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Role of Education in the Performance of Pakistans Economy


Education is a prerequisite for sustainable development. This research deals with the present educational trends in Pakistan while comparing them to the annual GDP growth rates. These figures are then compared with international figures from both developed and developing countries. Malaysia has been taken as a case study and a point of reference due to the similar nature of the problems they faced when dealing with education and how Malaysia is now a success story and an economic power.

Quality education in Pakistan is not prioritized and it is a major reason for us being a third world country. The research tends to focus on showcasing importance of education, its benefits to a nation economically and socially. The role of education at micro and macro level is also highlighted and a policy plan with a four phase implementation plan has been devised to achieve a 100% literacy rate.


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Pakistan's education System: The academic divide

Pakistan's economy & Educational Budget

Terrorism, Education and Economic Stability

The New Educational Policy 2010

Malaysia as a Growth Model

Literature Review

Education and Economy- Statistical Analysis

Policy Implications




"Intellectual capital in the form of a well-educated populace is the sine qua non of economic development" - Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson, President, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Malaysia. (2001)

Education is considered as one of the major factors of growth in any economy. Education is directly related to many other variables such as income, poverty, employment; all of which have a direct impact on the overall development of a country. The success of many economies can be attributed to education, along with many other variables. However, education as a driver of growth cannot be neglected and it is necessary for economies, who want to develop, to place a huge stress on education. The neglect of education or the educational sector in many countries is the reason for their low and under developed status.

Education is coming forward as one of the underlying enterprises of the current century with the evolving globalization and heightening competition all over the world. For the progress of our country, education is the main key. Pakistan is focused to give effective response to evolving needs and challenges faced due to globalization. One of the major keys for growth, change and progress is education.

Education provides assistance in the proportionate development of a human being. It plays a vital role in increasing the socio-economic and political adjustment of a person to the society he belongs. Education helps in the development process of a country to be equitable, fair and efficient.

While many nations express a commitment to improved educational quality, education often slips down on the policy agenda. Because the benefits of educational investments are seen only in the future, it is possible to underestimate the immediate value and the importance of education for overall social reform and economic development.

Education is a key social indicator that establishes a nation-state's standing in the present world. With rapid globalization and technological advancements, education is a prerequisite to sustainable growth. Low development in a country can be greatly attributed to the overall economic growth of a country. It takes little analysis to see that education levels differ dramatically between developing and developed countries. Building upon several decades of thought about human capital - and centuries of general attention to education in the more advanced countries - it is natural to believe that a productive development strategy would be to raise the schooling levels of the population. And, indeed, this is exactly the approach of the Education for All initiative and a central element of the Millennium Development Goals.

Work over the past two decades on why some countries have succeeded economically while others have not now provides a much clearer picture of the role of human capital in economic development. The human capital influence on growth is best characterized by the relationship between direct measures of cognitive skills and long-term economic development. The evidence points to differences in cognitive skills as an explanation of a majority of the differences in economic growth rates across the developed and developing countries of the world. Moreover, the available historical evidence indicates that differential skills have a very powerful and continuing impact. The historical growth relationships provide a means for projecting out how improvements in schools would translate into economic results. Based on the historic patterns, it is possible to estimate both the time pattern and the ultimate impact of school quality improvements.

The performance deficits of countries, measured by average scores on international tests of mathematics and science, identify serious shortfalls in economic performance relative to economic possibilities. An important aspect highlighted by these projections is the dynamic nature of human capital and growth. The basic characterization of growth indicates that higher cognitive skills offer a path of continued economic improvement, so that favorable policies today have growing impacts in the future. The underlying idea is that economies with more human capital (measured by cognitive skills) innovate at a higher rate than those with less human capital, implying that nations with larger human capital in their workers keep seeing more productivity gains. Characterizing the full ramifications of schooling outcomes requires tracing future developments far into the future.

