Nelson Mandela rightly said: “Education is the most important weapon that you can use to change the world.” Undoubtedly, education carries utmost importance because it is an engine of development, progress and prosperity for any nation.
It is the fact, many developed nations around the world have made their mark by the means of education. Countries like China, Japan, America and Russia have yielded greater benefits from educational environment through working on its quality. They have achieved sustainable socio-economic growth and progress. Besides, they are ahead from developing countries in every field ranging from economy to industry, technology to science, arts to culture, history to heritage and what not. This is mainly because they have prioritized this necessary tool more than anything else.
State of education in Pakistan
The soul reason of backwardness of developing countries including Pakistan lies in the negligence of educational sector. Despite being a harbinger of change, education in Pakistan is not receiving enough attention on government side. That is why educational system is largely unsatisfactory in our country. In fact, low Literacy rate coupled with dropouts, ghost teachers and dearth of basic amenities portray bleak picture of educational system.
According to Pakistan Educational Statistics 2015-16, “21 percent primary schools in the country are being run by a single teacher while 14 percent have one room. As regards to schools’ infrastructure, 40 percent public sector primary schools operate without electricity, 28 percent do not have toilets, 25 percent are without boundary walls and 29 percent have no access to drinking water. While 7 percent schools do not have any building and 43 percent have dilapidated buildings”.
Furthermore, low literacy rate in Pakistan has always remained constant. Pakistan has barley witnessed improved literacy rate or enhanced enrollment over couple of past years. According to Economic Survey 2017-18, “last year the literacy rate dropped by 2pc from 60 to 58 percent. This year it has remained same as 58 pc with no improvement”.
Pakistan’s literacy rate is abysmally low as compared to eye opening literacy rate of Asian countries. Keeping in view, Maldives overall literacy rate is 99 percent, Sri Lanka 93 percent, India 71 percent, Bhutan 65 percent, Nepal 64 percent and Bangladesh 62 percent. It is painful that Afghanistan is the only country after Pakistan having the lowest (38 percent) literacy rate.
Likewise, there is alarming rate of dropouts; around 23 million children are out of school. In addition, poor infrastructure, absenteeism, lack of basic facilities, poorly trained teachers and an insufficient budget for the sector are one of the root causes behind falling standards of educational system in Pakistan. No doubt, inadequate budget allocation is also significantly contributing towards its backwardness. In 2017 government allocated 2.3pc budget but in current financial year allocation stands 2.2pc only which is not enough.
Undeniably, outdated curriculum is also one of responsible factors for poor state of education. World has entered in the era of science and technology, modern innovation and advancement. Now a days, online and modern methods are applied around the world in educational institutions to teach students effectively. Their textbooks are far better.
These countries are equipping their children with quality education in the sophisticated manner. But unfortunately, the situation in Pakistan is totally disheartening. Yet, our academic institutions lack technical and technological tools. Even majority of schools and colleges in Pakistan don’t have laboratories, computer labs, research and innovation tools in this scientific, robotic and technological age.
The depressing fact is that old, stereotype and traditional ways of teaching are still deeply rooted in educational system. Children are educated under trees and open sky. In addition, text books that were taught years before- are still part of our curriculum.
Undoubtedly, education is the only means of moving forward. Progress and development of any nation entirely depends on this necessary tool. Education alone can help Pakistan address its grave issues such as poverty, unemployment and others.
Education is essential if we are to give birth to pluralistic, harmonious and prosperous Pakistan. Whereas, education is the driver of social and economic growth. As ‘father of nation’ Muhammad Ali Jinnah cited: Without education it complete darkness and with education it is light. Education is a matter of life.
It is high time for government to take immediate action to bring drastic improvement in literacy rate and structural changes in education especially by extending the budget allocations. State and relevant authorities also direly need to play their crucial role in providing every child with free and quality education to improve the sorry state of education in Pakistan. These millions of children deprived of this basic right can be brought back to school by ensuring their constitutional right that guarantees free and compulsory education for all children under the age of 06 to 16 years.
Furthermore, educational sector will improve unless teachers are equipped with necessary training and modern techniques of teaching. Thus, teachers should be trained through technical and vocational training. Commonly, our schools, colleges and universities have poor infrastructure and lack basic amenities like drinking water, toilets, furniture. Hence, along with Infrastructural development, the availability of missing facilities should be ensured.
Additionally, modern and online methods must be introduced for imparting students smoothly and effectively. Whereas, revival of curriculum will only bring unprecedented change in education system. Therefore, it should be revised and updated with latest and quality material. If these things are put into practice. In turn, sooner or later but surely they would promise the bright and prosperous future of Pakistan.
The writer is an undergraduate student studying Economics at University of Sindh, Jamshoro, Pakistan. Besides, he is an aspiring CSS candidate and writes letters and articles for various national newspapers and magazines regularly. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org