Education plays a vital role in strengthening a country, and it helps to open new horizons of success and prosperity for a nation. Pakistan being a developing country, is amidst an education crisis since its independence. A weak education system results in a myriad of problems for a country, and the low literacy rate and lack of interest of the Pakistani population in education is a massive obstacle in this 73-year-old country’s progress.
The Pakistani education system has various flaws, and it has always failed to deliver the aspired results. Miscellaneous factors are involved in Pakistani education’s current miserable condition, and the limited education budget always tops the list. Gender discrimination, increasing poverty, societal norms comes after. Did you know Pakistan has the lowest education budget in the world? Pakistan needs to make a seismic shift in the way its education system functions to thrive in this competitive world, but change always starts from grassroots levels. We have jotted down some essential points on how to improve the education system in Pakistan. Please do, read those points.
- Identify and Address Issues Causing Low Enrollment:
One of the fundamental factors that our children are not in school is the alarmingly high percentage of Pakistani residents living under the poverty line. Approximately 24.3% of the population is under the national poverty line, so the children are often forced to work. The families see their children as a source of income and rely on their children’s daily wages, which is why enrolling in school isn’t possible.
To address this issue and ensure that children get primary education, the laws prohibiting child labor should be implemented legally. Child labor must be condemned at every level, domestic or commercial, and the mass awareness campaigns in underdeveloped and rural areas about the significance of education in future earnings must be planned and executed. This is one of the principal ways to improve school enrollment at primary and secondary levels.
- Minimize Difference Of Standards In Schools:
The importance of state-funded and private schools in educating the youth cannot be disregarded. The notion that the private education system must be abolished will further aggravate the education problems in Pakistan. Did you know that one-third of all Pakistani students attend private schools? This is a massive percentage, but people from more prosperous backgrounds can only afford good private education in Pakistan. Due to sufficient resources, the facilities provided in private schools are far better than public schools in the country.
On the other hand, state schools have no sense of equality in terms of facilities. In some well-developed areas, the state schools have an ample number of school teachers with a developed infrastructure, while in most places, a primary school is set up under a tree. Similarly, the curriculum also has massive differences, creating issues when children progress to higher education levels. This issue needs to be discussed, and universal standards for government and private schools must be developed to ensure that every kid is getting adequate facilities and education.
- Decrease Focus On Education In English:
Unfortunately, South Asia’s colonial history is one of the fundamental reasons for Pakistani’s obsession with English, impacting the education system. Conversing in fluent English is often considered a measure of intelligence, which is why teachers and parents are focusing too much on teaching in a foreign language. English is undoubtedly a global language. Learning English is imperative to survive in the world, but at primary and secondary instilling, basic concepts in children are more valuable than getting better at a language.
Language is a medium of communication, and ideas and thoughts are shared suitably if the communication is carried out in a language everyone has good command over. Students and teachers are not entirely comfortable with the English language, which gives a push to the rote system in education. Teachers develop a course in English and dictate it to the students, who memorize them to write it in the examination. This is how the whole education system is working for the past few decades. Teaching in the national language with the inclusion of regional languages will help students learn and grab everything efficiently.
- Educate Parents About Female Education:
Female education plays a crucial role in society’s progress and development, and awareness about this is relatively low in Pakistani society. Only 29% of females in rural areas of Pakistan get basic education, and the overall female literacy rate of Pakistan is 42%, which is significantly less than the male literacy rate. These statistics clearly indicate that Pakistani parents are still reluctant to enroll their female children in schools, even in this contemporary world.
The potential in Pakistani girls is infinite, and if given adequate opportunities, they are no less than anyone. Parents need to recognize this as they are a major obstacle in girls’ education. Most girls who cannot attend a school have unsupportive parents, or their parents cannot afford education expenses, so they are more focused on educating their male children.
There are many religious and social factors involved, but building girls’ schools can overcome this problem while parents from low economic backgrounds must be involved in community schools. Scholarships and education loans for female students must be offered in sufficient numbers; partnering with private sectors to build schools for girls in rural areas is another feasible option. There is a lot to be done for women’s education in Pakistan, and stakeholders must take the essential steps towards betterment as women constitute 48.54%% of the total Pakistani population.
- Transportation for School Children & Teachers:
In rural areas, transportation is a crucial issue and is the main reason why children are not enrolled in schools as the institutions are far away from their residential areas. Tertiary level state institutions provide limited transport facilities for their students, but this concept is absent at primary and secondary levels. Children have to handle the daily commute by themselves, which is an extra burden on the parents, so they are unwilling to send them to schools, particularly girls.
