Educational emergency

Published: March 8, 2011
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One out of every 10 children of school-going age in the world who are not in school are in Pakistan. PHOTO: FAYYAZ AHMED

One out of every 10 children of school-going age in the world who are not in school are in Pakistan. PHOTO: FAYYAZ AHMED

The state of crisis of education in Pakistan is well established. Survey after survey has highlighted the terrible state of public sector schools, the poor design of curriculums and the poor output of teachers. With a literacy rate of just 51 per cent, Pakistan has also slipped lower and lower on the list of countries ranked according to their attainments in education.

A shocking new report by the Pakistan Education Task Force, a body set up in 2009 by the federal government to offer recommendations on how to implement education policies, brings home the true scale of the emergency we face and its consequences for the future of the country. It states that despite the right given to education for all by the Constitution of Pakistan, this target will not be attained during the lifetime of anyone alive today. Balochistan, at the present rate of a growth in literacy, will not attain this target till 2100. The cost of not educating people is the equivalent of one flood every year and one out of every 10 children of school-going age in the world who are not in school are in Pakistan.

The study is an important wake-up call. While the emergency seems almost insurmountable judging by the figures, it has also been stated that it can quite easily be overcome by increasing the education budget by 50 per cent. We need to declare that education is our foremost priority. This would be the logical follow-up to the good work done by the government in setting up a task force with many experts on board dedicated to exposing the truth. Beyond all matters of security, beyond the question of national defence on which we spend so much money, it is this that will determine what kind of future awaits Pakistan and what it will bring for the people of the country, who could gain so much if a place in the classroom was ensured for every child, regardless of gender, ethnic group or geographical location.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 9th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (5)

  • Bambbaayyaa
    Mar 8, 2011 - 10:07PM

    This is the conspiracy of CIA RAW and MOSSSAD…. and not of Pakistani Army and Politicians …Recommend

  • Mar 8, 2011 - 10:27PM

    Couldnt agree more! The social benefits of providing basic and primary education are massive. The gains to society are well established, though the institutional will is not present. Our nations elite have little at stake in state provision of education, and are so far removed from it that they fail to understand the problems and challenges it faces. How many ministers, politicians, bureaucrats, generals, who hold power and importantly sign the cheques, apart from gracing the schools presence at yearly award ceremonies, have children in public schools?

    Then again, women and certain segments of society are at a disadvantage where misogynistic world view, and a feudal culture discoruges access to education. Ironically its education itself that is a solution to such challenges. Our salvation is in investing in our children today, right now! there is no two ways about it!Recommend

  • ghulam-e-mustafa
    Mar 9, 2011 - 11:15AM

    shut down the dens of bigotry & misogyny:madrassas.

    The children coming out of these madrassas are like a cancer spreading through the country killing of any sane,rational cells to be found in the country.

    These children are fed a steady diet of homophobia,the suppression of women,hate of anyone nonmuslim.

    They are not taught how to think,only to rattafy religious texts in arabic( a foreign language).Recommend

  • Ravi
    Mar 9, 2011 - 4:14PM

    good to see that pakistan has started to acknowledge its real problems.Recommend

  • Pan Mat
    Mar 9, 2011 - 7:47PM

    Another rock solid evidence of mysterious foreign hand that is out to destabilize Pakistan. A better alternative will be to let COAS and ISI heads chalk out a counter strategy by spending some portion of existing education budget on more weapons.

    Zaid Hamid will agree that eating grass is better than not having “honor”.Recommend

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