The State of Education for minority groups in Pakistan


Though Pakistan is a majority Muslim country with more than 90% of its population practicing the Islamic faith still, its culture and ethnicity carry many blends and diversity. And precisely because of so much cultural and ethnic diversity, education plays a very crucial role in developing the social fabric of the country and keeping it intact. Only through education, we can teach and train our young generations to be mindful and conscious of the cultural differences of others. But sadly, since the education sector, especially higher education has not been a priority for the government and while the government has made some efforts to improve access to education for all, many minority groups continue to face significant barriers that prevent them from accessing quality education. This article will explore the state of education for minority groups in Pakistan.

Minority Groups in Pakistan

Pakistan has several minority groups, including Christians, Hindus, and Sikhs. The largest minority group in Pakistan is the Christian community, which makes up around 1.6% of the population. The second-largest minority group is the Hindu community, which makes up around 1.85% of the population. Other minority groups, such as Sikhs, make up a smaller percentage of the population

The State of Education for Minority Groups in Pakistan

Despite constitutional guarantees of equal rights, minority groups in Pakistan face significant challenges when it comes to accessing quality education. These challenges include discrimination, poverty, and a lack of resources.

  • Discrimination

One of the main challenges that minority groups face in Pakistan is discrimination. Discrimination against minority groups in the education sector is pervasive and takes various forms. For example, minority students are often subjected to verbal abuse, bullying, and physical violence by their peers and even their teachers. Discrimination is especially rampant in areas where minority groups are in the minority.

In some cases, minority students are even denied admission to schools on the basis of their religion. This type of discrimination is particularly prevalent in government-run schools, where officials often use their discretion to exclude minority students from the admission process. As a result, many minority students are forced to attend private schools, which are often too expensive for their families to afford.

  • Poverty

Another significant challenge that minority groups face in Pakistan is poverty. Many minority families live in poverty, which makes it difficult for them to access quality education. Poverty affects every aspect of a child’s education, from their ability to purchase books and uniforms to their ability to attend school regularly.

Poverty also affects the quality of education that minority students receive. Many schools in Pakistan lack basic amenities like clean water, electricity, and functioning toilets. These problems are even more severe in schools that serve minority communities, which often receive fewer resources than schools in majority communities.

  • Lack of Resources

Finally, minority groups in Pakistan also face a lack of resources. This lack of resources manifests in several ways. For example, many schools that serve minority communities lack basic facilities like libraries, computer labs, and science labs. This lack of resources means that minority students often do not have access to the same quality of education as students in majority communities.

In addition, many minority communities are located in remote and underdeveloped areas of the country. As a result, these communities lack access to the same infrastructure and services that are available in more developed areas. This lack of infrastructure makes it difficult for minority students to attend school regularly and access the resources they need to succeed.

Efforts to Improve Education for Minority Groups in Pakistan

Despite these challenges, there have been some efforts to improve education for minority groups in Pakistan. These efforts have taken various forms, including policy initiatives, grassroots activism, and the work of civil society organizations.

Some positive developments in the education of minority communities in Pakistan. For instance, the government has introduced various policies and programs to promote education and reduce discrimination against minority groups. The National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR) has also been established to address human rights violations, including discrimination against minorities.

Additionally, many non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and civil society groups are working to improve the education of minority communities. These organizations provide scholarships, educational materials, and other resources to minority students and communities. They also work to promote tolerance and understanding among different communities, which helps to reduce discrimination and improve the quality of education.

In conclusion, while progress has been made in recent years, minority groups in Pakistan still face significant challenges in accessing quality education. Poverty, discrimination, and inadequate infrastructure are some of the main factors affecting the education of minority students. However, with the government and civil society organizations working together, there is hope that the state of education for minority groups in Pakistan will improve in the years to come.

Related: GCU holds discussions on gender mainstreaming, SDGs and minority rights

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