Safe and affordable or ideally free transportation is required for teachers and students because both are frequently absent due to the unavailability. Schools in distant areas must have a state-funded transport system to ensure regular attendance and productivity of teachers and students. Challenging modes of transportation exhaust children and reduce their capacity to learn, eventually affecting their annual performance. Transportation directly impacts the student’s capabilities to study, and its effect cannot be neglected at all.
- Incentives for Private Education Sector:
The current miserable conditions and productivity of public schools are out in the open, and it will not improve overnight. Extensive efforts and policies need to be formulated along with a sufficient budget for education to make the entire public school system more useful. One thing that can readily be done is to provide incentives and packages to private schools and institutions to give scholarships and charge fewer fees from deserving students from humble backgrounds.
This would be a significant step for students in districts where state schools are not functional at all, and this way, underprivileged kids from such areas can also become a part of the education system.Private schools are profitable ventures, and offering free education to a few students will not be a massive concern for most of them. The government and education ministry should formulate policies that will direct private institutions to provide free education and dedicate 10% of their annual enrolment to needy students.
- Regularly Revise The Curriculum:
The world is progressing towards 6G technology and dazzling in the technological fields. However, here in Pakistan, we are still teaching the syllabus that our parents used to study decades back. The computer education that is, taught in our classes is very elementary and outmoded and doesn’t prepare our students well for the world’s competitive practical environment. This is also one of the principal reasons why unemployment is prevailing in Pakistan.
The students of higher education institutions are studying outdated books and learning fundamental concepts. They are not aware and taught the recent developments, so when they arrive in the practical world, the requirements are high, which they cannot meet, leading to late employment or unemployment. This has some severe impacts and increases depression and the suicide rate in younger generations. The syllabus must be updated frequently, and new additions must be made regularly to ensure that the things and topics being taught are up to the
mark and relevant and useful in the current world.
- Involve Teachers and Invest In Training:
An educational system cannot grow unless the teachers are included in policy making, and their feedback is taken into consideration. They are working practically. Their valuable feedback about what changes need to be done to become more productive and what modifications are essential will improve the education system to a much greater extent. Include them in the talks and take their advice to provide better education for the upcoming generations.
Another critical aspect is the teacher’s qualification. Educators must be encouraged to continue their learning alongside working as teachers. They must complete their bachelor’s education, and for that, salary incentives and scholarship programs specially designed for teachers can be started. Professionalism is vital for a teaching career. To learn new techniques, educational institutions must invest in annual training sessions that empower them to improve their teaching skills, soft skills, and teachers with higher competency levels should be given a raise to promote healthy competition among the teacher community.
- Equal Opportunities For Differently-abled People:
Did you know that according to the census held in 1998, 2.38% of the entire pakistani population is differently-abled? Differently-abled is a sensitized word for people with disabilities but these linguistic changes are essential for awareness but not enough to make them a productive citizen of Pakistan. They hold equal rights in education as well, which is often dismissed. There must be special schools for differently-abled children at all levels.
An increase in quota in higher education institutions is also required to ensure equal access to opportunities like any other Pakistani. Former provincial education minister Zubaida Jalal came up with a national action plan to provide inclusive education for people with disabilities, however the implementation was not completed accurately, and less effective results were observed. NGOs and the private sector are working diligently for such people. Still, a lack of interest is observed from government organizations, so change needs to be made to promote education for people with special needs.
- Focus on Vocational Education:
A one size fits all approach is not suitable anymore when providing education in the 20th century. Every student is unique and has its strengths. A sound education system helps students identify where their potential lies and gives them suitable relevant opportunities to succeed in that field. Unfortunately, the Pakistani education system is more focused on academic education, and a meager percentage of students opt for vocational education.Pakistanis are always focused on getting an education that will open gateways towards white-collar jobs, and there is also a social stigma attached to vocational education and the associated employment opportunities.
The state of vocational education is also deplorable in Pakistan, and very few institutes are providing quality education for such aspirants. This needs to be worked on, and awareness should be dispersed about the significance of vocational education to decrease unemployment after graduation. Vocational pieces of training can help students earn a handsome amount, and the cost of such education is also much lower. It takes less time to finish the studies, and the chances of getting hired are way higher because of less competition.
The Government of Pakistan alone cannot fix Pakistan’s education system, and every individual and private organization must strive and play their part in the progress of the country’s education system. Collective efforts are the key to increase Pakistan’s literacy rate, and equal education opportunities for everyone is the only way to build a strong, prosperous Pakistan.