annual growth ratio of 1.5% since the 1998 census. As such, the estimated Literacy Rate comes to 56% in 2007. According to the statistics, Pakistan has made some steps forward trying to educate its children, but still there are around some 13 million children that do not receive any education and instead work or hard labor jobs or even in the streets, being completely or almost illiterate. Statistics indicate that India with 61%, Sri-Lanka with 90%, Iran 82% and China 93% are the few Asian countries with much faster development rate than Pakistan.

According to statistics by the Ministry of Education, there are 256,088 educational institutions of all categories in Pakistan, with a total enrollment of 37,462,884 students. 

 There are 182,477 (71%) education institutions in the public sector and 73,611 (29%) in private sector. Enrolment wise, public sector has an enrollment of 25,213,894 (67%) in various categories of educational institutions whereas 12,248,990 (33%) enrolment is in the private sector. The total male student enrolment is 21.133 million (56%), whereas the total female student enrolment is 16.329 million (44%). The total teaching staff is 1,363,501, out of which 0.756 million (56%) is in the public sector and 0.606 million (44%) in the private sector. Out of the total 1.363 million teachers, 0.617 million (47%) are male and 0.695 million (53%) are female teachers.


Pakistan has an estimated population of 170 million, above two per cent of the world’s population and it’s the 6th largest country of the world. Education remains inequitably distributed among various income groups and regions in the country. Literacy and participation rates are below those in other South Asian countries with similar level of economic development. Access of education to children of relevant age group is still inadequate. Educational institutions lack physical facilities.

All basic education targets for primary schooling, adult literacy and gender equality are within the framework of Dakar Declaration and the Millennium Development Goals. Challenges in the planning of Education Sector include inter-district and inter-provincial disparity and the need to reach disadvantaged groups who are discriminated on account of gender, cast and socio-economic status.

In Pakistan, the definition of literate was structured at the time of Population Census. In the 1998 Population Census, a literate person has been defined as “One who can read newspaper and write a simple letter in any language.”

Pakistan’s literacy rate was currently estimated at about 50% according to the United Nations Development Program 2009. As per the PSLM Survey 2004-05, the literacy rate of population 10 years and above was 53% showing an annual growth ratio of 1.5% since the 1998 census. As such, the estimated Literacy Rate comes to 56% in 2007. According to the statistics, Pakistan has made some steps forward trying to educate its children, but still there are around some 13 million children that do not receive any education and instead work or hard labor jobs or even in the streets, being completely or almost illiterate. Statistics indicate that India with 61%, Sri-Lanka with 90%, Iran 82% and China 93% are the few Asian countries with much faster development rate than Pakistan.

Ideally, the governments of Federal and all Provinces, as their combine strategy should declare a “National Educational Emergency Program” – similar to the emergency rule that was kept in Pakistan from 1965 to 1985 – however, this time, with the sole intention to provide basic access to education all over Pakistan and raise the standard of education.


Government Mismanagement

Governments could easily be blamed for not supporting the evolution of a genuinely beneficial educational system, as successive polices were geared towards the short-term, rather than a long-term solutions, which in return were responsible for the decline in the quality of education throughout the country.

  • The policies keep on changing with every new government that comes, being more of a political matter rather rendering a social service for the whole country, without discrimination.
  • Every government has prioritized different sectors within even the educational system, which means that there is no continuum within the education cycle
  • The government does not keep in view the economic growth requirement, while establishing technical institutes or Universities, to compliment the natural resources in that particular region.
  • Policies are not adhered upon sincerely or there seems no accountability process to measure those targets.
  • Limited capacity of ministers and advisors to plan properly. Even if they are well-intentioned, the people in the process are usually not technically knowledgeable or equipped.


Basic Statistics 2007-08

To determine the future scope of budget allocation and the determination to implement a practical viable strategy in order to raise the standard of education with parity and consistently – a thorough study of statistics is of vital importance. These statistics are instrumental in determining and highlighting the categories that need additional attention and further budget to support their development.

For example, there are 173 teacher training institutes in Pakistan and only 15% in the private sector. This translates into a requirement and promotion that is much desired in the private sector. On the other hand, we see that the total enrollment of students in NWFP comes out as, Boys 3,323,715 and Girls 1,978,890 – indicating that special attention and extra budget allocation should be made for Girls education in NWFP.

There are 256,088 educational institutions of all categories in Pakistan, with a total enrollment of 37,462,884 students.



Percentage Share of Public Sector and Private Sector

There are 182,477 (71%) education institutions in the public sector and 73,611 (29%) in private sector. Enrolment wise, public sector has an enrollment of 25,213,894 (67%) in various categories of educational institutions whereas 12,248,990 (33%) enrolment is in the private sector. The total teaching staff is 1,363,501, out of which 0.756 million (56%) is in the public sector and 0.606 million (44%) in the private sector.


Gender-wise Enrollment and Teachers

The total male student enrolment is 21.133 million (56%), whereas the total female student enrolment is 16.329 million (44%). Out of the total 1.363 million teachers, 0.617 million (47%) are male and 0.695 million (53%) are female teachers.

Categories of Educational institutions

1. Pre-primary:

The total enrolment at pre-primary stage is 7.402 million. Public sector has an enrollment of 4.610 million (62%), whereas the private sector has 2.792 million (38%) enrolment.

2. Primary:

Out of the total of 156,592 primary schools, 139,342 (89%) are in the public sector, whereas, 17,250 (11%) are in the private sector. The total enrolment at primary stage is 17.288 million, out of which 12.155 million (71%) is in public sector and 5.072 million (29%) is in private sector. Gender wise, 9.692 million (56%) are boys and 7.535 million (44%) are girls. The total number of primary teachers are 435,351, of which 347,156 (80%) are in public sector, whereas, 88,195 (20%) are in private sector. The number of male primary school teachers is 233,299 (54%) and the number of female primary teachers is 202,052 (46%).

