PRIMARY EDUCATION IN PAKISTAN

S.KAMAL HAYDER KAZMI,
(feedback@pgeconomist.com)
Research Analyst
, PAGE
Apr
26 - May 2, 2010

Education is a vital investment for human and economic development and affected by the environment. Changes in technology, labour market patterns and global environment, all require policy responses. Traditions, culture and faith in a country also reflect in its education system. The element of continuity and change remains perpetual and it is up to the society to determine its pace and direction.

In Pakistan, the situation of the education sector is not very encouraging. The low enrolment rates at the primary level, wide disparities between regions and gender, lack of trained teachers, deficiency of proper teaching materials and teachers and poor physical infrastructure of schools indicate the poor performance of this sector.

PRIMARY SCHOOLS IN PAKISTAN (IN 000)

. NO. OF TEACHERS IN PRIMARY SCHOOLS NO. OF PRIMARY SCHOOLS
Years Total Total
2000-01 408.9 147.7
2001-02 413.9 149.1
2002-03 433.5 150.8
2003-04 432.2 155
2004-05 450.1 157.2
2005-06 444.0 157.5
2006-07 447.9 158.4

ENROLMENT

The pre-primary education is early childhood education (ECE), prep or kachi classes for children having age of 3-4 years. A decrease of 0.25 per cent in pre-primary enrolment (7.403 million) in 2007-08 over 2006-07 (7.423 million) was estimated and during 2008-09 it was increased to 1.2 per cent. 157,899 primary schools with 438,823 teachers were functional in the country in 2007.

The total strength of multi-grade schools in Pakistan is 2.6 million out of which 144724 are in the public sector. Total strength in these schools of students stands at 30.33 million children. Capacity for admission of primary schools is minimal.

BUDGETARY ALLOCATION

Federal government increased budgetary allocation for primary education sector by 8.6 per cent in 2008-09 as against 17 per cent in 2007-08. For 2007-08, an allocation of Rs6508.78 million was made in PSDP. However, the original allocation was reduced to Rs4384.94 million whereas actual release stood at Rs3877.06 million. In addition to this the government has also released Rs525 million, which brought total outlay to Rs4313.6 million for the FY08.

INFRASTRUCTURE

The quality of education is declining in Pakistan. It is realized that science education in particular which is waning needs to be improved urgently. There is an acute shortage of teachers. The schools generally are not doing well. Tracing causative factors responsible for the present state is essential. Defective curricula, poor quality of teachers, cheating in the examinations, and overcrowded classrooms are some of the factors.

PRIMARY EDUCATION (I-V) (IN 000)

YEAR TOTAL FEMALE
2000-01 14105 5559
2001-02 14560 5871
2002-03 15094 6132
2003-04 16207 6606
2004-05 17258 7219
2005-06 16834 7288
2006-07 17042 7416
2007-08 (p) 17233 7539
2008-09 17366 7623

Lack of facilities in government schools forces parents to send their children to private schools where they have to pay higher expenses, which inflict a heavy toll on the domestic budget of families while their children also do not get quality education. It has been estimated, that 45 per cent children leave the primary school without qualifying 5th class exam due to missing facilities at school.

EDUCATION IN EMERGENCIES

The schools have emerged the worst victim of deteriorating law and order situation in the country. Natural disasters have also played havoc with them. Physical structure of our schools is not shock proved to for example earthquake and school administration and the students are not prepared to meet such emergencies.

Although there were some provisions in the school curriculum and learning materials to address crisis and disaster management related issues but due to non-availability of proper mechanism the concepts could not be enforced appropriately. Pakistan's education system has now recognized the need for preparation of individuals and groups to grapple with the demands of emergencies through organised and effective responses.

Credible rehabilitation and disaster management plans need to be put in place to ensure early restoration of education service.

CONCLUSION

Primary education is a fundamental human right, provides foundation for further education. Being a developing country Pakistan needs to go a long way towards meeting the international standards of education and to groom the students to understand global environment and those who were literate must understand their roles as responsible citizens and participate effectively to increase the social capital of the country. Pakistan needs qualified engineers and effective managers, who could put in their best efforts to improve the technological and industrial outputs. The education to every citizen of the country is a gigantic task. The government should expedite its efforts to improve the literacy rate.