The Pakistani education system is very complex

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The Pakistani education system is a very complex and debatable topic. Its complexities begin at the layout. The layout was established in 1973 was told to be free and for all and around the country. However it has many stages, which are complex and difficult to follow through. Having a total of five schooling stages leading to University or Professional and Technical Education. There are a number of stages in the formal education system in Pakistan. It is a public system. Pre Primary Schooling, also a lot like Montessori and kindergarten. Then Primary Schooling comes which is up to grade five. Middle Schooling just like us goes from grades six to eight. Following High Schooling consisting of grades nine and ten only, however Higher Secondary Education is entry level of collage and a preparation for University or Professional and Technical Education. Religious extremist have established strong roots and are reaching out to its uneducated and vulnerable civilians, resulting in low literacy levels nationwide. And at the same time we see how education attainment is difficult for women nationally verse males considering the social structure and the patriarchal society Pakistan is.

Education is the accumulated knowledge learned or transmitted by any method of teaching. This concept of knowledge and education has helped many nations develop economically, militarily, and socially. Most developed nations have the highest standard of education, for which people travel all around the world to attain. It has always been understood that poverty has a direct link with education and is amongst the single most important factors contributing to poverty. Education plays a strong role and has a great impact on all aspects of human life. It is a vital investment for human and economic development and is an essential factor globally known to be the greatest investments. No doubt that one of the world's greatest economist A. W. Lewis once said that it is human capital that leads to a humans success. However, Pakistan has proven to be lacking this investment. Many methods of education are practiced however Pakistan is currently exercising mostly a public system. In 2009 the literacy level was at a total of 58%6. This paper will examine the education system in Pakistan and its link with other social factors. In doing so this paper will analyze the education system of Pakistan in historical context, and how it has evolved over the years to serve its people. The focus of this work will be limited to Pakistani citizens and its governments only. It is hoped that this paper will be able to provide people who were, are, or will be students a better understanding of the education and the system currently in Pakistan.

History of Country:

Pakistan emerged as an Islamic Republic state on August 14, 1947. It has an area of about 796,095 sq kilometer6. It neighbors regional powers such as India, China, and Iran. Pakistan comprises of four provinces: Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan and North West Frontier Province. Its capital city is in the heart of Punjab, known as Islamabad. It is a well-planned city, constructed in the 1960s6. Urdu is the national language of Pakistan, however many parts of the country account for native tongues. The medium/mode of education is Urdu however English continues to be used in higher education and professional colleges. English is particularly used in scientific and technical fields. English is commonly used for commercial, legal and other official business in the country. About 97 percent of the population is comprised of people who are Muslims, and follow the Islamic religion6. The constitution is Federal parliamentary.

History of Pakistan's Education System:

Around 1973 the civilian democratic government agreed on the constitution stating that the state shall9

(1) Islamic moral standards would be promoted;

(2) Backward areas would be given special consideration in promoting education in those regions

(3) Within minimum possible period provide free and compulsory secondary education and removal of illiteracy;

(4) On the basis of merit make professional education and technical training equally accessible to all;

(5) Enable the people of different areas, through education, training, agriculture and industrial development, and other methods to participate fully in all form of national activities including employment in the services of Pakistan

(6)Participation of women in all the spheres of national life must be ensured fully.

Pakistan has seen many different political parties coming in power and all have mentioned the constitutional goals, however they have stressed only on following key points:9

(1) Islamic ideology and character building;

(2) The universalization of primary education and promotion of literacy;

(3) Science education;

(4) Quality of education;

(5) Reduction in inequalities of educational facilities.

