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Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Quantity and Quality of Education in Pakistan

Prepared by Tayyaba Riaz
M.Phil (Education)
Iqra University


A number of attempts have been made to explain or define word “Education”. Influence of professions can be traced in the definition placed by the different professionals, for say:

                           According to Psychologists it is nourishment, growth and development of Intellectual, Emotional, Physical and Social. Few of them have considered cognition as a superior to be nurtured others have emphasized on behaviours to be developed and controlled through it. Beside that Economists have noticed it as source to generate human capital. At next Philosophy has considered it for self actualization and acquisition of logics of life and surroundings. On the other hand Sociologists have explained it as preservation plus reconstruction of society and growth of individual as a social animal.
                      Here we have to analyse the problems of “Quantity and Quality of Education “faced by Pakistan whom have celebrated her 66th birthday four months back. Pakistan have been witnessing a number of issues in this sphere right from its emergence or one can say that deprivation of Muslims from Education had been diagnosed in pre Pakistan Era and efforts were made to overcome the issue Alas! Areas where efforts were planted to benefit had not become the part of Pakistan geo graphically. Pakistan had sown the seeds through traditionally tested techniques without considering the demands of emerging environment of newly born state.
                     Second damage has been made by Economist thinking “spending less and wish to earn more from it”. Till now spending has not been increased in either single year. Commitments are there but realistic approach has been missing about the application. It is because of least participation of academic experts and administrators whom are on field. It has been purely a “topic” of few bureaucrats. Ground realities have been least studied for any change, most of the work is done on basis of speculations, trends in society or international phenomena. 
                   Government and Society are responsible factors; they are responsible for creating an issue and interestingly they are capable to solve them. Let’s analyse them accordingly:

                   Government is ultimately responsible for access and equity of education in the state. For a careful analysis it is important to study it in fraction of Quantity and Quality as well the interdependence of Quantity and Quality. This can be analysed under following headings.

1) Planners and Planning
2) Financers and Finance
3) Learners and Learning
4) Governors and Governments
5) Madrassah and Madrassahism 
6) Evaluators and Evaluation

1. Planners and Planning:
                               Among planners presence of academic experts and teachers planning is always suspicious. It has been considered purely an administrative issue and bureaucrats have been considered as only qualified figures to handle the issues and come up with answers to resolve matters of quantity and quality. This absence of academic experts, educationists, teachers and head teachers will question the authenticity of qualitative aspects of planning and all measures seem superficial. Second harm is done by relying on speculations about present needs and future trends rather than consulting the facts and figures as well delineation of temporary and lasting issues and their relative short term as well long term possible measures.

2. Financier  and Financials:

Financier for Education Department in the state are:

a. Federal Government
b. Provincial Government
c. District Government ( subject to availability)

Finance has always been scarce for education in annual spending of Government whether its Political or Militant, all have given verbal commitments rather than financial. From gained beans good proportion is required to entertain current expenditure and rest will be assigned for development. Malpractices are common or can say integral in both dimensions either expenditure or development.

i. Running expenditure: - Large portion is assigned in head of salary, pension and workshops.

ii. Physical resources: - 
                                                through malpractices, maintenance in documents will be made and regularly shown in current expenditure but things are different on ground. So, one should not wait for betterment in quality of possessed assets.  Secondly ghost school is not a new term in Pakistan so the school building are available in documents and finance have been drawn for their development  and more interestingly  maintenance budget will also be demanded for those buildings which aren’t actually existing and obviously these funds of development and finance for maintenance is a type of corruption. And an increase in number of schools on ground will remain a dream.

iii. Material Resources: - 
                                                It is another sphere to ruin government every year fake demands will be enlisted in current budget along with actual needs and most of the emphasis is on those goods which will decay on monthly and yearly basis. Hence, no one can catch the dust of such malpractices e.g. purchasing of chalk, ink, Laboratory stocks (chemicals etc) that will decay on daily or monthly bases then comes repair of blackboards, windows, doors, washrooms, classrooms and water tanks is always on demand and those things in actual never receive repair and all money will be in pockets of corruption promoters.

iv. Human Resources: -
                                       teacher’s employment rate is also distrustful because in remote areas just similar to ghost schools and purchase of material resources for them fact of ghost teachers is also present in our system where salaries are drawn regularly without any hesitation and second most important problem is of “real but ghost teachers” also. It is as much serious as “ghost teachers”. In fact they have been appointed for some far-off area but they are serving in cities and drawing their salary from those remote areas treasury offices and they all are political beneficiaries and no one can dare to stop these practices.