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An educated and skilled workforce is one of the pillars of the knowledge-based economy. Increasingly, comparative advantages among nations come less from natural resources or cheap labor and more from technical innovations and the competitive use of knowledge. Studies also link education to economic growth: education contributes to improved productivity which in theory should lead to higher income and improved economic performance.


Education in Pakistan is overseen by the Ministry of Education; whereas, the development of schools and infrastructure is the responsibility of the provincial government. Curriculum development and research related to the field is conducted by the federal government mostly with the assistance of foreign bodies.

As part of his program to overhaul Pakistan's institutions in the 1970s, Zulifkar Ali Bhutto nationalized private educational institutions, many of which were gifts by philanthropists. These schools eventually due to negligence were shut down. As a result the already dire educational system of Pakistan peaked in apathy. To add fuel to fire the 'quota system' diminishes any chances of a merit based educational system. While providing opportunity to those from less than privileged background it compounds the system to mediocrity while crippling the entire concept of an equitable merit based system.

As a result of overall negligence and lack of interest in national literacy on part of the government the entire educational system of Pakistan has suffered.

At present there are three types of schools are present: private, public and the madrasah system. There is a further division on the basis of medium of instruction: Urdu medium and English medium. Private schools, placated for catering to the elites are in actuality the backbone of the entire educational system of Pakistan. They take up the responsibility of dispatching quality education of an international standard to the masses. However, since the private schools demand very high fees, a major chunk of the people of Pakistan, who are living in mass poverty, cannot afford to acquire education from the private sector. This in turn forces them to turn their heads towards the public sector. The public sector education is provisioned by the government and the schools running under the public sector are mostly Urdu medium, with a curriculum in need of major overhaul creating a dearth of individuals with actual intellectual capacity to cater to the globalized world of today. The public schools in Pakistan are often marked by a high level of absenteeism and ghost teachers. The level of education provided by the public sector is fairly poor because of low levels of accountability. The standards of public school system in Pakistan are nowhere near international standards. Due to the bad standards of public education because of no accountability and high levels of poverty, a major proportion of the citizens of the country also prefer to not acquire education.

Running side by side to the formal school system, the Deeni Madaris gives religious education to the masses in Pakistan. The Madrasah System or the Deeni Madaris run on charity and offer Ghausia and Shahadat ul Almiya courses. The degree of the highest level is "Shahadat-Ul-Almiya" which is distinguished as an equal to M.A in Arabic studies. These madaris provide free Quranic education along with boarding and lodging is the primary sources of any form of education for nearly 70% of the rural residents of Pakistan. These figures are alarming, as these institutes are blamed for harboring terrorists and dispensing a radical approach to religion in turn producing a crop of individuals with an extremist mind set prone to violence. The education in these Madaris is imparted on basis of Quran and the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad, logic and Islamic Jurisprudence.

Therefore despite tall claims by the Government the literacy rate is a dwindling figure, lagging at 54% (according to official figures), whereas most independent agencies put it at somewhere between 40-46%. The urban rural divide is so great that the literacy rate ranges from 87% in Islamabad to 20% in the Kohlu District.

Year of







Definition of

being "literate"



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Literacy Trends in Pakistan (source UNESCO)

Although Pakistan produces about 445,000 university graduates and 10,000 computer science graduates per year, the ratio of college/universities to population is vast and most of these institutes are clustered in urban areas with little opportunity for those in rural areas to stay local and have access to any sort of higher education. To make matters worse due to lack of employment opportunities there is massive brain drain. Which creates a vacuum in the society, without professionals the functioning of individual institutes is further crippled.

Thousands of "ghost" teachers have been drawing salaries from the education departments of the four provinces. They do not do any actual teaching since there are no functioning schools.

According to a survey conducted by the education departments of Sindh and Punjab provinces in 1998, some 700 primary and secondary schools and 18,000 teachers were found "ghost" in Punjab and 340 schools and 7,000 teachers in Sindh.

