Mehwish Mustaqeem Sialkot
It is admitted on all hands that education is one of the elementary factors in development and it has rightly been called the highest return investment available in the developing world.No country can accomplish sustainable economic development without extensive investment in its education system.According to a recent report of UNESCO pakistan is far from achieving the education for all.targets and has been placed at the low development index.
So far Pakistan has failed to achieve the goal of quality education for all.According to the report low primary school participation adult illiteracy high dropout rate gender disparities and inequalities in the existing system as well as the poor quality of education are some of the reasons behind this dismal performance.It is an established fact that education enhances the income generating potential and this relationship between equity in education and income is explained in terms of the returns associated with it.Primary education is supposed to be the basic mainstay of the extended instructive system.However it is a tale of consistent failures in Pakistan .Perhaps our policy makers are not aware of fact that primary education works as a catalyst to bring changes in knowledge values behavior and life styles crucial for achieving sustainability and stability.Literacy in Pakistan has been low because of certain factors.Firstly the attitude of the elite in Pakistan is not encouraging.The mullahs military bureaucrats and feudal lords do not support investment for the masses in this sector.
They have a vested interest in keeping the majority of the masses in this sector.They have a vested interest in keeping the majority of the populace illiterate and unproductive.Secondly the oppressive and exploitative feudal system in Pakistan has its own reasons to discourage literacy and education.Thirdly the worthless sens of formal education in terms of economic and social values has also dissuaded the public from investing in education.It does not impart to the students marketable skills and knowledge to come out of the poverty trap.
Fourthly gender disparity by and large has a negative connotation because it leads towards discrimination in every aspect of life.Pakistan is considered to have the largest gender gap between boys and girls in the literacy ratio.Cultural barriers are just one aspect of hurdles in female education.Fifthly another very important factor plaguing this sector is the low budgetary allocations.According to the world bank Pakistan’s expenditure on public sector education is only 2.3 per cent of the GDP which is to a great extent lesser than the south Asian average of 3.6 per cent and the low income states average of 3.4 per cent .Lastly poverty of the people has been responsible for lack of interest in education.High dropout rates the existence of child labor expensive text books and stationery and poor motivational level in parents to retain their children in school are the result of extensive poverty.
To achieve the goals of education for all the following steps can be helpful in increasing the country’s literacy rate.first conceptually the government needs to understand the wider meaning of education it should not be confused with schooling.Secondly constitutionally the government must recognize that education is a provincial subject and therefore provinces should own any policy and they must have full responsibility to implement it.Third the parallel streams of education must be merged gradually and in a phased manner both madrassa schooling and the English medium system must be terminated.
Public schooling should be comprehensive enough and the private schools must follow the same curriculum.Lastly the parents’s role should be recognized and measures be suggested to organised the demand side of schooling and education particularly in early childhood education.The education system is a true reflection of any society and it is also the most important factor to direct its future and shape.The public sector education system which caters the educational needs of the majority of the population is simply obsolete decadent and out of sync with the times.The private sector which imparts quality education is out of the reach of the majority.However all is not yet lost and Pakistan needs to get back to the development highway and take appropriate measures to come at par with the standard set by the international agencies while providing affordable quality education to its citizens.