Diogenes Laertius once said “the foundation of every state is education of its youth”
Education is the process of learning and knowing. Pakistan being a developing country with exponentially growing population is facing many socio-economic problems. But the basic of them is illiteracy. Education is considered as the cheapest defense of a nation. But the poor and nearly devastating condition of education in Pakistan witnesses the inability of the country to defend the cheapest defense of its own. The country is facing many problems in the education system since its independence. For example shortage of schools, shortage of faculties, lack of proper planning, lack of technical education, politicized faculty hiring process, poor infrastructure, poor quality of books and other accessories, poverty, lack of access, lack of funds, gender gap and poor governance etc. These all problems and many more add to the poor literacy rate in Pakistan. But the good thing is that every problem has a solution and seeking and focusing on the solutions can bring change and can overcome the problems.
Solutions to a better education system in Pakistan are that the government should declare education emergency in the country in its true sense. As female education is low in almost every province of the country mainly because parents demands for a separate school for their daughter so separate schools should be made in such areas or other solution to it can be that evening shifts should be arranged for the girls in the same schools where boys studied in the morning or the other way round. The problem of shortage of school is also there so the government has to invest in the infrastructure sector too because I believe that a good infrastructure helps in attracting the students and in creating a good environment for learning. There should be a proper plan and a depoliticized process for the selection of eligible faculty in the schools. Corruption and bribery in this regard should be put down with an iron hand. The focus should be on technical education too and that is most important. Looking at the scenario of the modern world and the growing population it is difficult or almost impossible to provide government jobs to the graduated youth every year so there should be a system for the technical education and different programs for attracting youth to entrepreneurship this will result in decreasing the poverty in the country and so the barrier to literacy of many children can be overcome. Funds should be increased for education in the country. Schools should be made near to the population so access can be made easy this way and according to the constitution of Pakistan. Peaceful environment should be ensured to the citizens. Free and quality education should be providing to the citizens. Through awareness campaigns seminars the gender discrimination can be overcome and it can help in a growing literacy rate as the gender gap is also a problem in attaining high literacy rate. Other solutions to the better education system in Pakistan are to encourage the private sector too to provide quality and low cost education. A proper check and balance should be carried for all private and public schools and the international systems of studying and learning should be introduced. Scholarship should be introduced or prevailing scholarship should be increased to attract the children and their parents to admit their child’s especially girls child in schools. Concealing of parents is required so that they can choose a career for their child and career counseling of the pupils in schools. But as we know that it’s not only the responsibility of the government the private sector too has to add to the reforms. Public-private participation and a mix of formal as well as non-formal education can pullout majority of country’s population from illiteracy. Similarly, to make the youth of the country an asset, attention should also be paid to vocational and technical training.
Our government spends less than 3% on the education sector. Already an insufficient value for catering to the needs of a considerably large population, it is further misappropriated. According to a compilation of the World Literacy Foundation, more than 796 million people in the world cannot read and write, about 67 million children do not have access to primary school education and another 72 million miss out on secondary school education. Pakistan’s situation is even more unfortunate as it is estimated that 26% of the countries that are poorer than Pakistan, send a larger proportion of their children to schools. The main finding of the report further states that putting an economic value on the cost of illiteracy, it is estimated at $1.2 trillion to the global economy. Hence, this problem is not confined to the developing world.
Why is education so crucial to saving our economy? Literacy is the fundamental building block of education and as vaccine is a prevention measure for a disease, literacy works in the same way for preventing the spread of corruption, hunger, poverty, crime, poor health conditions and unemployment among other socio-economic problems. Education is an essential tool for breaking the rigid and harsh social cycles of poverty.
In Pakistan, the quality of education is as big a problem as lack of access to education starting from the primary level. Even if the net enrollment rate of children attending a primary school is 63%, half of them drop out due to several reasons and those who continue are also getting a substandard experience because of inadequate education facilities, lack of trained teachers, and a standard medium of instruction in all regions, outdated curriculum and absence of a standard assessment tool. Another worrisome issue is that textbooks and the way things are taught encourage rote learning and promote ideologies of certain powerful groups of the country instead of stimulating creativity and critical thinking.
Additionally, when we talk about gender inequality and discrimination faced by women at all levels, we are always lead to the question: how does one break through the rigid norms? This is again a problem that stems from the lack of access to education and poor quality education. Firstly, female enrolment is only 43.6% of the total enrollment which is significantly less than the male enrolment. Secondly, gender roles for men and women are enforced through education and the curriculum also promotes patriarchal ideologies to a great extent. Both these factors mutually contribute to the social problems that result from gender discrimination in our society. Hence, it is crucial for the progress of Pakistan as a nation that girls are provided with an equal access to education.
Pakistan needs an extensive educational reform which must begin with a policy reform that tackles the chronic under-investment in the education sector. Adding to that, the government and the private sector must work as partners to provide quality education especially primary education to all the school going citizens. It is a long-term process which requires effort from each one of us as individuals too, to work towards a quality education system along with providing the youth with hope, our undivided attention, and unwavering belief in their potential. Education is not only crucial for mitigating the socio-economic issues, it is important for psychological reasons too as it helps to make you feel worthwhile, gives a boost to morale and builds confidence and perseverance.