Pakistan education


What is needed is a serious overhaul of the system and of the approach stakeholders have towards education

While almost every country in the world is continuously updating its academic curriculum with changing needs and passage of time, Pakistan is lagging far behind in making even the least amount of effort to advance its academic institutions. Even in the supposed Naya Pakistan, purana syllabus still rules the roost.

There are numerous culprits that can be blamed for this criminal neglect. Educational institutes are not entirely to be blamed, however, their role in damaging the system cannot be left undiscussed. Most institutes cannot be bothered to invest their hefty profits to update their syllabus, facilities or faculty to the levels that meet global standards. Owners of schools, colleges, universities along with so-called coaching centers continue pulling each other’s legs, reflective of their hunger to mint money. This hunger has turned this noble cause of educating our young ones into a money-making business. In fact, it has inevitably become one of the most lucrative businesses in the present time.

On the other hand, successive governments have failed miserably to pay due attention to this issue, despite that fact that it should have been the most concerning matter. Every new regime comes up with a revised curriculum that they feel is perfect. However, this makes things worse and confusing. And the irony is that even the revised syllabus ends up with the same content that is absolutely of no use and a sheer waste of public money.

Budgetary Constraints

If we talk about the funds to be disbursed for education in budget 2018, the previous government once again has not offered much of a focus to the education sector, which shows their willingness towards improving education. Despite a surge in the allocation of the funds to Rs 97.42 billion in the budget 2018-19 compared to Rs 90.516 billion in budget 2017-18, Pakistan’s spending on education is among the least in the region. This shows previous government reluctance to give education enough funding, which played an immense role in not modernizing our syllabus. However, the strategy of PTI’s six-month-old government regarding education is yet to be understood, as it has promised much in the coming five years.

The role of the teachers responsible for educating our children is also uncommendable. They seem unready for change, are unsupportive and in no way keen on even trying to build the case for updating the syllabus. This negligence of the teachers might be due to numerous reasons like job insecurity, instability in relations with upper management, the unease of doing work etc. But it remains true that the strongest force that can bring change in the fate of our nation builders is teachers.

When it comes to the students, they simply are unable to sense the severity of this issue that has compromised their skills and abilities. Students too are more than happy to continue testing trying curriculum that bears little fruit.

Lastly, parents are also do not raise a voice against the rotten education system. The reasons for that could be ignorance, or sheer pressure of social and financial matters. Besides, education institutes have also taken parents hostage by implementing unfriendly policies and by toying with their emotions.


Stepping In

All these issues need to be resolved promptly by the government through proper intervention. Yes, it is understandable that the government alone cannot overcome the issue. However, the rulers must apply education emergency in which they present a 10-year reform plan by taking education institutes of all cadres and other stakeholders on board.

In addition, reforms can also be implemented by acquiring help from nations that have the best education systems, including Finland, Japan and Singapore. The government must show its willingness to get rid of this outdated syllabus with an immensely improved one that transforms our education system. Educational institutions should also become more responsible and work more towards nation building and less towards making their fortunes. Parents must understand the importance of an up-to-date education and student must work harder to amass knowledge and learn skills beyond the classrooms.

The nation has many hopes with the government of Naya Pakistan regarding education. We all need to step up collective efforts as this is what our future generations depend on. This is the only one way to rise and stand shoulder to shoulder with the rest of the world.



Faizan Ali Author bio pic

The views and opinions expressed in the article are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the views and policy of The Academia Magazine.

The Higher Education Commission (HEC) Pakistan is committed to sustaining the pace of progress made in the higher education sector by enhancing quality, increasing access and promoting relevance of research through international linkages with eminent higher education institutions. This was stated by HEC Chairman Dr Tariq Banuri in a meeting with a group of representatives from 29 US universities on Wednesday.

English Language & employability might be more closely connected than thought earlier. Here is what Pakistan Needs to Focus on for now.


Pakistan has one of the youngest populations in the world with nearly 60 % population under the age of 29.Yet surprisingly, the highest unemployment rates are found among young people educated above matriculation level. This is a growing challenge which unless addressed on emergency basis, has the potential to transform the young work force advantage into a tragic liability.

Until about two to three decades ago, educational units – schools, colleges and universities – working under the public sector played an efficient role in providing quality education with nominal government fees. But over the years, materialism, lack of long-term policies, political interference and sectionalism have become part and parcel of public education departments and literally deteriorated the entire fabric of the Higher Education sector in Pakistan.