The challenges that have risen from inadequate finance and infrastructure considerably explain the crisis in public education today. And unless Pakistan taps its human resource as a capital and prospective economic drive the present financial and socio-political is unlikely to change.


The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, (UNESCO), proposes an underdeveloped nation allocate at least 4% of its total GDP for education. Chad, one of the poorest nations in the world, has allocated 6% for education in its last budget, where as Pakistan allocates 2.2% of its annual budget to education.

According to the Economic Surveys, published each year, during the past four years, defense expenditures and interest payments have consumed about one fifth and one third of total expenditures respectively. The amount spent on social, economic and community services is approximately 15 percent of the total expenditure. Estimates suggest that of this, almost one-half i.e. about seven percent to eight percent is spent on education. However, national actual expenditure on education as a percentage of the GDP has remained at about 1.7 percent since 1997, although the new educational policy promises to increase the budget up to 7%, on a gradual basis, it seems highly unlikely. Information regarding national and provincial budgets as well as budgets allocated to the education sector during 1998/99-2007/08 shows that, in Pakistan, slightly more than nine percent of the national budget is spent on education. At the provincial level, education gets an allocation between 20 percent and 30 percent, with Punjab allocating the highest proportion of funds to education, closely followed by the NWFP.

Public expenditure on education in Pakistan, as a percentage of GDP, compares poorly with that of other countries of South Asia, according to the Economic Survey Report 2009-10. According to figures, Pakistan allocated to the sector 2.5 per cent of the GDP in 2006-07, 2.47 per cent in 2007-08, 2.1 per cent in 2008-09 and 2 per cent in 2009-10.

According to UNESCO's Education for All Global Monitoring Report 2009, the public sector expenditure on education in other countries of the region is: 2.6 per cent of the GDP in Bangladesh, 3.2 per cent in Nepal, 3.3 per cent in India, 5.2 per cent in Iran and 8.3 per cent in the Maldives.

The poor quality of the learning environment, the document says, is evident from the fact that a large number of schools lack basic infrastructure - 37.7 per cent of the schools up to the elementary level don't have boundary walls, 33.9 per cent lack drinking water facility, 37 per cent don't have latrines and 60 per cent are without electricity.

Annual GDP growth rate:

Before correlating the annual budget allocation to education, the current literacy rate to economic growth there is a need to assess the annual GDP growth rate of Pakistan.


GDP - real growth rate


Percent Change

Date of Information


4.50 %



FY01/02 est.


5.50 %


22.22 %

2003 est.


6.10 %


10.91 %

2004 est.


6.60 %


8.20 %

2005 est.


6.60 %


0.00 %

2006 est.


5.30 %


-19.70 %

2007 est.


2.70 %


-49.06 %

2008 est.


2.70 %


0.00 %

2009 est.

Source: CIA World Fact book

Pakistan over the past decade has seen a gradual decline in its annual growth rate, part of it is owed to the international recession, but mostly it is the failure of the state to establish a balanced system, cater to public sector indicators and capitalizing on human resource. In the past decade and a half there has been rapid technological advancement, IT has taken the forefront in every sector, entire industrial sectors have been automated, for this there is a need for skilled labor, technicians who know how to work this new technology and a public with higher cognitive skills to understand the globally active change agents and is able to cope with these changes.


Pakistan cannot be distinguished as an independent nation economically, socially and politically if the problems of illiteracy and ignorance cannot be effectively removed. The people of Pakistan need to develop their own pool of resources in order to gain political and economic freedom. Revolutionary steps need to be taken in order to improve and ensure quality assurance in the sector of education in Pakistan.

While many individuals would fail to recognize the importance of the variables mentioned above, it is necessary to understand that education directly impacts the level of crime and other acts of crime, thus impacting the overall stability of the economy. Peace education-spanning issues of human security, equity, justice, and intercultural understanding- is of paramount importance. Education also reduces crime: poor school environments lead to deficient academic performance, absenteeism, and drop out-precursors of delinquent and violent behavior. Terrorism in Pakistan has curtailed the inflow of foreign investment in Pakistan, if this wasn't the case Pakistan has the potential to cater to a large sector of the world market as an IT outsourcing center and other industries.