3. Middle:

There are total 320,611 middle schools of which 121,052 (38%) are in public sector, whereas 199,259 (62%) are in private sector. The total enrolment at middle stage is 5.362 million, of which 3.694 million (69%) is in public sector, whereas, 1.668 million (31%) is in private sector. The total boys enrolment at middle stage is 3.106 million (58%), whereas, the girls enrolment is 2.256 million (42%). The total teachers at middle level are 320,611, out of which 121,352 (38%) is in public sector and 199,259 (62%) are in private sector. There are 112,375 (35%) male teacher and 208,236 (65%) are female teachers.

4. Secondary / High:

There are total 23,964 high schools, of which 9,911 (41%) are in public sector, whereas 14,053 (59%) are in private sector. The total enrolment at high stage is 2.426 million, of which 1.723 million (71%) is in public sector, whereas, 0.702 million (29%) is in private sector. The total boys enrolment at high stage is 1.428 million (59%), whereas, the girls enrolment is 0.997 million (41%). The total teachers at high level are 374,252, out of which 175,159 (47%) is in public and 199,093 (53%) are in private sector. There are 167,252 (45%) male teacher and 207,000 (55%) are female teachers.

5. Higher Secondary / Inter Colleges:

There are total 3,213 higher secondary schools/ inter colleges of which 1,299 (40%) are in public sector, whereas 1,914 (60%) are in private sector. The total enrolment at higher secondary schools/ inter colleges stage is 919,543 of which 750,552 (82%) is in public sector, whereas, 168,991 (18%) is in private sector. The total boy’s enrolment at higher secondary schools/ inters colleges stage is 457,443 (50%), whereas, the girls enrolment is 462,100 (50%). The total teachers at higher secondary schools/ inter colleges level are 74,223, out of which 33,229 (45%) is in public and 40,994 (55%) are in private sector. There are 38,061 (51%) male teacher and 36,162 (49%) are female teachers.

6. Degree Colleges:

There are total 1,202 degree colleges of which 826 (69%) are in public sector, whereas 376 (31%) are in private sector. The total enrolment at degree colleges stage is 352,303 of which 320,786 (91%) is in public sector, whereas, 31,517 (9%) is in private sector. The total boys enrolment at degree colleges stage is 138,097 (39%), whereas, the girls enrolment is 214,206 (61%). The total teachers at degree colleges level are 20,971, out of which 15,763 (75%) is in public and 5,208 (25%) are in private sector. There are 10,281 (49%) male teacher and 10,690 (51%) are female teachers.

7. Universities:

There are total 124 universities of which 68 (55%) are in public sector, whereas 56 (45%) are in private sector. The total enrolment in the universities is 741,092 of which 637,037 (86%) is in public sector, whereas, 104,055 (14%) is in private sector. The total male enrolment in the universities is 398,967 (54%), whereas, the female enrolment is 342,125 (46%). The total teachers in the universities are 46,893, out of which 38,266 (82%) is in public and 8,627 (18%) are in private sector.

8. Technical and Vocational Institutions:

There are total 3,125 technical and vocational institutions of which 936 (30%) are in public sector, whereas 2,189 (70%) are in private sector. The total enrolment in the technical and vocational institutions is 255,636 of which 111,119 (43%) is in public sector, whereas, 144,517 (57%) is in private sector. The total male enrolment in the technical and vocational institutions is 159,623 (62%), whereas, the female enrolment is 96,013 (38%). The total teachers in the technical and vocational institutions are 14,914, out of which 7,501 (50%) is in public and 7,413 (50%) is in private sector. There are 10,144 (68%) male teacher and 4,770 (32%) female teachers.

9. Teachers Training Institutions:

There are total 173 teachers training institutions of which 147 (85%) are in public sector, whereas 26 (15%) are in private sector. The total enrolment at teachers training institutions stage is 632,684 of which 628,207 (99%) is in public sector, whereas, 4,477 (1%) is in private sector. The total male enrolment in the teachers training institutions is 420,497 (66%), whereas, the female enrolment is 212,187 (34%). The total teachers in the teachers training institutions are 3,533, out of which 3,264 (92%) is in public and 269 (8%) are in private sector.

10. Non-Formal Basic Education:

The total numbers of non-formal basic education centers are 13,603. The total enrolment in these centers are 537,477 out of which 236,446 (44%) is boys and 301,031 (66%) is girls. There are 13,603 teachers in the non-formal basic education centers out of which 2,712 (20%) is male teachers and 10,891 (80%) is female teachers.

11. Deeni Madaris:

There are total 12,448 Deeni Madaris of which 363 (3%) are in public sector, whereas 12,085 (97%) are in private sector. The total enrolment in the Deeni Madaris is 1.603 million of which 0.454 million (3%) is in public sector, whereas, 1.558 million (97%) is in private sector. The total male enrolment in Deeni Madaris is 0.999 million (62%), whereas, the female enrolment is 0.604 (38%). The total teachers in Deeni Madaris are 55,680, out of which 1,694 (3%) is in public sector and 53,986 (97%) are in private sector. There are 42,997 (77%) male teacher and 12,683 (23%) female teachers.


Parent –Child Educational Interaction

The latest research on the human brain and its development confirms what we have known for decades – the early years of children’s lives are critical to their cognitive, emotional and physical development. Parents are the first learning seat of the future generations and need to be their children’s first teacher if their children are to start at school ready to learn. Parents should be offered trainings in order to help them be involved in their children’s education and to help them be their children’s first teacher.

  • Parents should be taught, through government advertisements and media, the importance of reading to their children. This practice will not only assist them to become better parents but also to become contributing members of the Pakistani community.
  •   After-school and summer tutoring for children that have still to reach higher secondary, along with their parents, will bring about the development and cultivating process. 
  • Constructive and timely interaction between the Teachers and Parents help in defining any student’s career. While there is also a consensus as to how to proceed, understanding the personal capacity of the student and his abilities; there is also a development with respect to the refinement of education system due to the valuable input from Parents. 
  • Parents must also encourage their children to adopt independent reading habits.


Schools Modes of informing the Parents regarding the Parent-Teacher meeting include sending SMS on the mobiles of Parents. Parent Teacher meetings should be conducted on time slots that are feasible to the Parents – Mothers and Fathers alike.