3. Learners and Learning: 

                                            It can be easily noticed in yearbook of 2010-11 about number of students across the board either it is Public, Private or Deeni Madaris. Quantitative aspect has been achieved by provincial boards. They have increased access but still lacking equity among provinces. On the other hand conquerors of quality are Independent and International boards along with Federal board. Still equity and access is out of reach of all four boards. Deeni Madaris had tried to fill the vacuum. Till now only 37% of school/educational facilities are located in rural areas & rest reside in urban location.
Enrolled population in Public schools has to face numerous difficulties such as: 
1. Managers are least concerned about quality of education and more about           visits of officials e.g. preparation for that day will ruin learning hours of            students because teachers remain busy in administrative help.

2. Political influence has laid to excessive absence of teachers from schools.

3. Terrible attitude of teachers towards students also results into high rate of          dropout (esp. boys).

4. Teachers are far more busy in completion of syllabus rather 
        concept building.

5. Non availability of material resources kept learners of public schools                 behind in better understanding.

6. Teacher training is missing that result into continuous practice of                        traditional techniques of teaching.

7. Stress on documentation has restricted managers and teachers from any              initiative on personal consideration and every thing have to take place through a long process usually named as “through proper channel”.
8. Pathetic conditions of physical resources has also restricted learners from “coming to school”
9. Non availability of textbooks on time is also an issue in case of “revised curriculum”. 
                                        In-case of vocational education public universities have least to offer and monopoly of private sector can be notice 70% of vocational institutions are in private sector. Mighty fee structure keeps a bulk of population away from skillfulness.

4. Governors and Governments: 

                   By the time five governors and governments are working parallel and all are striving to achieve quantity and quality at a time but facts are telling something in contrast. Such as provincial boards are just busy in maintaining physical appearances of resources and least concerned for which they have been built. 
                Then comes Federal board, it has maintained quantity and quality at a time. It has largest network on ground just after provincial board. Even a good amount of pupil tries to enter in this stream at grade 8 as well as at grade 11. Autonomous governing body has proved its worth and improving day by day. 
                Beside it International and Independent boards are also in cue of quality achievement. Quality has become their trademark but two serious issues came forward in result of expansion:

a. Affiliating a number of schools, meeting some criteria has produced a threat of quality maintenance which is their trademark

b. English as medium of instruction has two effects:

       i. Sweet : it has helped to continue education with better understanding in higher education.

       ii. Bitter : Firstly, note-worthy population of parents is illiterate in Pakistan whom have enrolled their kids in English medium. Secondly, English is not a native language in result: communication gap, need of tuitions as well language courses has been witnessed. Majority of population enrolled in these institutions are struggling for quality achievement.
                Over all consideration it has been witnessed those whom have received education in English has bright chances in employment opportunities. This stratification has brought a visible difference in living standards among individuals completing education from Public, Federal and Private boards.

5. Madrassah and Madrassahism: 

                  There are three types of Madrassah if divided on the basis of quality and location
a. Elite
b. Average
c. Below Average

Elite Madrassah are mostly located in urban areas and are enjoying: 
richness of syllabus, 
openness to foreign evaluation 
assurance of job opportunity

Average Madrassas are located in urban as well in rural areas. They are least concerned about quality of education and mostly students are teachers. Similarly job opportunities are in question.

Below average Madrassas are located in rural areas, dense in number as well in student enrollment of both i. Local, ii. International. They are working as a trust for poor population and as second home for nomads in KPK, Balochistan and Sindh. In addition high rate of orphans, foreigners and nomads facilitates militant activities to be devised easily to prepare force. Interestingly foreigners use to come for mental and physical training for gorilla war and other militancy operations. Sensitivity of majority population of Pakistan towards religion, it is always difficult to encounter such activities. These militant activities are mostly held remote highland areas of FATA especially which are difficult to be accessed.
                Most alarming thing is that out 24,000 only 78 Madrassas are funded by government rest reside on foreign funding as well agenda. Hence they are not willing to get regularized by any autonomous or government’s organization. Secondly visa of 97% foreigner students has been expired still they are staying uninquired. 