According to the Finance Ministry of Pakistan, the country has suffered a direct or indirect loss of approximately RS 2080 billion due its indulgence in the war against terrorism from the year bracket of 2004-05-2008-09. During the year 2007-08, the cost of terrorism to Pakistan summed up around RS 484 billion which in turn had an immense impact on the economic and social development of the country. Due to terrorism, the all of the sectors of the country faced immense pressure. The foreign direct investment, industrial output, tax collection and all the sectors of the economy were adversely effected. The expected cost of terrorism to the country is likely to increase in the years to come, both direct and indirect.

The economy of Pakistan has severely been hit after it became a front line state against the war on terrorism. Terrorism has been a growing part of the lives of the people of Pakistan and the Pakistani community.

The basis remedy to the problem of terrorism is education. Education can help serve as a medicine to the problem of terrorism and greatly decrease it. By educating the people of its country, the nation of Pakistan can emerge as a state underlined with solidarity. Provision of education will help in parting knowledge to those indulged in the acts of terrorism. It will also immensely reduce the feelings of deprivation, insecurity, frustration, violence and poverty; all which lead to increases in the crime rate. Not only will the economy be stable if terrorism and crime declined but it will also help to provide assistance in the overall development and growth of the Pakistan economy by increasing foreign investment, business activity and trade.


The new education policy for the next decade was approved by the cabinet on September 9, 2009. It is interesting to note that the previous education policy for the period 1998 to 2010 had still not expired. Pakistan task force on education has been granted the task to increase the capacity of the federal and provincial governments to implement the education reforms set out in the national education policy. It will support the federal and provincial ministries and prioritize and identify clear goals for improving the school system and set targets for improvement and cascade them through the system. The force has also been given the responsibility of upgrading the education system and devising a mechanism to address the issues of equity, quality and governance. The task force will focus on implementing targets set in education policy towards achieving 85 percent literacy by 2015. The justification given by the present government for a new policy before the expiration of the previous was that the last one was not yielding the desired results. But this could be said about all the earlier policies which were a lot of rhetoric and fell short of reality. The problem lies at implementation level rather than policy formulation. The NEP looks like a long wish list; it's replete with promises ranging from allocation to achievement of ambitious goals. The most important announcement was that the annual allocation for education will be seven percent of the GDP by 2015. Although the actual budget figures as mentioned before are contrary to this claim.

Another declaration made by the policy was that 'a common curricular framework in general as well as professional education will be applied to educational institutions in both the public and private sector'. This was followed by a promise to uplift public sector schools to the level of the private sector. 2011 is just around the corner and any forms of implementation of the present policy are yet to be seen. The budget allocations are still a meager sum, what needs to be tackled with is the central issue: the solution is actual mobilization and implementation.


The history of Malaysia as a subject of the British Empire is pretty similar to that of Pakistan. Although instead of dismembering from sister states, Malay territories unified, first unification took place in 1946 under the common wealth. The point of discussing the history of the state is to establish a point of reference. Comparing to a hundred year old developed nation is unfair to and does not establish the actual relevance of education to economic stability.

Malaysia is a perfect role model economy for developing and under developed economies such as that of ours. The development of the Malaysian economy has been outstanding ever since its independence, Malaysia has had one of the best economic records in Asia, with GDP growing an average 6.5% for the first 50 years of independence. The economy of the country has, traditionally, been fuelled by its natural resources (like Pakistan), but is now also expanding in the sectors of science, tourism, commerce and medical tourism.