Private institutes and evening tuition academies did step in to fill the gap that emerged for providing quality education, but they only ended up further damaging the sector following a decadent indulgence in a mad race of making money. An increasingly expensive private sector has potentially taken control of the educational sector, right from elementary to higher education levels, in Pakistan. As a consequence, a wide majority of people cannot endure educational expenditure incurred at private schools and universities. Education is the basic right of every citizen living in any country and this right is provided amicably by all developed countries on a priority basis. But in Pakistan, consumers of educational services – parents and students – have been left with little choice or idea when it comes to seeking quality education.

Foresight, Or Lack of It

Speaking particularly about Punjab, former chief minister Shahbaz Sharif promoted terrible “sectionalism” in the sector. Instead of ameliorating the efficiency of all schools and colleges, he somehow – apparently for political mileage and self-projection – selectively introduced the culture of “Danish schools”, “model colleges” and even “model police stations”. These special outlets only resulted in further affecting the performance of other schools, colleges and police stations that did not bear the special credentials of being a ‘model’.

Shahbaz Sharif promoted terrible “sectionalism” in the sector. Instead of ameliorating the efficiency of all schools and colleges, he somehow – apparently for political mileage and self-projection – selectively introduced the culture of “Danish schools”, “model colleges” and even “model police stations”.

While ignoring a majority of schools and colleges, these special institutions were given the blue-eyed treatment with additional grants and perks, all for short-term, political objectives. The institutional discrimination not only disappointed staff, but also caused a drop in enrolments of students in institutes that did not bear the title ‘Danish’ or ‘model’. To add fuel to the fire of education woes that are burning bright, formation and execution of educational policies has for long been entrusted to civil servants who have no expertise, training or experience in education and its allied services.

Who’s In Charge?

At the university level, the plight of higher education in Pakistan has been made worse by a shambolic division of power between various quality-controlling bodies at the federal and provincial level. The Higher Education Commission (HEC) Pakistan has turned into a degree attestation department ever since Dr Atta Ur Rahman resigned as the commission chairman in 2008.

Thereafter, the 18th Amendment in the constitution was promulgated, making federating units responsible for education. However there has never been a clear roadmap of how the jurisdictions would materialize. Now provincial and federal higher education regulatory commissions work in parallel, with no clear demarcation of either’s authoritative boundary.

Funnily enough, only Punjab and Sindh have separate provincial set up of HEC, while KPK and Balochistan are still working under the federal HEC. This polarization has seriously damaged the repute, credibility and efficiency of HEC, something that needs to be addressed urgently.

Regretful Research

If we consider scientific research at many a public and private universities, the endeavor has merely become a source of grabbing funds from related government institutes and sister organizations such as Pakistan Science Foundation (PSF). Ongoing research in many subjects is far from practical utility and implications, and fails to address or attempt to address the real challenges faced by the country. The true spirit of scientific work for real implementation is lost.

Ongoing research in many subjects is far from practical utility and implications, and fails to address or attempt to address the real challenges faced by the country

Instead, research has become a criterion of quick promotion to higher ranks in universities, irrespective of how and where faculty members and their research students publish their work. There are no black and white ethical guidelines and aptitude for publications in journals from institutes. The race for publication has made both students and professors blind to the value and credentials of publishers and journals; and whether they are of an acceptable repute. Such publication houses work on the basis of “open-access” policy for readers, therefore, they ask money from the authors to publish their work. And that is happily paid from the project funds approved by HEC or PSF.

Harassment, often sexual, of female students and staff at the hands of colleagues and research supervisors is now being extensively reported across the Pakistani academia. It has become a major challenge for university administrations to curb social crime. Although, the constitution provides protection against sexual harassment at work place, the implementation of laws remain a challenge.

The practice hiring and firing of faculty members in higher education institutions on Pakistan also raises concerns, as most recruitments are reportedly made out of the way and against so-called criteria of merit. Likewise, deans and vice chancellors at universities are mostly appointed on the basis of recommendation, cosmetic value and political influence. Retired professors continue getting unnecessary extensions, impeding the way of young and energetic faculty members.

Unless administrative officials and faculty at universities in Pakistan is selected purely on the basis of capability of individuals in terms of leadership, management and specialization in respective areas, we cannot compete with the world in science and technology, or any discipline for that matter. Similarly, the HEC is essentially required to enhance its working domain with better planning and executional capacity.

Education is the only way through which the fate of nations can be turned around. And to achieve that turnaround, we must do what is needed. Uphold merit.

Author bio KHOSA MARK

The views and opinions expressed in the article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views and policy of The Academia Magazine