6. Evaluators and Evaluation: 
               Higher Education Commission and National Testing Service employed initially to set standards and evaluate against them. It will indirectly alert Parents, Students, Teachers and Institutions: to raise their performance (quality). 
              NTS: by the time giving feeling of Capitalism that pupil of privileged schooling and background are receiving foreign scholarship and opportunities to serve at leading positions, pupil of average schooling and background are getting local scholarships as well only service man opportunities and those receiving public schooling get single reply and that is “re-appear”.
As mentioned before:
Government and Society are responsible factors; they are responsible for creating an issue and interestingly they are capable to solve them. So, there are issues actually need concern of society at first, some of those major problems are:

Illiteracy: for high rate of illiteracy in Pakistan government alone is not responsible. Society is also a hurdle for say 

Most of the illiterate population is self employed and busy in earning through manual work, prefer to meet economical ends.

Requires incentives as they think if government is insisting for literacy there must be benefits for government. So, if they get engaged in literacy program they must be paid for it or get some return in concrete form.

At next, they wouldn’t find any need of it because of having literate offspring or siblings.
Gender Disparity: they wouldn’t find any need of girls education since division of labor in Pakistan among man and woman is quite clear women has to stay at home and look after her kingdom and man has to deal with the world.

Girl’s education in priority list is at last even in urban settings also where impressions of feudalism are not active.

Regional Disparity: educational facility: 79% in urban areas and 21% in rural areas not only expose government neglect in rural areas but also society’s participation to get educated. Some of the reasons of their least participation are:
                       • They are busy in self employed activities
                       • Nomads (Seasonal Migrants)
                       •        Prefer dependent family system

Prefer manual labour as it guarantees immediate earning either locally, nationally or internationally speaking.

Minimum educational standards: when the nation is facing access and equity problems then: How could we expect any minimum educational standard?

Measures taken to improve situation are following

For Good Governance  
                                              Better understanding of DDO’s about their responsibilities in handling finance
Academy of Educational Planning & Management (AEPAM), Islamabad.

Functions : 
                              Capacity Building of Education Managers who are mostly Heads of Teaching Institutions or DEOs, D.Os Education of provinces, ICT, AJK, FATA, Gilgit-Baltistan, Cantonment & Garrison, Compilation of Educational Statistics & Maintenance of a comprehensive Database through frequent interaction with provincial and district Educational MIS, Research on important themes of Education. 

Training Wing : 
                                   Training Division is responsible for capacity building of Education Managers, Planners, Administrators and Supervisors from all over the country. The geographical coverage includes Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT), the four Provinces, AJK, FATA, Gilgit- Baltistan and Cantonments. Long and short term training is generally of two types:- 

a. Under approved Development Projects & b. Tailored Programs 

Financial Management and Good Governance (FMGG) Project
Course Contents: Financial Management Concept, Audit rules and procedures, Maintenance of accounts, financial rules and regulations, General budgeting techniques & Purchase and procurement rules.

Educational Leadership and Institutional Management (ELIM)
Course Contents: Educational Planning and Management, Office and Personnel Management, Leadership Qualities, Involving community in educational process, Techniques of financial management & Computer Literacy.

National Educational Management Information System (NEMIS) Wing: 
                                                National Educational Management Information System (NEMIS) is housed in AEPAM for its professional activities. The main purpose of NEMIS is to consolidate and collect education statistics, maintain comprehensive national education database, set standards for quality improvement of education data and to provide technical support to the provincial/regional and district EMISs for enhancing their capacity to generate and maintain data. NEMIS also disseminates education data to different National and International Organizations and donor agencies for planning and decision making on annual basis as well as on demand and plays a coordination role in addressing crucial issues and problems in respect of compatibility of questionnaires, statistical terminologies, data requirement for development of core educational indicators, discrepancy and inconsistency in data, data reliability and validity, non-availability of data of private schools and timely availability of data.