Malaysia is a relatively open state-oriented and newly industrialized market economy. The state plays a significant but declining role in guiding economic activity through macroeconomic plans. In 2007, the economy of Malaysia was the 3rd largest economy in South East Asia and 29th largest economy in the world

At present the literacy rate of Malaysia is 92%, and is gradually increasing. The government in the present year has sanctioned researches to establish a stronger higher education sector to cater to the growing need of specialized professionals and competing with global academic institutes. For this purpose they have been conducting research under the title 'Malaysia and the Knowledge Economy' which focuses on Building a World-Class Higher Education System

Like Pakistan it suffered from diversity in educational system and a language disparity, both remnants of the British rule. The Entire higher education system was in English while primary and secondary education was mainly in Malay. With policy revision they were able to overcome these issues and come forth as a strong educated nation.

There present growth rates are a testament to the importance of education in economic growth. Some countries of the region have successfully combined openness and investment in learning and education, forming a virtuous circle: openness creates demand for education, and learning and education make a country's export sector more competitive.


The conventional theory of Human Capital Development by Becker (1962) and Mincer (1974) views training and education as a vital source of human capital accumulation which have a direct effect on a person's individual earnings over a lifetime. Which in turn have an effect on the economy of a state. Most attention to the value of schooling focuses on the economic returns to differing levels of school attainment for individuals. The rate of return to schooling across countries is centered at about 10 percent with variations in expected ways based largely on scarcity: returns appear higher for low income countries, for lower levels of schooling, and frequently for women.


Returns to Observed Educational Quantity and Unobserved Educational Quality over the Work Life

Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson, President, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in her speech on "Meeting the Challenges of the New Economy: Education as an Engine for Growth and Innovation," said that Innovative ability, in addition to technical ability, plays an ever-increasing role in economic success. An industry depends upon specialized expertise to design innovative products and processes. The capacity to translate knowledge into high-value, even unique, products and services has emerged as one of a nation's most important competitive assets, and arises in numerous domains, including design, manufacturing, marketing, service, and management. The ability of a nation to develop individuals with such innovative abilities depends upon an educational system which provides a high quality cognitive skill base from which all enterprises can draw.

Education is one of the key components essential for mastering the challenges posed by the 21st century. The Third ASEM Summit in their report recognized the need for sustainable development to cope with the widening gap of poor and rich, which is being enhanced by the widening digital divide. They recognized this as one of the key challenges for ASEM which can be met only by enhancing education.

Paul Kennedy in his speech at the ASEM summit further elaborated on the issue by saying that by regarding education as less important in my many cultures they automatically set themselves on the path to backwardness. Such is the case in Pakistan's rural areas where jagiradar system prevents people from acquiring education. This Mr. Kennedy highlighted as the key issue in the developing countries of Asia. In his view education also implies a deep understanding of why our world is changing, of how other people and cultures feel about those changes, of what we have in common - as well as what divides cultures, classes and nations. In order to achieve this goal he pointed out the need for open societies, because in societies where fundamentalist forces block open inquiry and debate, where politicians, to attract the support of special interests, inveigh against foreign people or ethnic minorities, and where a commercialized mass media and popular culture drive serious issues to the margins, the possibility that education will introduce deeper understanding of global trends is severely limited.

He elaborated on the role of education as a means to securing an open political system, a tool in achieving civic responsibility, social cohesion and lastly economic success."

UNESCO published a paper on the "New Role of Education", which highlighted the increased need of education as an international requirement. According to the paper education also serves society by providing a critical reflection on the world, especially its failings and injustices, and by promoting greater consciousness and awareness, exploring new visions and concepts, and inventing new techniques and tools. Education is also the means for disseminating knowledge and developing skills, for bringing about desired changes in behaviors, values and lifestyles, and for promoting public support for the continuing and fundamental changes that will be required. The paper summed up the new role of education as a facilitator in the quest for the achievement of sustainable development.