Strategy and Policy Structure to promote Education and raise Standard


Sustained education and social economic development is not possible by mere capital investment unless it is re-enforced with proper supply of adequate trained and scientific manpower. Public policy should be amended to mobilize the private sector and civil society organizations (CSOs) in the financing, management and delivery of education services in Pakistan.

The strategies should be implemented through; a more transparent and proactive manner of engaging the private sector for improving access and quality of education; enhanced managerial performance, entrepreneurial spirit, through capacity building; access to proven leading knowledge technologies; improved transparency through involvement of local community from design, implementation through to the operation; and support to local knowledge and employment generation at local levels.

Better Governance

We all know, some of the major problems in public schools and few private unchecked schools include – limited financial resources, lack of labor to execute up gradation, lack of motivation to maintain school’s standard, poor quality of study material, over-crowded classes, underfunding, political differences, teacher ignorance and absenteeism, and to top this all, a crumbling infrastructure. These issues have largely aggravated the situation and the hope to revive the quality of Education in Pakistan has gone down. Whereas, Pakistan did witness an era of hope and optimism during the last few years, where the literacy rate improved from 45% in 1999 to 53% in 2007 and so did the overall education system, especially the Higher Education one.

Nonetheless, in order to achieve a literacy rate of above 80% and an education system that could be matched to any international standard and be a source of pride, there is an immediate need to enforce a national policy designated as something similar to “National Educational Emergency Program”.

Expertise in core areas such as, strategic planning, budgeting, personnel development, management of funds, education leadership, information collection and analysis, monitoring and assessment and accountability, is not evenly extended and is lacking in most districts all over Pakistan.

Modernization of planning and management, shifting the focus of the Curricula from disciplines to basic learning needs, building new alliances for basic education, diversification of the financial resource base, introduction of the Pre-School programs, employing of special programs aimed at the indigenous sectors in the rural areas are essential to moving ahead. Involvement of the roles of the family, schools, community, non-governmental organizations and the national media in the stipulation of basic education will be instrumental.

The phenomena of ‘ghost schools’ that receive government funds and grants are now common knowledge. In 1998, more than 1400 army teams were established, endeavoring to verify the existence of some 56,000 primary ‘ghost schools’ in the province of Punjab alone.  These ‘ghost schools’ should either be converted in full fledge schools or their grants be diverted to proper functioning schools.

Proper accountability process should be put in place to ensure the systematic organization chart and responsibility distribution. Few very important decisions that a government could take immediately, as solutions are,

  • Ensuring proper utilization of education funds – failure to meet budget requirements, surrendering and lapsing of funds should be considered as incompetent,
  • Setting up wireless broadband in all public schools for access to Students and Teacher networks,
  • Hire ICT Specialists per school – to put into practice the international system, that have become integral part of most international curriculums,
  • For research purposes, providing high tech computers labs, which could be booked by teachers to conduct their study along with the students in specific periods.
  • Projectors and Smart boards for schools use so that teachers could show students, latest videos, PowerPoint presentations and students can have interactive learning through smart boards.
  • The extra-ordinary efforts, put in place by the Government of Punjab under the PML-Q, with their slogan and implementation of ‘Parha Likha Punjab’ are highly commendable and should be extended to all over Pakistan.
  • Put an end to ‘Ghost Schools’ phenomena.


Increase allocation as percentage of GDP or Budget

For 2005-06, the total Public budget, comprising current and development budget, was projected at Rs.6803 million and in 2006-07, the allocation of total budget was Rs.9556 million. As for the Private sector, National Education Census for 2005 measured, out of total 76,047 private institutions, 73,018 institutions reported their expenditure for the year 2004-05, which comes to Rs. 35,914 million.  

For the financial year 2007-08, the federal government allocated Rs 6,509 millions for development projects only to be implemented under the Education Division.

Further, efforts were made in 2007 to increase the budge to 4% of GDP. Comparing Pakistan to Saudi Arabia, another Muslim and a so-called third world country, we witness the difference in the priorities of the two nations. Since 2006, Saudi Arabia allocation of budget for education has been 25% of its budget.

Education sector has never been a priority for our nation or governments. Lack of seriousness and undefined priorities are aggravated by poor implementation machinery and complex rules. Education sector involving almost 200,000 educational institutions with about a million teachers and staff spread over vast geographical areas, involves complexity of problems which are unmatched by any other social sector. Low allocation of budget as percentage of GDP has all along been a major issue in the development of education in Pakistan. Allocation to education sector had usually been around 2% of Pakistan’s GDP.


Proper and Timely Utilization of Education Budget

 Another irony is the lack of utilization of funds, timely release and the subsequent lapses. For the financial year 2007-08, the federal government allocated Rs 6,509 millions for development projects to be implemented under the Education Division. However, the total amount released for development projects in the first quarter was only Rs 936 millions, out of which the Education Division could spend only Rs. 498 millions. This means that, in the first quarter, the Education Division could spend only 7.6% of the total budgetary allocation for the year 2007-08.

Education Division had equally failed in financial year 2006-07 to utilize the budget allocation, which was 33% at the end of the whole financial year. This translates into a fact that the Education Division is usually not able to ensure timely completion of development projects.

Few reasons that are attributed to the low utilization of allocations and lapses for development projects under the Education Division include,

  • Releases by the Ministry of Finance that are not timely,
  • Delays in site selection and acquiring land,
  • Inter-departmental differences,
  • Non-availability of technical staff,
  • Failures in appointing full-time project directors,
  • Delayed consultant reports,
  • Late issuance of work orders or permits,
  • Late submission of feasibility reports or requests for release of funds by the related implementing organizations.
  • Budgetary allocations are made without completing the approval process, which results in delayed implementation work.


The portion of approved budget of a Ministry, Division, or Department, which it finally declares to Finance Division, normally before the budget planning of each financial year, beyond its capacity to utilize within the ongoing financial year, is usually requested to surrender. The amount of approved budget which is neither surrendered by the date specified by the Finance Division, nor utilized by 30th June of the year is termed as lapsed funds.

