Sustainable Development And The Education Sector In Pakistan Education Essay

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Over the past few years, "Sustainable Development" (SD) has appeared as the latest development catchphrase. A wide range of nongovernmental as well as governmental organizations have embraced it as the new paradigm of development (Lélé, 1991). Sustainable development is a vision of future that provides us with a road map and helps to focus our attention on a set of values and ethical principles by which we can guide our actions, as an individual, and in relation to the institutional structure.

Pakistan as being a developing country based very much on its education sector for its sustainable development. Pakistan's education sector was previously neglected by the government official and public institutes were not given much preference in order to provide quality education. Since the beginning of this century a lot of efforts have been made for the improvement and enhancement of the higher education level. Universities like Lahore University of Management Sciences, University of Management and Technology, Superior University and a lot more universities with high standards of education providing batter education environment started contributing a lot; with the support of government; towards the sustainable development of the nation.

This report based upon the literature review and analysis of education sector of Pakistan from different perspectives for the sustainable future.

At the end of the report conclusion to the whole study has been made comprising to the crust of whole study.

Executive Summary

"This provide an overview about the whole report. Whole study surrounded to the main discussion point about Sustainability and what role education sector is playing for a nation and to narrow down the study we discussed the Education Sector of Pakistan"

This report provides an overview about the reviewed literature and theories about the Sustainability and education sector of Pakistan in particular the higher education; in order to put some light over the effects of education sector for the sustainable future.

What have been learned and observed from this literature review and by going through several case studies is that; the terminology of sustainable development is not a new concept for developing countries as they are looking forward for a sustainable future leading towards the development and developing countries sustainability is in one way or another supported by the education sector. Different organizations using the latest technique of value co-creation; being adopting service dominant logic; and being more socially responsible towards their social responsibilities i.e. education, environment, economic, society and stakeholders …etc.; to ensure long term sustainability in the future and development of the nation by supporting the education sector from the societal point of view.

This report begins with defining the concept of Sustainability from different given definitions and give highlights about education sector of Pakistan; later it provides the background about the research question extracted from the studies of various researchers. In the third section of the report it provides the summarized literature review in connection to the research question. At the end evaluation and findings leading to the conclusion of this study.

Chapter 1 Introduction

"This chapter provides the purpose of our study and illustrates our methodology and way of conducting this research and it also gives a brief introduction about the study of education sector of Pakistan and the concept of sustainability and CSR"

Sustainable development is a vision of future that provides us with a road map and helps to focus our attention on a set of values and ethical principles by which we can guide our actions, as an individual, and in relation to the institutional structure.

Adila Shafqat (2010) Department of Geography, The Islamia University Bahawalpur, Pakistan, recently did a research on the role of NGO's in sustain able development and explained the various aspects of sustainability according to her it is a community's control of capital; in all of its forms-natural, human, human-created social, and cultural life. It ensures that present and future generation can attain a high degree of economic security and achieve democracy while maintaining the integrity of the ecological systems upon which all life and production depend.

In this paper we will try to discuss about the sustainability of a nation by uplifting the standards and bringing reforms in education sector. We focus on study about Pakistan's education sector especially the higher education level and the factors involved in its sustainable future.

Aim & Research Question

The main aim of this report is to give a brief description about the education sector of Pakistan in particular to see what roles it is performing in the sustainable future of Pakistan.

To reach the aim following question is considered for the research:

"What is the role of education for Pakistan's sustainable future?"

Limitation & Layout

We have chosen qualitative research method for this report. Our research is limited to the theoretical and literature review due to the limited time frame. We have tried to accommodate as much findings as we can in the given time frame and summarized our findings and analysis. Our report consists of five main chapters:

Chapter 1: Introduction

Chapter 2: Background

Chapter 3: Literature Review & Study

Chapter 4: Evaluation & Findings

Chapter 5: Conclusion

Scope of study

This study describes the concept of the sustainability by improving the education level to attain a successful sustainable future of a nation (in case of this study it's Pakistan). And studied the literature and previously done case studies about the research question. The study has been narrowed down to focusing and discussing the education reforms and higher education aspects.

Higher Education Sector of Pakistan

After two decades of severe negligence, the higher education sector in Pakistan has, in recent years, undergone a rebirth. The situation began to reverse itself in the early 2000s, with the government showing a clear commitment to improving higher education.

Importance of higher education cannot be neglected by any country but only if it is at its peril. The government of Pakistan has therefore set up the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan (HEC) in 2002 in order to restoration the higher education system in Pakistan.