The report on "Education and the Economy: An Indicators Report" by National Center for Education Statistics was the first in a series of indicator reports recommended by the congressionally mandated Special Study Panel on Education Indicators. In this report, they examined the link between education and economic productivity from different angles using a variety of data sources. First, they presented indicators related to historical trends in worker productivity in the United States and other countries and the contribution of education to these trends. The report also considered the link between education and productivity at the individual level, focusing on the economic consequences of educational attainment, educational achievement, and adult literacy. Since accumulation of human capital does not end with formal schooling, the report went into details and also explored the link between worker training and productivity. Finally, it compared key measures of educational performance in the United States with corresponding measures in other countries. And it yielded that quality of education in a developed country is key for sustainable growth and a ripe job market both at home and abroad. With growing competition it is of extreme importance for a country like the US to maintain its educational standards to cope with the growing international competition. For a developing country education is crucial, as it is a key element for development in a technological world.

While discussing Hawaii's Economy the paper Education and the Economy established that the primary purpose of education is to prepare our youth for successful adult roles in society. Of course, a successful and satisfying adult life is integrally linked to marketable job skills. Consequently, much of education's effort is directed at developing these skills and, at higher levels of the education system, helping to improve the economy and provide job opportunities for its clients. Education also has a significant direct impact on the economy through its expenditures and large employment base. In Hawaii, education is a $2 billion industry that produces an array of educational products for both local residents and thousands of out-of-state students. It also attracts millions of additional dollars to Hawaii through grants and contracts at the University level. Therefore education not only grants local growth and but also brings in foreign revenue by selling their education to the world. This is true for most developed countries; Hawaii is an example of the rest of America and Britain, where education is a multibillion dollar industry.

In his article "The critical role of education in U.S. economy" Chairman Alan Greenspan highlighted the need to educate their citizens so that the US is fully equipped to participate in the global economy, especially now that so many jobs are going to other countries. He also emphasized the need for education and training to develop the skills necessary for "new" jobs created in the economy. He Warned that policy-makers, educators and citizens must work together to make sure that education keeps up with the changing economy so that the United States does not fall behind.

Ilhan Ozturk'a paper on 'the role of education in economic development: a theoretical perspective" deals with education as one of the fundamental factors of development. No country can achieve sustainable economic development without substantial investment in human capital. Education enriches people's understanding of themselves and world. It improves the quality of their lives and leads to broad social benefits to individuals and society. Education raises people's productivity and creativity and promotes entrepreneurship and technological advances. In addition it plays a very crucial role in securing economic and social progress and improving income distribution.

Tarnue Johnson while speaking about Liberian society in his article "The Role of Education in Strengthening Civil Society in Liberia: A New Agenda for Self-Emancipation and Social Change," seeks to discuss one of the most crucial and strategic functions of education as an enabler of a vibrant civil society and political culture. In a postindustrial age where knowledge or what some refer to as social capital has become a central productive force, the challenge of educational development is inseparable from the progressive reorganization of the social order. Thus, understanding the relationship between education and the building of a healthy civil community---in all its multiple dimensions and complexities---is as important as understanding the most intricate processes and assumptions regarding the structuring of contemporary discourse and political action in the face of extreme poverty, institutional paralysis, and monumental policy challenges that currently face the developing and underdeveloped world.


The aim of the dissecting the two broad topics is to show how education varies with the growth and development of an economy. The purpose of this in-depth analysis is to highlight the fact that development in basic education is necessary for those economies who want to grow and develop via development of humans.

The analysis of education and economy shows that for developing countries, investment in basic education and technology achievement are the driving forces for the improvement of human development. For industrialized countries the main emphasis must be put on the improvement of the knowledge base.

The table below gives detailed figures of the type of educational institutes functioning in Pakistan (public and private) and their enrollment and staff figures.

table 2.jpg

For a population of 170 million the above enrollment figures and number of technical institutes are opposing figures. The almost identical relations of the normalized GDP per capita and the education performance as revealed by researches show that mathematical and science literacy are the most important contributions. The education in science therefore is a mandatory prerequisite for sustainable economic performance of a country.