  • The Education Division and other related departments/ ministries need to take immediate steps to improve their monitoring systems and fix problems that result in lapse of funds.
  •  The Education Division must proactively share information about the progress on development projects as well as about the utilization of allocated funds after each quarter. 
  • Maximum transparency in this regard can help in better monitoring, greater accountability, timely rectification of related problems and improved performance of the Education Division. 
  • Another way of assessing any government’s performance is to examine whether it has efficiently planned and implemented development projects, during their tenures.


Inclusion of Pearson Scott Foresman Books

Pearson Scott Foresman Books are a popular medium for instructions and studies, in several countries across Middle East. Books by Pearson Scott Foresman have been included as an integral part of the education system in many parts of the Arab world. Saudi Arabia’s literacy rate has improved to become 83% – UAE’s 90% – Kuwait’s 94% and Qatar’s 93%.

These colorful books, featuring pictures of kids in a natural and relaxed manner, easy English and a fun to learn display – are attractive to kids. The learning process is more like a scientific discovering process, with the easiest approach, one that stimulates the thinking and brings about a confident response from the kids.

While it is understandable that these cannot be implemented suddenly, however, gradually starting from one such course book, like the ‘You and Your Health” and by targeting the primary section, the process could be started. The cost factor may be decisive factor therefore; similar books can be printed by the government printing press and further assistance may requested from international humanitarian agencies, education related NGOs and the Public under the ‘Educational Emergency” program. It should be made mandatory for the private sector to include a similar learning process or set of books.

  • Science, Social studies and Maths could be taught through colorful books, workbooks, activities and projects.
  • Subjects similar to ‘Reading Street’ by Pearson Scott Foresman could be incorporated in the primary and secondary levels, with the prime objective to encourage reading habits in our youngsters. It should be made mandatory for the private sector as well.
  • “You and Your Health” – is one another very significant subject that highlight the advantages of a healthy mind, healthy human practices, clean environments and safety. Students are taught to remain clean, play safe, maintain friendly attitudes, respect traffic rules, learn to speak the truth, be honest, be helping, respect elders and maintain an overall positive attitude. Bottom line: Groom the morality of your nation!


Effective External Assistance

Mainly in Pakistan, there are two types of external assistances. These should be made further effective and instrumental in achieving higher reforms.

  1. Multi-lateral Foreign Assistance. It covers assistance from the Banks and UN Agencies.
  2. Bi-lateral Foreign Assistance. It comprises assistance from any country to Pakistan.

The Government of Germany and Canada have agreed to write off their remaining debt if the funds are spent by Government of Pakistan for improvement of education.


Joint Ventures among Countries and International Organizations

Various regional mechanisms, both intergovernmental and nongovernmental, promote co-operation in education and training, health, agricultural development, research and information, communications, and in other fields relevant to meeting basic learning needs. 

There are many possible joint activities and ventures that may take place among countries, in support of national efforts to implement action plans for basic education. Joint activities should be designed to exploit economies of scale and the comparative advantages of participating countries. International organizations like the ISESCO, UNESCO, SEAMEO, EAIE, CONFEMEN (Conference of Ministers of Education) and others can be approached to undertake this mission. Six areas where this form of regional collaboration seems particularly appropriate are:

  • Requesting them to setup or support brotherly schools,
  • Training of key personnel, such as planners, managers, teacher educators, researchers, and others,
  • Efforts to improve information collection and analysis,
  • Support combine Research programs,
  • Production of educational materials and providing free if possible,
  • Use of communication media to meet basic learning needs,
  • Management and use of distance education services.

Development of Facilities and Infrastructure Improvement Programs

According to the Human Development in South Asia’s 1998 report, 70 per cent of the schools in Pakistan had no toilets, 68 percent no drinking water, 92 percent no playgrounds, 60 per cent no boundary walls and 16 percent were without a building. A delegation from the UK to Pakistan has also noted a lack of desks, books, blackboards, electricity, doors, and windows, not to mention the problem of over-crowded classrooms. Even though the situation certainly improved since 1988, however, attention is still required especially in rural areas.

A major focus should be, to make primary schools more functional by providing missing facilities such as, electricity, drinking water, boundary walls and other basic amenities so that the children do not drop out on account of dysfunctional environment which is not conducive to learning. School up-gradation through conventional and non-conventional means is also a core area to narrow the gap between primary, middle and secondary provision for higher transition rates.

  • The “National Educational Emergency Program” could request and involve various international marketing firms, construction companies, chartered accountant firms and donors, to enable smooth flow of funds and timely completion of such projects.
  • These construction companies could fix and build free of charges, collapsing schools on themes similar to ‘One School One Guardian Company’.
  • Marketing companies could donate and project their companies on the boundaries of schools.
  • International companies could help on BOT basis, like the local government in Karachi operates on several of its projects.


Addressing Gender Disparity

Pakistan’s, gender development index (GDI) is ranked 131, exceeding the corresponding Human Development Index (HDI) rank of 138.  According to Gender Gap report 2006, Female literacy rate was 36% while male literacy rate was 63% and female to male ratio was 0.57%.The enrollment in primary education for female was 56% while for male was 76% and enrollment ratio of female to male was 0.73%. Similarly, enrollment ratio of female to male at secondary level was 0.73%. The enrollment in tertiary education for female was 3% while for male was 4% and enrollment ratio of female to male was 0.80%.

The situation is much alarming in NWFP and related adjoining areas. The government of Pakistan invests $11 per capita on development efforts in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and $25 per capita in the rest of the country. The educational attainment of girls and women in the north is markedly lower than in other areas. The women’s literacy rate in FATA is only 3 percent and in the North-West Frontier Province, (NWFP) it is 18 percent. Further, in the areas of conflict, educational infrastructure has been destroyed, approximately 280 schools—70 percent of which were girls schools—were destroyed in Swat alone.