There are a number of levels of the formal education system in Pakistan. The first is pre primary schooling7. The age range is three years to five years, pre-primary education is definitely functional and is managed by public schools throughout the country. Locals also know pre-primary as Kachi. The National Education Action Plan Policy 1998-2010 has recognized the Kachi class as the early childhood education system7. The second stage of education is primary schooling. The age range is mostly five years to nine years and covers grades one to five. According to the Pakistani Integrated Household Survey (PIHS) 1998-99, the gross participation rate for primary schooling was 71 percent4. The third level is middle school. The age group covered in middle school is mostly ten to twelve years of age and grades six through eight. The participation rate at middle school was about 34 percent during 2000-200110. High Schooling is the last free education level in the public system. This level covers ages thirteen to fifteen and grades nine to ten. The Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education conducts the examination. A certificate is awarded upon completion of the tenth grade also known as Matric. The participation rate at high school was about 22 percent in 2000-20014. Along with formal education, vocational education is also offered. Providing training in specific trades leading to jobs in carpentry, masonry, and welding. Having 498 vocational institutions and about 88 thousand enrolled in 2000-20014. Higher Secondary Education may be achieved if one successfully clears the tenth grade. This is a part of college education also called the intermediate stage , during these two years of grades eleven to twelve a student at the age of sixteen years can consider to pursue general education, technical education or professional education.  The conduction of the examination and awards is done by The Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education (BISE) a Certificate of Higher Secondary School Education (HSSC) is distributed on completion1. After successful completion of the latter a student is eligible to attend a Higher Education level. Once here, students may obtain a four year degree or a Bachelor's degree in arts or science. The typical age at which a student begins this education is of nineteen or twenty years. For an honors degree an additional one year of study is required. On top of that a masters degree can be completed with additional two years of education and lastly a doctoral degree can be achieved with three more years, just similar to that in Canada or America4. Professional and Technical Education duration varies in technical and professional fields. A bachelor's degree in medicine (MBBS) requires five years of study after completing higher secondary school. Similarly, a bachelor's degree in either engineering or veterinary medicine requires a further four year's7. Furthermore, another education system is also available, known as the madrassa system. A madrassa is a dwelling that mainly educates a student in Islamic ways. A student at a madrassa would board as in a private school and learn Islamic teachings. Presently madrassa education is becoming very popular. These institutions have their own management system without interference from either the provincial or federal governments leading to low literacy levels3. However, grants-in-aid are provided to these institutions by the government. During 2000 there were 6761 religious institutions with an enrollment of 934,000, by 2008 the figures have almost doubled3. Pakistan's Madrassa Education Boards (PMEB) have been established to regulate madrassas activity, however many disagree with the credibility of the PMEB3.

 Lastly, studies show that there are millions of people in Pakistan who have no access to the formal education systems7. It has been a great challenge and almost been impossible for the government to provide a formal education system for the rapidly growing population of Pakistan.

Over the years Pakistan has come to be known as an impoverished state. The governing bodies have come and gone quicker than monsoon storms. Therefore a specific agenda has never really been created to fix the problem with the lack of education. If a student is willing to attend a private school they must pay top rupee, mostly not many Pakistani families can afford. Those who do go to public schools perceptively do not attain a quality education. The other alternative to public education is madrassa education. This education is free and mainly appeals to the poor families that wish for their children to receive an education and a safe place to grow up. Madrassas often can provide the security of guaranteed employment, unlike public schools9. Pakistan has around 12,000 madrassas as of 2008, which account for an estimated 1.7 to 1.9 million students9 About 15% of these madrassas are linked to the Taliban accounting for 300,000 students who are gaining an education with no real value, nonsense that will later lead to hate and bloodshed. The remaining 85% of the madrassas that are not knowingly linked to the Taliban or other terrorist organizations often gain funding from Gulf States3. Although it has never been proven, some experts believe that Saudi Arabia donates about $3 billion to $4 billion yearly for madrassa education. The reason why the Saudi government pours so much money into the madrassas in Pakistan is because in Saudi Arabia they practice a sect of Islam called Wahhabism. Wahhabism is looked down upon by both Sunnis and Shiites. This is a more radical and extreme form of Islam that calls for the purging of impurities in Islam. This sect is quickly spreading in Pakistan, namely in small villages is southern Punjab and in the province of Khyber3. The amount of money that the Saudis allocate for Pakistani Madrassas is far more than what the Pakistani government can seem to allocate for a similar amount of public institutions, as Pakistan also funds madrassas from the federal budget. Thus resulting in lavish facilities that are more welcoming to the poor. The school day for the public system is fairly similar to that of any other countries. A student wakes in the morning eats a breakfast at home, attends school, while at school eats at his/her own expense and later retreats home where once again the student eats. This is a very heavy burden for the poor Pakistani family that consists of 6.2 individuals 3. However at a madrassa a student resides at the facility much like a private school. He eats, bathes, rests at the expense of the madrassa, and for many the quality is better than that of their homes. Therefore not all students in Pakistan attend madrassas, but many seem to prefer madrassa education to public education, because of the incentives it offers8.

