Pakistan’s Educational System
The education system of Pakistan is one is the least-developed in the world. Until 1947, the educational system was based on the British colonial educational system. In 1947, Pakistan gained independence resulting from the partition of the Indian subcontinent into the states of India and Pakistan. The colonial system was selective. It was meant to educate a small section of the population to run the government. Regardless of the changes since independence, the Pakistani education system has kept its colonial system, to prevent the lose of illiteracy.
Pakistan’s educational system is divided into five levels. The pre-university education includes four levels. The first is the primary level, which is grades one to five. Then, the middle level consisting of grades six to eight. Next is the high level, grades nine and ten. Then is the intermediate level which is grades eleven and twelve, leading to a diploma in arts or science. There is also a university level, which lead to undergraduate and graduate degrees. The Pakistani educational system is based on removing political power from local levels and concentrate it in a central authority.
All of the institutions involved in academic and technical education, up to the intermediate level are controlled by the Ministry of Education. For any education programs above those levels, there is a government- enabled university in the four Pakistani provinces. The four provinces are Punjab, Baluchistan, and the North West Frontier. The universities are in control of organizing instructions and exams for their province. Separate from the Ministry of Education, other ministries supervise certain degree programs. Other private and nonprofit school and universities have started to come up in Pakistan.
Some examples are the Lahore University of Management Sciences and the Aga Khan medical University in Karachi. Since they are privately funded, they provide a chance for higher education for a small portion of people who do not have the opportunity to pursue their education at publicly funded universities, that have limited annual admission. Despite the plans of the Pakistani government, the educational system has failed to get rid of illiteracy after their era of independence. It has also failed to teach a number of people to meet the needs of the country in different fields.
This had been a major disablement to the nation’s economic development. The government reforms in the 1950’s, 1960’s, and 1970’s did not bring up these problem. They mainly focused on replacing English, the colonial language of education, with Urdu, the language of most Pakistanis. The reforms also led to the making school public. Dealing with the flaws of the educational system, the Pakistani government organized new reforms in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. These made three major processes begin. The government privatized the school that were made public in the 1970’s.
It also cancelled the process of making Urdu the language of education and encouraged to go back to English language in private schools. Finally, the government stressed Pakistani studies and Islamic studies as two major parts of the curriculum. This was a major change from colonial education’s based on British history and English literature. The changes have improved the educational system and have increased the number of literate Pakistanis, but there are still some struggles. Educational funding is low. Also, there is little political efforts to make improvements.
Pakistan’s expenses on education is not enough to meet the growing needs for education services for the nation’s increasing population. On the other hand, In the 1999-2000 school year, government spending on education was 2 percent of Pakistan’s gross national product. This amount shows a decrease from 1995-1997. School enrollment also increased from 19 percent in 1980 to 24 percent in 1990. The Pakistani educational system showed a lot of discrimination against women. This unfairness was shown in the pattern of literacy, which shows a strong relationship between gender and literacy rates.
The illiteracy rate is very high among Pakistani women of all ages. In 1998, the adult illiteracy raters were 42 percent for males and 71 percent for females. In the same year, the illiteracy rate for male youth and female youth was 25 and 53 percent. This gender-based favoritism has contributed to the continued illiteracy and shortage of educated people and has had major impacts on the underdevelopment of Pakistan. The educational system of Pakistan has been unable to meet the needs of educational requirements of the Pakistanis.
The system needs extreme investment to increase the number of educational institutions and to train and find a sufficient amount of educators at all levels. The Pakistani government has limited financial resources, which is not enough to meet all of Pakistan’s needs. Added to the money spend because of the unstable relations between India and Pakistan and a huge foreign debt further reduce the available resources for educational purposes. Unless the worsening Pakistani economy improves there is little hope for a significant change in Pakistan’s educational system in the future.