• Challenges of Education 

    Education works a key role in the development of a nation. Educated persons can play their role more effectively for the development of a nation. Educated persons not only participate positively in national  development but also individuals benefits from it. It is education which creates awareness, tolerance and confidence, and guide towards right direction and differentiate between right and wrong. Education is a panacea for all the ills of a society; and it is the prerequisite to al round development of the natural aptitudes which the child must ultimately employ in the service of society when it grows up (Quddus, 1990).

    School is a place which prepares young children for future. School education provides base foundation for higher learning and the skills which are needed for practical life. School’s experiences remain unique in the whole life of a student. College and university education depend upon learning of school. Students join the fields of practical life with the taste which develop at school level. School education tells a student how to think?, how to manage life and how to organize the scattered concepts?. Students enter college or university with all round capabilities and higher learning polish these capabilities and prepare leadership force for different fields of life.

    There is no second opinion, that only quality education can prepare students to meet the challenges of global market. In Pakistan, school education is criticized over many forums that it has no quality and producing students without understanding of basic concepts. When these students complete their education and come to market with certificates in hands, found no space for them, because there is a mismatch between the supply skills and jobs demanded in the actual market. Hussain (2005, p.40) states that there is a serious mismatch between the jobs demanded by the emerging needs of the economy and the supply of skills and trained manpower in the country….this mismatch has created waste and misallocation of resources on one hand and shortages of essential skills to keep the wheels of the economy moving.

    Government of Pakistan believes that quality education is the basic right of every child but facing serious problems about quality in school education. There are many challenges to quality school education, right from teacher training to curriculum. Government of Pakistan has taken many steps to resolve these problems and define strategies to meet these challenges.

    According to UNESCO (2003):

    Most of the people view quality of education as the learning outcomes of students which is the primary concern of all stakeholders. But to achieve the desired quality the antecedents, that is the input and process should also have quality in terms of efficiency, effectiveness, excellence, and social justice. The quality education output can be achieved only if quality is ensured at each level of the educational process from standard setting, learning environment, teacher training, teacher-learning process, assessment and monitoring.

    Quality Education in Pakistan

    The single most important factor that impacts the future of the country and its young population is access to quality education. Education is the level, and its quality and access to it are the main attributes to be applied for Pakistan to achieve great financial and social development (Xhaferri & Iqbal, 2010). National Education policy (2009) stated that defining quality is elusive but some parameters will need to be drawn. There is an impending need to debate and agree on what constitute quality at each stage of education and the system overall.

    Government of Pakistan gave much importance to education from its inception. Government of Pakistan organized an educational conference in Karachi soon after its inception in 1947 and pointed out that a national system of education should be based on the strong foundation of free and compulsory primary education. Commission on National Education (1959, p.10) , documented that educational system of a country should meet  the individual and collective needs and aspirations of the people of that country. National Education Policy (1992).

    Challenges to Quality Education in Pakistan Teachers

    Teachers are the most important element in the whole educational system of a country. Without quality teachers, quality education is only a dream. Quality education can be achieved through quality teachers. The “World Declaration on Education for All “describes the role of teacher as:

    The pre-eminent role of teachers as well as of other educational personnel in providing quality education needs to be recognized and developed to optimize their contribution ……improve their working conditions and  status notably in respect to the recruitment, initial and in-service training, remuneration and career development possibilities.

    Basic facilities like school building, electricity, laboratories drinking water are necessities for education. Without these facilities education is very difficult. For quality education, these facilities are compulsory. Inadequate facilities are one of the challenges in the way of quality education.

    Steps Taken for Quality by the Government of Pakistan

    Education Sector Reforms (2002) describes the following strategies for quality improvement at all levels:

    1. Benchmarking
    2. Continuous improvement of
    3. Staff development, teacher education and training, and professional development of planners, managers and staff at all
    4. Establishment of National Educational Assessment System (NEAS).
    5. Strengthening the Teacher Training
    6. Setting Academic Audit through linkage of grants/incentives with
    7. Increase of non-salary budget for provision of conducive educational
    8. District based educational planning and implementation under the Devolution
    9. Public-private partnership and community

    Problems of education in Pakistan.