The Higher Education Commission of Pakistan has been assigned the job of facilitating the development of the quality of education of Universities and Colleges in Pakistan so that the youth of the country can become agents of bringing about socio-economic changes in the country. The commission would be primarily accountable for evaluating, supporting and cultivating the higher education sector in Pakistan.

"In Pakistan higher education means the education being persuaded after the completion of Intermediate level (12th Standard). The Education Census of Pakistan, 2005 has stated that there are total 1,882 colleges out of which 1025 are in the public and 857 are in the private sector; furthermore there are 114 Universities in Pakistan including 49 general Universities, other technical/ professional Universities of both public and private sector." (NEC 2005)


Following statement from the World Conservation Strategy (IUCN/WWF/UNEP, 1980) appears to be the first actual attempt to define sustainable development: "For development to be Sustainable, it must take account of social and ecological factors, as well as economic ones; of the living and non-living resource base; and of the long-term as well as the short-term advantages and disadvantages of alternative actions." (Shafqat 2010)

According to Caring for Earth (IUCN/WWF/UNEP) 1991 "improving the Quality of human living with in the carrying capacity of ecosystem is called as sustainable development."

Education For Sustainable Development

M. Sabir Michael (2008) in his paper about the role of universities in sustainable development with special focus on Pakistan illustrated that In accordance with UNESCO's definition; 'Objective of the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2014, DESD), aims to incorporate the various sets of values, principles, and goals for the purpose of learning and continuous growth'. The enlightening endeavor can promote alterations in attitude and perceptions. It can produce new sustainable opportunity regarding the ecological reliability, financial feasibility, and the creation of the ideal society.

Rio Summit declares that the purpose of education should be for the socio-economic betterment of the society on the whole. The 21st century has witnessed the technological changes, ushering a new era for the educational planners and practitioners. (Michael 2008)

Next Chapter will provide a bit background study of Pakistan's education sectors history, reforms and visualizing of a sustainable future.

Chapter 2 Background

"In last chapter a bit introduction is given. This chapter deals with that background to go more deep into the study"

This chapter reviews background of the education sector of Pakistan and the concept of Sustainability, and discusses the different theories which we come across during our literature review and given us the foundation to study further and give our findings.

Pakistans Education Sectors Background and Reforms

In March 2002 U.S. State Department Spokesperson Richard Boucher said:

"It is our desire to support the changes and reforms that President [Pervez] Musharraf has announced in terms of his moving Pakistan toward a more modern and moderate course where education plays a very key role. Most of the U.S. aid money that's going to Pakistan will be used to help with the education system…" (Dawn 2002)

This statement, coming just six months after the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001, reflected international concerns about the spread of religious extremism in Pakistan. The link between international terrorist organizations and the country's religious education system has come under intense scrutiny. (ICG 2002)

The failure of the public schools to absorb the millions of children who are forced to join the madrasas for lack of a better alternative is acknowledged both domestically and internationally. Upgrading the secular education sector is the most realistic way of resisting the unchecked and rapid expansion of Pakistan's religious seminaries. (ICG 2004)

Traditionally, Pakistan's education sector has been classified broadly into three parallel systems:

Public or government run schools,

Private schools,


Each of above sector has its own curriculum, teaching methods and examination processes. The state-run school system's inability to respond to the country's educational needs has benefited the madrasas and private schools in the same manner. The higher education system in Pakistan is made up of two main sectors:

The university/Degree Awarding Institutes (DAI) sector and

The affiliated Colleges sector.

At independence in 1947, Pakistan inherited an under-developed educational infrastructure from the British. Education was unevenly distributed, with rural areas almost deprived of access. The objective of the British system in colonial India was not mass education but to breed a class of civil servants, through mostly urban schools, who would serve as intermediaries between ruler and subject. The current makeup of Pakistan's education sector is fundamentally derived from that colonial system, with elitist English-language institutions such as military cadet and Christian mission schools catering to the privileged classes and vernacular, Urdu and Sindhi-language, schools, including madrasas, catering to the poorer classes. (ICG 2004)

Visualizing a Sustainable Future

Visualize a society in which all present and yet to come humans are healthy and have their basic needs met. What if every person had fair and equitable access to the Earth's resources, a suitable life, and distinguished cultural variety?