  • Number of institutions of the female, in formal system of education, may be equalize to number of institutions of male to minimize gender gap in Pakistan 
  • The number of Distance Learning institutions in Pakistan may be increased as at present there is only two public sector universities in the country to serve the large illiterate masses 
  • The Distance Learning institutions may be established at provincial level to minimize the gender gap in education in Pakistan 
  • Pay stipends to females that enroll in educational institutes


Public Private Joint Venture

Pakistan should deepen its commitment to partnerships with civil society organizations by placing an emphasis on working with a wider spectrum of civil society organizations including International and National Development NGOs through global partnerships to help deliver basic social services. Civil society organizations have become critical allies in designing innovative operations, implementing solution and monitoring results.

From initiating innovative programs to working in tandem with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that manage public schools through formal adoption, the government should step up its efforts to include various other stakeholders in the delivery of education.

One Medium of Instruction

One medium of instruction should be introduced in the country over a period of time, extending gradually. It is understandable that this cannot be done immediately, in a country that is divided not just into rural and urban one, but also due to provincial languages. In the international competition scenario of today, English has assumed unprecedented importance. While Urdu can be taught as a single subject, the other subjects could be taught in easy English. English has been made mandatory from class one onwards in Pakistan, since 2006-07, which is appreciative. Practical steps should now be taken to put these measures into practice. Teachers should be trained at their respective training centers, networks, clusters or even during their graduation.  Fluency of spoken English translates into a better mode of communication with the rest of the world. Better command in English, will in the long-term benefit the social and economic conditions of Pakistan. Setting up English language media channels on government level to improve fluency and perfection in language is must.

Quality Education

International systems, programs, books and patterns must be examined and how they can be ideally implemented in Pakistan, with the view to enhance our standard of education. Pearson Scott Foresman books are one ideal example.

Quality improvement is a complex question. Unlike improvement in infrastructure, appointment of teachers or even of equipping schools with better academic facilities has become a large administrative setback for the government. The Education department seems in extreme shortage of the labor force through which these practical steps may even by implemented, despite being desired.

 Charter Schools

These schools can be created by teachers, parents, community groups, businesses, universities, museums, and others. If functioning properly, they can be tailored to meet the needs of their students and promote healthy competition within public education. State legislatures must enact solid charter school laws to support the creation of a sizable number of high-performing public charter schools, providing these schools with real flexibility while holding them accountable for reaching high standards for all children.

Military Schools

 The Pakistan military and its ex-servicemen can act as an important pillar, in lending a hand to put into action the “National Educational Emergency Program”. With their level of quality expertise in setting up Foundation Schools that have around 90 branches all over Pakistan and Foundation University, we could achieve the national bench marks set. Similarly, the PAF and NAVY must also be included in this strategy on a large scale. In addition, the Army Public Schools and Colleges are bright examples! Pakistan needs more of these military schools and also a joint strategy for the military in helping out the government of Pakistan. These military schools can allow enrollment of ordinary deprived students in their campuses.

Distance Learning

 Distance learning is any type of education that occurs while location, time, or both separate the participants. In distance learning, the teacher, through the use of technology, delivers instructions to a student at a separate location. Distance system of education in Pakistan was started with the establishment of Allama

Iqbal Open University in the year 1974. This system should be made top priority and promoted on provincial basis, not just federal level. Many international higher educational institutions offering distance education courses have started to leverage the Internet to improve their program’s reach and quality. Pakistan should adopt a policy similar to world’s leading institutes.

Higher Education Commission

With the establishment of HEC in Pakistan on 11the September’ 2002, under the ‘Law of Higher Education Commission Ordinance’ LIII – Pakistan witnessed an era of excellence in higher education enabling four Pakistani Universities to qualify in the world’s Top 600 Universities. As many as 47 new universities were established and 18 new campuses of universities were also set up during the period of six years, from 2002 till 2007-08. University enrolment almost tripled from 135,123 to 363,700 during the period, thereby providing far more opportunities of our youth to acquire higher education and seek access to international markets. No further policy is required for the HEC; the government only needs to keep the former policies consistent with market trends and demands.


Steps to Promote Pre-Primary and Primary Education

 Pakistan Montessori Council and its affiliates, that have been registered under section 32 of the Companies Ordinance, 1984 (XLVII of 1984) with the government of Pakistan and the non-profit organizations registered under section 42 of the Companies Ordinance, 1984 (XLVII of 1984) with the Securities and Exchange Commission, should be given full support and objectives to outline and achieve, in order to achieve a minimum literacy rate. Teachers training accreditations could also be availed for most of the teachers that have access to Pakistan Montessori Council in personal or through internet.

By simply paying attention to the Primary Education, Pakistan’s literacy rate could be accelerated.

q  In the public sector primary schools, especially in rural areas, children below 5 years of age should attend the schools in a relaxed manner, and learn basic concepts of literacy and numeracy – free of cost. Primary education should be made compulsory till age 6. No kid should be seen on roads during the school timings passing time idly.

q  In private sector schools, where pre-primary education is well organized, despite being costly for some, and has become an essential part of primary section education.

  • Government should relax certain rules and regulations with view to promote primary education. This in return will encourage the private sector to come forward with force. 
  • Government should facilitate the private sector by providing them availability of land at low costs. 
  • The government should also allow exemption of taxes, for Primary Schools, that have yet not converted into Secondary schools.

 q  Day Care Centers and Nurseries is one scheme that should be promoted and opened by the Education Department, especially for children of working mothers.  A concept that is well established in foreign countries. This will also enable active participation by the other half of our population, which mainly remains dormant due to lack of facilitation.  At present, the combine family system has supported the requirement.