    • The system of education in Pakistan is operative in match with the local needs and ground realities. It is almost a decisive factor that the education in the mother tongue surrenders more dividends but we have the system more segregated and diversified just contrary to our requirements. A good example of it is that we fail to decide about the Medium of education over the span of 64 years. Different mediums are operational in both, public and private sector. This creates a sort of disparity among people, dividing them into two
    • The Regions of Pakistan in the name of provinces are not at par as regards the infrastructure, availability of staff, their training, content mastery allocation of resources and their utilization. This develops a disparity not only in the system but in the turnover too. There is a need to revisit the schools in Baluchistan (The Largest Province of Pakistan by area) because these are not that much groomed as that of Punjab (The Largest Province of Pakistan by Population). In FATA, the literacy rate is deplorable constituting 29.5% in males and 3% in females. The conditions are to be made more congenial about teaching and learning in all parts of the country without any discretion.
    • We should have know how of the population comprising females, unfortunately their education is not attended to the way it was deemed fit. The gender discrimination is a cause that is contributing towards the low participation rate of girls at the basic level of education. The male and female participation ratio is projected at the primary school in the shape of ratio of boys & girls as 10:4 respectively. In the decade passed, government invited private sector to shoulder the responsibility of education of the youth. The intent was also to provide the education at the doorstep to the children especially the female students. The private sector took up the challenge and there was an increase in the growth of private schools but this step didn’t cause the increase in the students or the quality. The masses could not be attracted because of precious education. It created clear cut tiers of society and created a gap among those with the haves and have not’s.
    • There is a craze for the white collar jobs for the same pupils. Select the general rut of education, though they have the least tilt or the capacity to cope with the demands. China, Japan and Germany have the ruts for those who have a taste for and do not achieve the excellence in the general rut of education. We have kept the opportunities open for all to participate in general education at all levels especially the university level. We could not attract the general masses towards technical education making them to earn of their own act as the entrepreneurs and make their living without being the burden on the government. Education system is needed to be revamped making a space for the science, IT, management, and pupil with the excellence to go to the higher education pursuing the education of their own choice. Lesser emphasis on technical education means the lesser manpower for industry and hence the lesser finance
    • The allocation of funds for education is very low as it never went beyond 1.5 to 2.0 percent of the total GDP. Even this amount was not utilized and had to be surrendered back to the government because of want of expertise and the knowledge of codal formalities and in time release of funds. There is a need to increase it around 7% of the total GDP keeping in view the allocations by the neighboring countries, there is also a need to rationalize the share at the different levels not ignoring
    • Government fails to attract the potential candidates for teaching with the zeal vigor and excellent carrier. Teaching is rated as the lowest among the jobs for the youth, because of lesser incentives, slow promotions and lesser fringe benefits. The teachers in government schools are not well groomed and equipped with knowledge and training. People who do not get job in any other sector, they try their luck in educational system. There is a need to reorganize pre-service and in-service trainings making them matched with the requirements rather to keep them ideal, unique and novel.
    • Poverty is growing over the years. The average class is vanishing like anything. It happens to be a curse for the nation that exists without having the average income group. The escalation of poverty has restricted the parents to send their children to tasks for child labor or at least to public or private schools. In these schools, the drop out is very high because schools are not the attractive places, the curriculum is dry and the teaching does not match the live situations. Poor parents are constrained to send their children to madressahs where the education is totally free.
    • Corruption causes the educational policies, plans and projects to fail because of being the major contributing factor. There is no accountability and transparency in the system, the salaries are low, the incentives are too less to be accounted and even those are uneven. An estimated Rs. 2,594 million out of a total of Rs. 7,016 million provided for improvement of school facilities such as buildings, electricity, drinkable water, etc had gone unaccounted during the fiscal periods 2001-06 (UNESCO Bano, 2007). Similarly, more than 70% literacy centers in Punjab remained inoperative or exist only on paper (ADBP, 2007). The chances of ghost schools should be evaded by involving the community in the processes of inspection and
    • Multiplicity of Systems are leading to Social Imbalance, bifurcating the people into social and economic classes. The students from the elite class follow the "O" and "A" levels curriculum instead of Pakistan's routine orthodox and stagnant curriculum. They have little or no awareness of their religion and culture whereas those passing out from Urdu medium schools are usually destined to work in clerical and lower level positions. Religious madrassas churn out yet another class that is usually unaware of the world outside their own
    • Poor Delivery of Services lead to Low enrolment in Schools; teachers’ absenteeism, poor professional training, sub-standard materials and obsolete teaching methods act as the major contributive factors towards the low enrolment in schools. Burki (2005), opines that most of the public schools are either mismanaged or poorly managed. They are found imparting education of second-rate quality through substandard textbooks and curricula that do not cater the needs of the 21st century. The education should be based on learning outcomes through suggesting multiple books rather than following a single book as an

    11 The dropout rate of those lucky enough to be enrolled goes beyond 45% as has been divulged by the several reports. Most of the public sector educational institutions stay in a status of poor condition lacking even basic facilities, resultantly shaking the presupposed standards of education. There are four areas that snivel for pressing concentration which are curriculum, textbooks, examinations, and teacher training (Hoodbhoy, 2001). The textbooks need be made more facilitating, student and learning friendly.

    • Private Schools in Pakistan, enroll more students than in other countries of the region. They least bother about the capacity and facilities available, they rather over burden the teaching staff. The rapid mushroom growth of private schools and academies of teaching reflect the people's lack of trust in the public sector schools coupled with a deficiency of sufficient educational institutions to cater to the needs of the fast growing However, there are certain private schools which are slightly better than the public ones. In the elite schools where the quality education is offered, heavy fees is charged that continues to be a problem. These private sectors schools are meant only for a special sector of the population and are out of the reach of general masses. The private sector schools should be brought under the control of rules making these somewhat accessible for the common population.
    • The National Education Policy (1998-2010) was developed prior to Dakar. It has a clear cut vision and direction to support the education department. Since the 2001, the Ministry of Education has developed a number of policy documents including that of National Education policy (2009) but the endeavors remain focused on paper work more rather than the operationalization, though the involvement of NGOs and international development agencies is very much there. The simple reason is that the plans are vicious and not the ground reality based. The policies should be environment friendly. .
    • Literacy in Pakistan has risen from 45 to 54 percent within the span of 2002 to 2006, simultaneously primary enrollment rates have also increased from 42 to 52 percent. The population explosion could not enable to catch the targets. In spite of the increase in the certain parameters, the participation rate in Pakistan remains the lowest in South Asia. Alongside it, there are marked male-female, inter-regional and rural-urban disparities: Only 22 percent of girls, compared to 47 percent boys, complete primary schooling. Female literacy in rural Baluchistan is only 32 percent compared to high urban male literacy rates (and 80 percent among the urban male in Sindh).