Education System in Pakistan: Lessons Learned and the Way Forward.

Pervez Tahir, Nadia Saleem

Abstract


After six decades of its existence, Pakistan finds itself in
an educational quagmire. There is not much to show in terms of national,
provincial and local indicators of a standard variety. At the
international level, the country has earned the notoriety of being
regularly lower down on all known indices and league tables on human
development, competitiveness and governance. Neglect of education lies
at the heart of the problem. This is surprising because the thinking on
the nature of the educational system required for the newly emerging
country had started quite early. An All Pakistan Educational Conference
was held on November 27, 1947 in Karachi. Education thus was the subject
of the very first professional conference held in the country, bringing
together all the stakeholders. The Father of the Nation set the
guidelines in his detailed message: “Under foreign rule for over a
century, in the very nature of things, I regret, sufficient attention
has not been paid to the education of our people, and if we are to make
any real, speedy and substantial progress, we must earnestly tackle this
question and bring our educational policy and programme on the lines
suited to the genius of our people, consonant with our history and
culture and having regard to the modern conditions and vast developments
that have taken place all over the world” [Tahir (1980), p.39].
Throughout his political career, Jinnah championed the cause of
education. A number of critical issues which continue to bedevil the
educational planners of Pakistan to this day, were identified by him
long before the freedom struggle for Pakistan came to fruition. These
include compulsory elementary education, nonelitist education, technical
and vocational education for school leavers, merit-based higher
education, equal opportunities for women, and adequate resourcing [Tahir
(2002)]. The order of national priorities for him was education,
economic development and then defence. The record of performance since
independence shows a reversal of these priorities [Tahir (2008)]. Far
from the welfare state envisaged by him, Pakistan has become an
incorrigible security state. There are thus many lessons that have not
been learned. This paper has space to focus only a few.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.30541/v48i4IIpp.595-602

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