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It is widely acknowledged that education is amongst the single most important factor contributing to poverty alleviation. Education plays an overarching role and has a cross cutting impact on all aspects of human life. It is a vital investment for human and economic development. Unfortunately, Pakistan's standing on this front has historically been poor.
The National Education Census (NEC) of 2005/06 was the first education census conducted in the history of Pakistan that was specifically designed to collect information on all types of schools. It thus generated a complete and comprehensive picture of the current education system in the country, and provides a robust information baseline from which to measure future progress.
Through ensuring a complete listing of schools, it also assists other education data collection activities in the field.
Pakistan also has a National Education Management Information System (NEMIS) which collects education data annually. The system covers public education sector, but to date has not comprehensively covered private sector educational provision. Since some 31% of basic education students attend private schools, it is therefore important that up-to-date information be made available on this sub-sector, to ensure that policy development is based on knowledge of the entire education system not just the public sector alone.
The NEC provides a snapshot of current conditions in education (including in the private sector), but it does not show whether conditions are improving or deteriorating over time. In order to answer such questions, similar data has to be obtained on a regular basis on both public and private schools. This can be achieved in one of three ways: first, the current NEMIS can be expanded to include private schools in their annual survey. If this is not operationally feasible, an ad hoc survey of private schools could be implemented on a regular basis; or instead, a third option would be to repeat the NEC periodically.
If the last alternative were chosen, analysts and policy makers would be likely to require an interval between censuses of no more than four or five years, to ensure its usefulness to coincide with the national planning cycle. Therefore, a second NEC would have to be implemented by 2010/2011 to accurately describe the education system and to assess its progress towards meeting national goals.
A two-year planning cycle for such a census is therefore recommended, which means that work should begin now to set this in motion and to achieve such an objective.
However, the current NEC has certain basic deficiencies. For example, it does not collect information on the age of students, which is important for assessing student participation and monitoring change over time. Survey activities in the future should include such information.
A combination of the NEC and the NEMIS shows that over 36 million students were attending an educational institution in 2005/06. Just under, 50.0% of those students (17.8 million) were studying.
At the primary level, 20.9% (7.5 million) in pre-primary, 15.4% (5.6 million) in middle elementary, 6.9% (2.5 million) in secondary, 2.5% (.9 million) in higher secondary and 4.9% (1.8 million) at the postsecondary level.
It is clear that Pakistan is still a long way from achieving universal primary enrolment. As indicated, by the primary Net Enrolment Rate (NER)'s estimate of 62% , over 35% of the population 5 to 9 years of age is not in school Given a population of 5 to 9 years old of some 19.5 million, this means that about 7 million children aged 5 to 9 are out of the education system..
Provided by the Academy of Educational Planning & Management
Furthermore, under current conditions, the education system does not provide for a substantial percentage of students to move beyond the primary level. At present, the average enrolment per grade at the middle elementary level is less than one-half the average enrolment per grade at the primary level. This is considerably less than that of most other countries, and it is clear that the delivery system needs to significantly increase the proportion of students capable of studying beyond the primary level.
Pakistan has a Gross Enrolment Rate (GER) at the primary level of almost 80% - (when all primary enrolment is measured against the population 5 to 9 years of age). The difference of 80% between the Net Enrolment Rate (NER) of 62% and the GER is due to the number of primary students who are over 9 years of age or under 5 years of age. Given the number of repeaters in primary grades and the incidence of students beginning their primary school after age 5, it is likely that most of the difference is due to overage students. Numerically, this means that over 2.5 million students in primary school are over 9 years of age. Any reduction in this number, possibly by decreasing the repetition rate, may open up places in the primary system for some of children not currently in school.
Private education institutions enroll 31% of the students who are in basic education (pre-primary through higher secondary). In urban centers, private schools account for slightly more students (51%) than the public sector (49%). However, the situation is reversed in rural areas, where over 80% of students attend public schools. At the primary, middle elementary and secondary levels of education, almost one-third of all students attend private schools. Although most countries have less extensive private provision of basic education than in Pakistan, some experience higher percentages, such as the Netherlands and Lebanon, both of which have over 60% of their basic education provided by the private sector.
In Pakistan, there were 14 million girls studying in basic education in 2005, compared to 18.3 million boys. In other words, there were over 4 million more boys than girls in basic education, which results in a Gender Parity Index (GPI) of .76. This disparity in favour of boys was prevalent at all levels of basic education, with the exception of the higher secondary level, where there was parity between the sexes, producing a GPI of 1.0. In Pakistan, because there are more boys than girls in the relevant population, this represents a small disparity in favour of girls. This level of GPI at the higher secondary level shows that many more boys than girls discontinued their education after secondary school, with the result that their numbers matched those of the girls in the final level.
Vacant teaching posts and untrained teachers both affect the quality of education provided to
Pakistan's youth. In 2005/06, basic education had a vacancy rate of 6.5%, though the higher secondary level had the largest vacancy rate, with over 9% of the teaching positions remaining unfilled. Most teachers in the public school system had received professional training: (only 5% were untrained). However, by comparison, over half of the teachers in private schools had received no professional training.
Analysis of the NEC shows that many schools are in need of better facilities to improve the teaching environment. For example, 9% of primary schools do not have a blackboard, 24% do not have textbooks available for the children and 46% do not have desks for the students. Private primary schools are better equipped with desks and blackboards, but almost one-quarter of primary schools in both the public and private sectors do not have any textbooks. Only 36% of the public primary schools in the country have electricity, though the picture improves further up the educational ladder, with most middle elementary, secondary and higher secondary schools having access to electricity.