Moreover gender awareness issues have always been a concern for government of Pakistan; however the enrollment of women in the schooling system in Pakistan shows the greatest concern. Many factors contribute to this concern, such as extremist religious views and many cultural barriers. Women are seen mostly to be homemakers. It is culturally acceptable to wed a female as young as thirteen years age and send her off with her husband. Girls are seen mostly as a burden and it is believed in many strict Islamic areas such as Swat to not invest in them because it is believed that an investment in a daughter provides no return. So parents tend to think of it as a loss if they send them to school. It is not that they don't want to educate their daughters, its more cultural. The further you moved from the extremist controlled areas we see more of a progression in female education. We see that as time has gone by female enrollment has increased in schools but the enrollment in higher education is very consistent with that of around fifteen years ago. Zero to no progression has been made. According to the Pakistani Integrated Household Survey (PIHS) 1998-99, the gross participation rate was 71 percent in 1999, that is for primary schooling grades one to five and age five to nine years7. It also showed that collectively 80% male students enrolled and of the millions of females in the country only 61% enrolled. Further examining the data we can see that 92% of females living in urban areas enrolled whereas only 50% enrolled from rural areas1. According to the Pakistan Social & Living Standard Measurement Survey 2006 the GPI was 63% and in 2009 it was 65%, so more females have started to enroll in primary education1. At the middle school level the males stood at 36% and females at 33%5. In 1998-1999 at the High school level 24% were males and 20% were females5. In 2007 18 million students graduated at the higher secondary school level and of those 18 million 63% were females1. Another issue of concern is the male ratio in the teaching profession, since many families prefer female instructors for their female children2. The level of education is low since there are not many female instructors, many schools tend to hire under qualified instructors to teach female students. Due to low resources of female instructors many female students are forced to drop out of school especially in rural areas2.  Only 22% of girls have completed primary level schooling in rural areas of Pakistan as compared to 47% of boys. It is estimated that only 57% of girls and women can read and write in Pakistan10.

After reading this paper one can establish the many existing problems with the Pakistani education system. These problems range from a poorly developed education system to the constricted religious and cultural ideologies. The current education system has not changed over the years. It has mostly been the same and has been more convenient to the rich and the government rather than to those who are actually in need of it. It seems that the education system is more of a formality rather than an actually effective education system.  Students, who are unable to attain a meaning full education, are often swayed by religious fundamentalist to attain an education in religion over the sciences or international studies. A problem with the female education acceptance has been thought by the world to be has overcome. Unfortunately in Pakistan that is not the case. Rural areas view education as taboo for females, their reasons range from religion to culture. To overcome the education related problems Pakistan is presently facing, the government along with the people will have to change perspective on education vitality.  Without understanding the consequences of low education standards the country will fail to remove the label of a third world country


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Affiliation with The Aga Khan University, Institute for Educational Development, Karachi Pakistan has written in four different journals. Most recent coverage areas have been teaching and education. Publishing since 1996.

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In 2002 she received her PhD in demography from the University of Pennsylvania, still living in the united states. was a National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) postdoctoral fellow at the Population Studies Center, University of Michigan and a Berelson Fellow at the Population Council, New York

Cynthia B. Lloyd is a consulting senior associate with the Poverty, Gender, and Youth program at the Population Council. She has M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in economics from Columbia University. He expertise include transitions to adulthood, children's schooling, gender and population issues, and household and family demography in developing countries. Lloyd has worked on these issues extensively in many developing countries such as Ghana, Egypt, Kenya, Pakistan. Her recent research was concentrated on school quality in developing countries and the relationship between school quality, school attendance, and transitions to adulthood.

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will become an assistant professor in the Center for Peace and Security Studies (CPASS), within Georgetown University's Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service. has served as a senior political scientist with the RAND Corporation, a political officer to the United Nations Assistance Mission to Afghanistan in Kabul and as a senior research associate in USIP's Center for Conflict Analysis and Prevention. Her research focuses upon political and military affairs in South Asia. She has authored, co-authored and co-edited several books

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Dr. Douglas Lynd, Education Consultant, Canada. UNESCO 2007 in Pakistan Islamabad.

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Dr malik is in charge of a department in Islamic university in Islamabad, department of education.

Courtney K i was unable to find much on some other artist was showing up.

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Pir Mehr Ali Shah Arid Agriculture University Rawalpindi Pakistan and has publisted in many other journals. Hard to find more information because same name is used in Pakistan for a legendary singer.

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Has worked with the world back and unicef

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Education System in Pakistan:




Haleema Natiq


March 16 2011

[email protected]


Title page

Abstract 1

Introduction 2

Brief history of Pakistan 2-3

History of the education system 3-4

The education system currently active 4-6

Madrassa issue 6-8

Gender awareness 8-9

Conclusion 9-10