Think of future scientists, engineers, and business people crafting technology and economic activities that sustain rather than destroy the natural environment and enhance human health and well-being; along with a future where we design our technology inspired by biological models operating on renewable energy. Imagine a future where the concept of waste is eliminated because every waste product is a raw material or nutrient for another species or activity or returned into the cycles of nature. Imagine that we are managing human activities in a way that restores and increases the biological diversity and complexity of the ecosystems on which we all depend. By doing so, humans could live off nature's interest, not its capital, for generations to come. Imagine that all professionals understand their connections to the natural world and to other humans. What if people truly know where products and services come from, know where wastes go, and know the consequences to humans and other living species and how to minimize this ecological footprint (our impact on the Earth)? (Cortese 2003)

Most of the people would agree with these ideals. So how do we rapidly accelerate these ideas and create this future? We need a fundamental, transformative shift in thinking, values, and action by all of society's leaders and professionals, as well as the general population. And we can attain them by providing quality education and improving the standard of our education system.

To quote Albert Einstein, "The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we used when we created them" (Calaprice 2000)

Overall from the history perspective education was not that much considers and was overlooked by the government of Pakistan but in the recent past much more consideration has been given to the Education sector for the sustainable future of the country. Many of the factors in education involving in the sustainable development are highlighted in next chapter.

Chapter 3 Literature Review and Study

"This chapter gives our summarized overview of the literature review and provides the information from the crust of the research about the sustainable development of Pakistan through the betterments and reforms in education sector."

This chapter provides the detail of literature review about the importance of education for the sustainable future from the different perspectives focusing especially on the Higher education perspective.

The World Bank / UNESCO report on Higher Education in Developing Countries: Peril and Promise appropriately describes the economic importance of higher education to developing countries sustainability thus:

"The world economy is changing as knowledge supersedes physical capital as the source of present (and future) capital…. As knowledge come to be more important, so does higher education…. The quality of knowledge taught within higher education institutions, and its convenience to the wider economy, is becoming increasingly critical to national competitiveness…. This poses a serious challenge to the developing world…. Quite simply, many developing countries will need to work much harder just to maintain their position, let alone to catch up (p: 12)." (Peril and Promise, 2000)

Sustainable development demands a long-term perspective in our planning and action. It requires the equity among the individuals, people, countries, regions and generations. People must accept a more equitable distribution of resources. In Pakistan it is not accepted that easily because of out of control poverty.

Sustainable development often deals with all the areas of human activity and is vibrant to deal with the common property and access resources such as water, forest, air etc. the challenge is to consider the drawn-out individual interest to manage the resource sustainability. This can be achieved by developing a sense of ownership and attachment through social participation of community and involving other organizations and agencies in this task. (Shafqat 2010)

Education For Sustainable Development

"The kind of education we need begins with the recognition that the crisis of global ecology is first and foremost a crisis of values, ideas, perspectives, and knowledge, which makes it a crisis of education, not one in education." (Orr 1994)

There are several concepts of education for continuous growth and sustainable development of a nation and it also facilitates the masses expanding comprehension, standards and expertise to take part in different mechanisms, independently and jointly at local level or at the global level. (Michael 2008)

Institutions of Higher Education And Sustainable Development

As we all know the purpose of the higher educational institutions is to prepare the future managers, doctors, engineers, and social scientists to serve the people at larger level. As they have a responsibility of taking care of the society and surroundings along with getting rid of the all the hurdles in the way of sustainable socio-economic development. They are the ambassadors of the nation. They are the role models and the public is largely looking forward to these enlightened segments of society to overcome the current issues. They are the key to the sustainable and successful future of Pakistan.

Keeping this in view, it is obvious that the function of academic groups is very important to the achievement of any arrangement or course of action for sustainably developed society. Then again, it is furthermore widely recognized that there are still many hurdles in the communication between academia and society. Over and over again, academic institutions have been in conflict with their societies over their missions and responsibilities.

Direct inter personal communication is a good mode for education and awareness increasing. It has many forms, workshops, seminars, meetings, advertisement. This is costly but more active as well. Electronic and print media both share hands with NGOs and Organization in this context, this result in better execution and greater common learning.


Leadership has a serious sensible role to play in nurturing the transition to sustainable development, by directing institutions' strategic planning, organizing main capital programmes and leading the institutions' interactions with external stakeholders. Leadership also has a abstract role in deploying the vision of staff and students about sustainable development. As a result, it is enormously imperative that leaders have the skills to take decisions which are in agreement with this plan.