Mincerian Wage Equation:

When estimating the Mincerian Wage Equation "illiterate" is taken as the reference category for education levels. Similarly, for the sectoral analysis, agriculture is selected as the reference sector. This selection enables us to use wage of the illiterate agrarian worker as the numeraire when computing the relative wage rates.

table one-1.jpg

The above results are in line with the human capital theory.

Province-wise Estimates of Relative Productivity

The following table provides a Province-wise Estimates of Relative Productivity for the period 1990-91. It shows that the level of education is directly proportional to relative productivity of each province. Which means the higher the level of education is a specific province; the higher is the level of production in that province.

Level of Education Agriculture Manufacturing Other Sectors


No Schooling 1.4 1.9 1.7

Primary 1.7 2.2 2.0

Middle 1.9 2.5 2.3

Matric 2.2 2.9 2.7

Intermediate 2.8 3.6 3.3

Graduate 3.6 4.7 4.3

Post Graduate 4.7 6.2 5.6

Professional 4.6 6.0 5.5


No Schooling 1.6 2.1 1.8

Primary 1.7 2.3 1.9

Middle 2.0 2.7 2.3

Matric 2.1 2.8 2.4

Intermediate 2.4 3.2 2.7

Graduate 3.1 4.1 3.5

Post Graduate 4.0 5.3 4.5

Professional 4.5 6.0 5.1


No Schooling 1.4 1.6 1.5

Primary 1.6 1.8 1.7

Middle 1.9 2.2 2.1

Matric 2.1 2.4 2.3

Intermediate 2.3 2.6 2.5

Graduate 2.9 3.2 3.1

Post Graduate 4.3 4.9 4.6

Professional 4.2 4.7 4.5


No Schooling 1.7 1.8 1.9

Primary 2.0 2.1 2.1

Middle 2.0 2.1 2.2

Matric 2.2 2.3 2.3

Intermediate 2.5 2.7 2.7

Graduate 3.4 3.6 3.6

Post Graduate 4.1 4.3 4.3

Professional 4.5 4.7 4.7

Note: Estimates are only for age group 25-29 years.

The above figures highlight the difference in education the agricultural, manufacturing and other sectors of the economy. The differences are highlighted by categorizing the figures under provincial basis.

For all the provinces, the percentage of educated people in the manufacturing sector is more than the percentage of educated people in the agricultural sector. However, the difference is minimal. Some of the figures for the Graduates and Professionals are in excess for the provinces of Punjab and Sindh as compared to the province of NWFP and Baluchistan.

However, all figures highlight the fact that the level of education all over Pakistan is generally low.


The key to establishing a solid academic setup in Pakistan is analyzing, break down of basic educational structure into groups and phases and implementation.

For this the first step would be to have realistic on ground data analysis, the National Education Census is a step towards the right direction in this aspect. But it does not give a solution to the problem. For this purpose the researcher proposes that education be divided into four main strata: basic education (primary level), secondary education, college education and upper level education (research departments, PHD level) and then aiming at specific percentages in each group. The cumulative of course is an aim at 100% literacy rate in Pakistan for a better equipped populace for economic growth.

For this a socio economic overhaul is required and a participatory approach. Private sector education at present is the backbone of the basic educational structure in Pakistan and needs to be incorporated in the government plan for this aim. The failure of the public sector schools and the void thus created should be filled out by analyzing successful school chains present in Pakistan and employing them to collaborate with the government and establishing schools with a comprehensive curriculum.

Furthermore vocational training post primary education on the basis of the German academic model, which gives an option to the students to either opt for vocational training or college education would be a step forward in training a competent work force.

Adult education projects should be initiated.