Facilitation that should be part of any primary or secondary education support, which includes:

  • Safe and challenging play equipment for primary sections, where the floors are soft and spongy to make falls less harmful and the equipment itself is not iron that could rust or sharp plastic,
  • Gender appropriate water and sanitation facilities,
  • Recreation and psychosocial support materials, including for very young children,
  • Colorful and attractive teaching and learning supplies,
  • Hiring teachers with minimum qualifications and ensuring a three-day prep training,
  • Financial compensation for school support staff,
  • Healthy food should be provided or encouraged,
  • Neighborhood or Community engagement,


Development of Teaching as a Profession

Teaching is that essential profession, the one that makes all other professions related to education possible. A national policy framework for teacher education including conditions of work must be finalized to fully professionalize the profession of teaching from early childhood to tertiary levels Merit based recruitment of teachers is urgently required so that teaching is recognized as a profession and professional development programs yield positive and lasting results. Resources for teacher education, continuous professional development (CPD), standards and research must be enhanced in national, provincial and district budgets to ensure sustainability of quality and innovations in teaching and learning practices. The National Curriculum must be readily accessible to teachers /educators in national, local languages and English through print and ICT modes. Municipal or local government schools must not be bypassed in training programs, ICTs and innovations. 

Dilemma of Teaching Profession

Teaching must be recognized as an established profession. It is clear that a formal strategy needs to be put in place to address teachers and the teaching profession while stressing and encouraging accountability and initiative. Otherwise, Pakistan’s children in primary schools, especially in the rural areas, will continue to suffer from illiteracy and a lack of education, leading to little hope for their future or Pakistan’s as a nation.

One of the main concerns is the lack of Teacher motivation, which leaves their efforts ineffective. This problem has and continues to lead to the erosion of standards in the nation’s schools. In practical terms, a teacher’s poor motivation translates into absenteeism, indifferent classroom practices and teachers leaving the profession. This high turnover in the profession is especially damaging for the whole system, because whatever the government’s investment in teacher training is lost. Replacing and training teachers who have left is another expense incurred.  Lack of motivation constitutes several factors.

The government and the private sector, alike, should pay attention and provide solutions, to these below mentioned problems. A system should be evolved at national level to evaluate and promote teachers according to their seniority, experience, degree, contribution to scientific and social development, extra time they invest, etc.

  • Inadequate salary is one of the reasons of lack of motivation. In Pakistan, fresh school teachers start earning roughly between Rs 1,500 and Rs 3,000. In some places, this is even less than what a cook, gardener or driver often earns.  Financial security helps them concentrate on their jobs, where they are not forced to take on extra jobs to supplement their household income. Good pay is one incentive to encourage employees in any profession to work harder and in a more dedicated and enthusiastic manner. 
  • Harsh working conditions, environments and lack of proper transport, the teachers must endure, further lessen their motivation. This discourages possible candidates from becoming teachers and often led to incumbent teachers leaving the profession. 
  •  There is little opportunity for career advancement in the teaching profession in Pakistan, especially for primary school teachers. The only one available to most teachers is to move into secondary school teaching. This however, has negative effects on the primary school system, since it is often the most motivated teachers who leave teaching primary school for secondary school.  
  • Teachers suffer due to poor evaluation systems managed by either overworked administrators or those who are not very effective at rating and distinguishing professionalism amongst the teachers. Incentives should be approved for Teachers who strive to improve their performance.  
  • Teachers are not effective because their administrators force them to teach out of field – due to unavailability of teachers, tight schedules or pay-scale disagreements. An Urdu teacher may be forced to teach Social studies or Maths. Ensure better distribution and optimum utilization of Teachers.  
  • Young college students take up jobs to elapse the time period, before they move on to take admission in professional colleges. There is a certain level of benefit to this system, being, the availability of teachers and the involvement of youngsters, in Education system formation and feedback. However, such short-lived contributions also create difficulty for administrators and students. However, relaxing age limit where there is no teacher available is also a good option.  
  • In government schools, there is virtually no system of accountability for teachers. Teachers are often accountable to Pakistan’s education department which is far from their teaching milieu. This means they can get away with absenteeism. There is no local authority to ensure that teachers attend classes and teach their students. Head teachers have little authority to censure teachers who do not turn up for work. Even parents have no way to endure proper teaching.  
  • Principals who do not cultivate and embrace teacher leadership. The school’s environment lacks tools for teachers to learn from the experience of their seniors.  
  • Low level politics in schools.  
  • Relaxation of qualification especially in rural areas where no female teacher is available.

 Direct Government Support

The government should give fast considerations to the teachers in all supporting government departments – be it further education enrollment, NADRA, passports, police, customs, taxation filing, access to hospitals and health care, etc. The transport sector should reduce the transport fees for Teachers and students. The way the country’s journalist, judiciary and politicians are awarded land due to their services – the teachers who have served all their lives in Public schools should be allowed a small piece of land and free health care all their lives.

Network for Teachers

A professional “Network for Teachers” should be supported on government levels, for providing opportunities to teachers to share their best practices, experiences, conversations, and resources in identifying problems. These networks should not become trade unions but remain self-motivated forums for professional development, social identity and support systems. Networks’ activities could be arranged after school timing, ensuring teacher presence in networking classes.  Partnerships between government and NGOs must be encouraged for promoting such “Networks for Teachers”.  Outstanding established examples of professional networks in education run by non-governmental and private sector could be set as an example and supported. For example, SPELT (Society for Promotion of English Language Teaching) and others. A network for Urdu can also be established on similar lines as SPELT, to encourage one language as means of communication and understanding. All networks must have access to the developed modules and informational CDs across the country, under various initiatives through the Ministry of Education at nominal charges, or free through internet. Networks need resources for coordination, infrastructure for information dissemination therefore, financial transparency is critical for ensuring reputation of networks.

 Clusters & Teachers Resource Centers (TRCs)

Multiple types of resource and cluster centers should be available across the country in public and private school systems need to be urgently recognized for their innovations made active and supported for creating communities of practice and for sharing vital information. 

  • Teachers frequently need subject based top up training in local clusters for which TRCs must be supported as low cost accessible and efficient solutions 
  • Monthly networking meetings need urgent revival for professional development as Professional Development Days in clusters at resource centers such as at a middle or high school to learn standards and new national curriculum, textbooks use, pedagogies and assessment systems.
  • Proper equipment, teaching kits, learning materials, science and IT labs with connectivity must be  provided in cluster resource centers to allow optimum benefit to teachers and students
  • Resource centers should be accessible for teachers, a maximum distance of 10 kms.
  • All high schools and middle schools with good facilities must be converted into learning hubs for government and low cost area private schools.
  • Resource centers must be converted into information libraries for the national curriculum.