Partnership And Networking

The Kellogg Commission on the Future of State and Land-Grant Universities, in a report titled The Engaged Institution: Returning to Our Roots, urges university ties to reconfigure teaching, research, extension, and service activities and become "more sympathetically and productively involved with their communities" (Michael 2008). In the absence of a clear networking and partnership arrangement and strategies, efforts to create new relationships are likely to be out-of-focus and therefore less effective than they might otherwise be. Hence, academia's main objective in this matter should be to define the networking structure in a way that gives trend and determination to the engagement schedule. Following this, the academia should design a model of engagement and describe how it is related to the practice of community improvement.

Universities As The Centre Point Of Sustainable Development

It is imperative to recognize that selecting university as an appropriate leader for sustainable improvement cannot promise the triumph of the project exclusively. Another crucial issue in this matter is to have a resilient coordinator within university for sustainable development activities to direct the researches and execution activities of the other stakeholders.

With the intention of achieving such status, the need for having a strong controller and secretariat in each university to hold, systematize and harmonize sustainable development related issues seems imperative.

"I know most (people), including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious truth if it would be such as would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they have delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they have proudly taught others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabric of their lives." (Bridges 2001)

Going through all the above factor it is clear that how important the education sector is in the development of the nation. In Pakistan higher education commission and all the universities are doing their best and providing the nation good future leaders, managers, doctors, engineers, and social scientists for the Sustainable future of Pakistan.

Chapter 4 Evaluation and Findings

"This chapter contains our evaluation of the studied theories and reviewed literature. And provide a comprehensive detail about our findings about the research question."

Rise of sustainable development requires an official environment in which people are empowered. It also depends on the administrative will of the government and the capabilities of state and its people.

Sustainability calls for a long term integrity of human support, self-governing decision making, equity and wise use of public property resources (Shafqat 2010).

In Pakistan these are very difficult issues and awareness about them may not only be brought by print and electronic media only. Personal communication must be employed to create a supportive environment. Active participation of educated people to aware the ignored ones are very important.

Case study and common observation all refer to the central importance of higher education to sustainable development. The research reviled that the Higher education promotes the following factors:

Income growth

The higher education institutions are providing a lot of contribution to labor productivity, entrepreneurial energy, and quality of life; improves social movement; boosts political contribution; strengthens civil society; and encourages democratic governance by creating new knowledge and new dimensions of learning and growth. It also alleviating the poverty and bringing improvements in people's life and contributing a lot in the economic growth of the county.

Enlightened leaders

Higher education provides leaders the attributes of success e.g., confidence, flexibility, breadth of knowledge, and technical skills; needed to confront the political realities of the 21st century effectively and abruptly.

Expanding choices

Higher Education provides extensive development which is fundamentally concerned with broadening the choices people can make. Such as providing the individuals with various fields of studies and specialization as per their interest; to grow and bring perfection to the particular type of expertise.

Providing relevant skills

Higher education help in inventing, adopting, and operating modern technology in all sector by providing individuals relevant essential skills as per their profession.

These benefits not only benefit the society and individuals but also improvers to achieve the sustainable future for the nation.

Chapter 5 Conclusion

Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.

W. B. Yeats (1865 - 1939)

As it has been described theoretically and also through the experience, the institutions of higher education in Pakistan particularly the public universities seem to be less equipped with taking the leadership role in term of sustainable development and become the center point of coordination between different actors and members of the society (NGOs, individuals, private sector, etc.) in attaining sustainable development goals.

As universities and colleges in Pakistan thus organize themselves to lead the nation into a positive, beneficial engagement through a sustainable path with globalization, they must relate more closely with the society that is coping with globalization.

It's motivating and significant to notice that in a direction to regulate the universities with sustainable development standards, there is no need to change or revolute the whole existing education system. As the core of sustainable development is much incorporated and as many universities in Pakistan have yet to implement some fundamentals of sustainable development, a smooth conversion from the existing system to a system which takes up more of development standards seems to be a very practical and promising answer ahead of the universities in Pakistan. To make this changeover happen, one need a balanced and harmonious translation of the current system into a more comprehensible action plan. This changeover, adjustment and re-orientation need to be synchronized properly to have its maximum impression on the education system to have higher steps of sustainability.

The research finally concluded that education sector especially higher education is playing a key role in the development of sustainable future of a nation. In Pakistan the recent developments and achievement of higher education commission setting up and nurturing the roots of its sustainable future ahead.