For Literacy

1. Basic Education Community Achievements 
Achievements of Basic Education Community Schools during 2011-12 are summarized as follows: 
Province/Area wise detail of total number of BEC Schools and learner’s enrolment is as under: 

2. National Commission for Human Development (NCHD) and Pakistan Human Development Fund (PHDF) is a unique public private partnership model for social sector development in Pakistan.
NCHD seeks a literate and healthy nation, where government is empowered to provide basic education and health facilities to all. NCHD vision is to learn from the experiences of both public and private sectors at national and international level, identify best practices and use them for effecting improvements in the social sectors in Pakistan. 

a.. As the leading organization for Literacy in Pakistan, National Commission for Human Development is striving to empower the people at the grassroots to become the agents of social change. 
b. “NCHD mission is to support the government by filling the implementation gaps and improve public sector delivery mechanisms to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and “Education For All” with focus on: 

             • Achieve Universal Primary Education 
             • Adult Literacy 
             • Promote Gender Equality and empower women 

c. NCHD is deeply committed to promoting learning for all people-especially for the most vulnerable adults and children who are most difficult to reach. The basic strategy of NCHD is to introduce a process complimenting the ongoing efforts to achieve EFA and MDGs in Pakistan

For Quality improvement in Education and Employment
                                                                                                The Higher Education Commission will facilitate Institutions of Higher Learning to serve as Engines of Growth for the Socio-Economic Development of Pakistan. 2. Pakistan’s transition to a middle-income knowledge-based economy is critically dependent on the scale and performance of its tertiary education sector. Institutions of Higher Learning must play a leadership role in this transition through the production of skilled, innovative and enterprising workers. They must support research, especially on issues of direct relevance to the socio-economic development of the country and build the economy by pioneering the commercialization of innovative ideas, products and processes resulting from the research work 3. The Higher Education Commission’s Medium Term Development Framework (MTDF) 2011-2015 is representing a coherent strategy for higher education in Pakistan for the next five years in creating the knowledge capital and technology required to enable Pakistan to join the ranks of the industrially advanced countries within the next decade. Its “Vision 2030”, is the strategic framework for meeting the contemporary and future challenges through accumulation of knowledge and collective competence. The vision acknowledged the importance of globalization and dispersion of information and technology. It emphasizes the conversion of knowledge into a socio-economic enterprise. Future focus is on areas like (i) faculty development, (ii) quality improvement and (iii) maximizing opportunities for acquisition of quality higher education
Now HEC has made autonomous bodies for nearly all professions for quality assurance at grass-root level and they are listed below:

University Accreditation


List of Professional Councils authorized under charter to issue Diploma/Certificates   

  Pakistan College of Physicians and Surgeons
Institute of Chartered Accountants Pakistan
Institute of Cost & Management Accountants of Pakistan
  Pakistan Nursing Council     

List of Professional Regulatory Bodies   

  Pakistan Medical and Dental Council
  Unani, Ayurvedic & Homeopathic Practitioners
  Pakistan Pharmacy Council
  Pakistan Bar Council
  Pakistan Engineering Council
  Pakistan Council of Architects and Town Planners
  Pakistan Veterinary Medical Council  

Accreditation Councils established by the HEC  

  National Agriculture Accreditation Council
  National Business Education Accreditation Council
  National Computing Education Accreditation Council
  Accreditation Council for Teacher’s Education    

National Talent Pool  
                                 The National Talent Pool has been assigned the responsibility to perform specific assignments which are: - Data Collection of High Level Manpower in Pakistan, Transfer of knowledge, modern know-how, and cutting edge technology under the Program titled “President’s Program for Care of Highly Qualified Overseas Pakistanis (PPQP), Identify and mark key manpower occupations according to scarcity and relative importance for national development, Arrange for collection of basic personal data of talented persons and details regarding their professional attainments and work experience. 

Prepare computerized inventories of high level manpower of various disciplines for dissemination to user organizations both for public and private sectors including OEC to meet the demand of international labour market for employment abroad.
Eligibility Persons holding at least Masters degree (M.A / M.Sc.) in either of Physical, Natural, Social and Computer Sciences, Agriculture, Administrative Sciences, Education or Graduate in Medicine, Engineering or Chartered / Cost Accountancy and other miscellaneous subjects, are eligible for registration.

NAVTTC (National Skill Standard, Centre of Excellence, Training of Trainers, Research, Labour Market Information, Curriculum Development, E-Learning, Public & Private partnership.

                        At last, It can be said that government is desperate to achieve the goals but issues are numerous and complex hence it will take time to get better results at least things are on their way to improve the situation.