Information Communication Technologies (ICTs)

ICTs stand for information and communication technologies and are defined, for the purposes of this primer, as a “diverse set of technological tools and resources used to communicate, and to create, disseminate, store, and manage information.”These technologies include computers, the Internet, broadcasting technologies (radio and television), and telephony.

ICTs are a potentially powerful tool for extending educational opportunities, both formal and non-formal, to previously underserved constituencies—scattered and rural populations, groups traditionally excluded from education due to cultural or social reasons such as ethnic minorities, girls and women, persons with disabilities, and the elderly, as well as all others who for reasons of cost or because of time constraints are unable to enroll on campus.

One defining feature of ICTs is their ability to transcend time and space. ICTs make possible asynchronous learning, or learning characterized by a time lag between the delivery of instruction and its reception by learners. Online course materials, for example, may be accessed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Teachers and learners no longer have to rely solely on printed books and other materials in physical media housed in libraries (and available in limited quantities) for their educational needs. With the Internet and the World Wide Web, a wealth of learning materials in almost every subject and in a variety of media can now be accessed from anywhere at any time of the day and by an unlimited number of people. This is particularly significant for many schools in developing countries, and even some in developed countries, that have limited and outdated library resources.

Education policymakers and planners must first of all be clear about what educational outcomes are being targeted. These broad goals should guide the choice of technologies to be used and their modalities of use. The potential of each technology varies according to how it is used.

How can the use of ICTs help improve the quality of education?

Improving the quality of education and training is a critical issue, particularly at a time of educational expansion. ICTs can enhance the quality of education in several ways – by increasing learner motivation

and engagement, by facilitating the acquisition of basic skills, and by enhancing teacher training.

Technology then should not drive education; rather, educational goals and needs, and careful economics, must drive technology use.

  • Motivating to learn. ICTs such as videos, television and multimedia computer software that combine text, sound, and colorful, moving images can be used to provide challenging and authentic content that will engage the student in the learning process. Interactive radio likewise makes use of sound effects, songs, dramatizations, comic skits, and other performance conventions to compel the students.  
  • Facilitating the acquisition of basic skills. The transmission of basic skills and concepts that are the foundation of higher order thinking skills and creativity can be facilitated by ICTs through drill and practice. Educational television programs such as Sesame Street use repetition and reinforcement to teach the alphabet, numbers, colors, shapes and other basic concepts.  
  • Enhancing teacher training. ICTs have also been used to improve access to and the quality of teacher training. For example, institutions like the Cyber Teacher Training Center (CTTC) in South Korea are taking advantage of the Internet to provide better teacher professional development opportunities to in service teachers. In China, large-scale radio and television-based teacher education has for many years been conducted by the China Central Radio and TV University,16 the Shanghai Radio and TV University and many other RTVUs in the country.  At Indira Gandhi National Open University, satellite-based one-way video- and two-way audio-conferencing was held in 1996, supplemented by print-materials and recorded video, to train 910 primary school teachers and facilitators from 20 district training institutes in Karnataka State.

National Level Policy

For developing countries, ICTs have the potential for increasing access to and improving the relevance and quality of education. It thus represents a potentially equalizing strategy for developing countries. However, the reality of the Digital Divide—the gap between those who have access to and control of technology and those who do not—means that the introduction and integration of ICTs at different levels and in various types of education will be a most challenging undertaking. Failure to meet the challenge would mean a further widening of the knowledge gap and the deepening of existing economic and social inequalities.

  • Develop a national consensus on the strategic policy and plan for ICT and learning technologies,   their integration in national curriculum and  its modes of operation through partnerships
  • Nationwide initiatives in computer or IT Literacy and awareness must be compulsory and are urgently needed  in schools and training institutions  to enable  teachers/trainers to  become producers of knowledge and learning, to develop standards and learning solutions, and  improved interface with the education management information systems (EMIS) 
  • Internet and e-mail access should be available at schools,  district, provincial, national level, across government offices and training  teacher education institutions 
  • The content is aligned to the National Curriculum and local contexts. 
  • Key research, national curriculum, information documents and training modules should be available on the Department of Education’s  s training institutions’ websites, with full time webmaster
  • Materials developed in human rights and citizenship education, environment, indigenous ecological systems, heritage and culture must be available on CDs and inter-active learning tools.
  • Low cost computers in schools, colleges and training institutions to be arranged
  • ICTs in education must be aggressively introduced from Grade VI instead of Grade IX as per the new curriculum and policy and where resources permit even in primary grades  
  • E- learning requires support for reliable technological infrastructure, synergies and partnerships
  • Government or private sector need to develop two or three ICT learning technologies pilot projects and evaluate them thoroughly through well documented research  to influence policy 
  • Government or projects  providing libraries to schools must include  ICT based software such as Microsoft Encarta, Oxford Talking Dictionary, Teacher PowerPoint Presentations, Typing Tutor etc, In-page, Educational games & Web resources

Role of ICT Specialist

  • Technology and its use for development in the areas of education and community development. A good understanding of computer and communication (connectivity) systems and applications is required.
  • A general understanding of educational concepts and issues related to pedagogy, curriculum, content design, use of various media for teaching and learning and e-learning in the basic education (primary and secondary) or tertiary (post secondary) or professional training sectors
  • Knowledge of technical, financial and policy issues related to ICTs in developing countries.
  • Analysis and selection of optimal choices of ICT platforms, connectivity, applications and systems.
  • Large scale (national or regional) ICT project design, implementation management, appraisal, evaluation, and familiarity with design and implementation approaches such as participative approaches, local ownership, local capacity building and promotion of local content and applications.
  • Procurement of complex ICT systems
  • Design of policy environments that enable and encourage the use of ICTs in education and development.