With public spending on education as a percentage of GDP amongst the lowest in the chosen sample, the outcome with regard to literacy levels is not surprising. While the literacy rate has improved gradually over a period, Pakistan's indicators on this front continue to rank at the bottom end of global rankings.
Literacy rate of Pakistan is gradually increasing but it is not up to the mark as compared with other countries.
According to the latest Pakistan Social and Living Standards Measurement (PSLM) Survey 2008â€09, the overall literacy rate (age 10 years and above) is 57% (69% for male and 45% for female) compared to 56% (69% for male and 44% for female) for 2007â€08. The data shows that literacy remains higher in urban areas (74%) than in rural areas (48%), and is more prevalent for men (69%) compared to women (45%). However, it is evident from the data that overall female literacy rate is rising over time, but progress is uneven across the provinces. When analyzed provincially, literacy rate in Punjab stood at (59 %). Sindh (59%), Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (50%) and Balochistan at (45%). The literacy rate of Sind and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has improved considerably during 2007â€08 to 2008â€09.
According to the data, the overall school attendance, as measured by the Net Enrolment Rate (NER), for 2008â€09 was 57% as compared to 55% in 2007â€08. All the provinces have shown an increasing trend, with Sindh recording the highest increase, followed by both Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as well as Balochistan.
Nationally, the Gross Enrolment Rate (GER), sometimes referred to as the participation rate, which is the number of children attending primary school (irrespective of age) divided by the number of children who ought to be attending, in case of both male and female saw no change and remained at 91% between 2007â€08 and 2008â€09. Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have shown noticeable increase in the respective period.
Economic Survey 2009â€10
The Poor quality of existing learning environment is evident from the fact that a large number of schools are missing basic infrastructure i.e. 37.7% schools up to elementary level are without boundary wall, 33.9% without drinking water facility, 37% without latrines and around 60% schools are without electricity. For higher accessibility of education particularly for girls in low income household and to enhance the enrolment, existing schools should be upgrade with the provision of necessary infrastructure to improve both output and quality of education.
Public Expenditure on Education as percentage to GDP is lowest in Pakistan as compared to other countries of the South Asian region. According to official data, Pakistan allocated 2.5% of GDP during 2006â€07, 2.47% in 2007â€08, 2.1% in 2008â€09 and 2.0 % in 2009â€10 which shows persistent declining trend (Figâ€10.1). According to UNESCO's EFA Global Monitoring Report 2009, the Public Sector expenditure on Education as percentage of GDP, in other countries of the region was 2.6% in Bangladesh, 3.2% in Nepal, 3.3% in India, 5.2% in Iran and 8.3% of GDP in Maldives.
The degree to which education systems rely on private education institutions (i.e., those controlled and managed by non-governmental organizations, such as a religious body, trade union or business enterprise) varies considerably from country to country. This ranges from systems where all education institutions are public (institutions controlled and managed by a public education authority or a government agency), to others where a combination of public and private institutions share the responsibility of teaching children. Where private providers play an important role in the education system, they may or may not receive public funding; and they may or may not be required to meet certain standards such as the provision of a set curriculum or the professional and academic training requirements for their teaching staff. Pakistan is an example of a country that has both public and private sector educational institutions, which has a larger proportion of its youth attending private institutions than in many other countries. As a result, it is important for Pakistan to obtain comprehensive data from both of these types of schools on a regular basis, to ensure that policy development is based on knowledge of the entire education system - not just for the public sector alone.
Private education institutions enroll 31% of students who are studying in basic education (preprimary through higher secondary). In urban centers, private schools account for more students (51%) than the public sector (49%). However, the situation is reversed in rural areas, where over 80% of students are attending public schools.
Education system of Pakistan needs a lot of improvement, in higher education as well as for all moods of education. Private, public, teachers training, facilities for schools funds for education all needs to be boost up. Gender inequality and deni madaris must not be overlooked.
1. Government of Pakistan, Ministry of Education, Academy of Education Planning and
Management, Statistics Division, Federal Bureau of Statistics, "National Education
Census 2005 Pakistan"
1.1 Ibid., "National Education Census 2005 Punjab"
1.2 Ibid., "National Education Census 2005 Sindh"
1.3 Ibid., "National Education Census 2005 NWFP"
1.4 Ibid., "National Education Census 2005 Balochistan"
1.5 Ibid., "National Education Census 2005 ICT"
1.6 Ibid., "National Education Census 2005 FATA"
1.7 Ibid., "National Education Census 2005 FANA"
1.8 Ibid., "National Education Census 2005 AJK"
1.9 Ibid., "National Education Census Highlights"
1.10 Ibid., "National Education Census District Education Reports"
1.11 Ibid., "National Education Census District Reports, Punjab"
1.12 Ibid., "National Education Census District Reports, AJK"
2. Government of Pakistan, Ministry of Education, "Financing of Secondary, Higher
Secondary and College Education"
3. Ministry of Education, Academy of Education Planning and Management, "Pakistan
Education Statistics, 2004-2005"
4. Shami, Shah, Ahmad, "National Education Core Indicators," Academy of Educational
Planning and Management, Islamabad.
5. Shami, Butt, Mushtaq, "EFA Indicators (NEC 2005-06) Draft," Academy of Education
Planning and Management.