The public- private sector divide is also due to difference in medium of instruction, and the inability of students from the public sector to cope with higher education which is mostly in English. Medium of instruction needs to be homogenized, and this can be achieved by re-evaluating the present curriculum. For this the researcher proposes the following four phase agenda over a span of ten years to achieve 100% literacy in Pakistan. untitled.bmp

Phase I: Critical Review and Research Plan:

It is imperative as mentioned before to review the negatives of the existing policy, which is vastly unachievable due to its over ambitious nature. Therefore it is required that the plan should be laid out and broken down into phases. The first phase is research plan and aims at basic education. Reanalyze needs and priorities.

Phase II: Reconstruction, Rehabilitation of Existing institutes, Policy Amendments and Awareness Campaigns:

This phase requires monetary input, with the present allocation of funds; rehabilitation and reconstruction process is slowed down. United Nations has been in the past playing a vital role in funding education in Pakistan, this should be put to proper use. And as mentioned before a private-public school board should be established to over look this phase. A mass awareness campaign and importance of literacy in rural areas needs to be carried out. Education should be made mandatory, but at this phase punishment for not sending children to school cannot be implemented as is the case in many developed nations. Therefore incentives in the form of jobs should be introduced. And minimum matric requirement for all civil services jobs should be enforced.

Phase III: District Political Involvement and Setting up of Supervision Channels

Once the basic foundations are laid out, a proper supervision channel should be established. For this district level political involvement partnered with the private sector can ensure a steady growth.

Phase IV: Revaluating, target achievement reports and ongoing progress:

In this phase progress reports should be scrutinized for where the growth deficits exist, and mandatory school enrollment for all students should be enforced by law. A ten year period indicates that if the plan is implemented properly there will be need for secondary and higher secondary institutes; this should begin towards the close of phase III and by the mid of phase IV implementation on the reconstruction of college level institutes should begin.

Vocational Training:

At present 66% of our population is of youngsters, this human resource can be capitalized upon only by equipping them with proper education. This workforce at present is for the large part untrained. Polytechnic centers and vocational training institutes should be incorporated in the above plan as a separate project.

Madrassah Reforms:

Where the private sector is being inducted into the system a parallel system should be established to incorporate madrassah's into the educational framework of Pakistan. Their role cannot be undermined and for this purpose a revised mandatory curriculum for these institutes should be introduced, where they are required to provide students with skill training alongside Quranic education. And once the educational system is established the impact and need for madrassah's will automatically be re-evaluated.


"Education is not just an equal partner, it is the underlying firmament that makes good governance, a fair and open judicial system, and technological development possible…It is not a commodity. It is not simply about gathering and learning facts..... It is a fundamental pillar of the civilized society. It offers a depth and breadth of vision that we are not automatically born with. It challenges, and it rewards." -- Olwyn Enright TD, Fine Gael Spokesperson on Education and Science, McGill (2003)

Education in Pakistan is a crucial issue, there has been an increase in the literacy rate over the decades, but the increase is unsteady and is uneven across the population and is mainly centered on urban centers. Pakistan's economy in the present fiscal year is bordering on bankruptcy, and if the human capital of our state is not mobilized and motivated soon there will be a dearth of skilled labor and an eventual standstill of technological advancement. In the present world, which is linked together via vast knowledge sphere any nation which lags behind is unlinked and left behind. The role of education cannot be undermined and to compete with the world it is a prerequisite.

At present the Pakistani educational system is bifurcated and fragmented, the system needs to be unified and homogenized.

Education can vitally contribute to the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals. While two of the goals pertain directly to education, education also helps to reduce poverty, promote gender equality, lower child mortality rates, protect against HIV/AIDS, reduce fertility rates, and enhance environmental awareness.

Countries with higher primary schooling and a smaller gap between rates of boys' and girls' schooling tend to enjoy greater democracy. Democratic political institutions (such as power-sharing and clean elections) are more likely to exist in countries with higher literacy rates and education levels.

In conclusion, education is indispensable to economic development. No economic development is possible without good education. A balanced education system promotes not only economic development, but productivity, and generates individual income per capita. Its influence is noticeable at the micro level of an individual family and at a macro level as state economy growth.

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