General Bulleted Recommendations to improve Education in Pakistan

  • The “National Educational Emergency Program” must be promulgated and implemented without delays or failure and it must involve the whole nation.
  • Declare education as the highest priority of the government. Illiteracy or lacks of education are the largest obstacle to the road towards a functioning system, in our case democracy. The road to democracy will remain burdened with the danger of exploitation by few family controlled political parties.
  • A government level television channel could be devoted to just promote education. Similar examples exist in Cairo and Riyadh. Education channels for Parent education, Primary, Secondary and Higher education sector.
  • The involvement of Pakistan army in fighting illiteracy will be highly beneficial, utilizing their experience from Army Public and Foundations Schools and Universities.
  • Make it mandatory for government and army officers at all levels to do shifts at various educational institutions in relation to their skills and national requirements.
  • Make it a mandatory requirement for various degree programmers that the candidates, after taking their exams, shall spend a specified period of time, in teaching at assigned institutions. Like NCC is conducted in colleges.
  • Ask for retired volunteers with specified qualifications to contribute their services in their areas of work or residence under organized bodies that can be formed for this purpose by the government.
  • Ask the public to contribute financially for this purpose. Modern marketing and fund raising techniques can be adopted for this task. If he Public can donate for ‘Qurz Utaro Mulk Sunwara’ – they’ll definitely contribute towards the “National Educational Emergency Program”
  • Many government school buildings can be converted into commercial schools of good level. The government can consider offering many of these schools to private sector organizations in the field of education on the condition that a specified percentage of bright students from the lower and middle classes will be granted admission and scholarships.
  • If school building cannot be constructed, single rooms should be given the status of the ‘School’ and a teacher appointed, atleast for basic primary education in rural areas.
  • Tax benefits and exemptions along with other such incentives to private sector groups to invest in education in rural and less developed areas.
  • Make it mandatory for industrial units and agricultural estate of an area above a specified limit to provide for a school within the premises. Otherwise, the owner can be asked to share costs with the government for setting up such school.
  • Introduce standardization of curricula and licensing and certification of teachers to improve standards.
  • Computer education should also be introduced gradually right from the elementary stage in education.
  • Some emphasis could be given to the development of educational institutions for some unconventional disciplines as fashion designing, art, music and literature.
  • Introduce high quality selection procedure for higher level teachers and offer the candidates better government support incentives.
  • Provide people with incentives to educate their children. This can be done in various ways. The government of Australia, increases stipends for parents, according to the number of kids they send to schools.
  • Link agricultural loans or tax benefits to feudal landlords could be considered, judging their contribution in setting up schools and raising literacy.
  • Link Industrial loans to promotion of education.
  • Starting a second shift of classes during the afternoon, in all government schools. Encouraging the private sector to do the same.
  • Vocational training should also be introduced for workers in different government offices or project executions.


Allocation of Budget

There are total 37,462,884 students in Pakistan and a total of 1,363,501 teachers. Meaning, for every 27 students there is a teacher. While this overall average seems reasonable, however, if we visit the break-up statistics of different sectors of education, we’ll observe extreme disproportionate results. The Pre-Primary, Primary and Secondary sections are the most unbalanced due to lack of teachers and as was pointed above, every government prioritized different sectors within the educational system. This imbalance was seen to improve from Intermediate colleges onwards to the University level.

  1. In the Pre-primary section the total teachers are 3470 and total Pre-Primary schools are 815, meaning, 4.25 teachers for every Pre-primary school.
  2. In the Primary section, there are a total of 435,351 teachers and a total of 156,592 Primary schools, meaning, for every primary school there are 2.7 teachers.
  3. In the Middle Schools, there are a total of 320,611 teachers and 40,829 schools, meaning, there are 7.85 teachers for every Middle School.

As we can observe from the above statistics, the most attention should be paid to these three levels of education, which will also indirectly raise the overall literacy rate of Pakistan.

While several solutions for allocation of budget have been given above in various places, few basic are mentioned here under,

  • Before the budget allocation season, the education sector, should prepare proposals with respect to their requirements, describing the support they desire from the government, in order to meet the government’s bench marks. This budget allocation must then be followed up by each school who has received a funding to submit an accountability report followed by a routine inspection.
  • Similarly, the Ministry for Education must advertise and seek proposals from all Public schools, categorized by areas, districts, regions or constituencies. Budgets should be approved as per the requirements set and envisioned by the government.
  • Introduce programs like “One Teacher per class of 25 students” – allocate budget for each school that meets this demand.
  • For the Pre-Primary, Primary and Middle School level the ratio should atleast be 25 teachers per school.
  • Introduce programs like “One Wireless Broadband per School” – allocate dedicated budget for this specific purpose.
  • Each school should have an independent Library, however small, yet independent.
  • Basic utilities like water, toilets and electricity – should be available in all schools. The principal should be held responsible if the infrastructure deteriorates.
  • For Universities, research based projects, should be encouraged and allocation as essential.



Comparing beloved Pakistan to Saudi Arabia and other so-called third world Muslim countries, we witness the difference in the priorities of these nations. How have these countries been able to modernize themselves and establish an admirable functioning educational system despite not being democratic countries? Since 2006, Saudi Arabia allocation of budget for education has been 25% of its budget. Special educational projects like the King Abdul Aziz Center for Entertainment and Knowledge and the $11 billion Princess Noura University for Women have projected countries like Saudi Arabia as the futuristic ones. This special dedication towards education in Saudi Arabia has enabled the literacy rate to improve to become 83% – UAE’s 90% – Kuwait’s 94% – Qatar’s 93% – Bahrain’s 88% and Libya’s 84%.

Let’s learn and adopt from these leading innovators – to deposit our priorities as an optimistic nation!

Let’s move forward as a Nation that believes in Unity, Faith and Discipline – to achieve a landmark of 100% literacy rate!

Pakistan First!



Filed under Education

4 responses to “Education Sector: Revolution Imminent

  1. zahid

    There is no budgetary allocation table as a % of GDP with history and present spending. There should also be a tabular comparison with native coutries like bangaldesh, India Nepal etc

  2. Administrator

    Dear Zahid,
    We’ll try to do it as soon as possible. Thanks for your suggestion and Regards!

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