Bleak future: Pakistan placed in same league as Mali, Niger

Published: January 30, 2014
New study says Islamabad set to miss education goal fixed for 2015. PHOTO: FILE

New study says Islamabad set to miss education goal fixed for 2015. PHOTO: FILE


With a staggering 5.4 million children out-of-school, Pakistan is likely to miss the Education For All (EFA) target that was set to be achieved by 2015, according to EFA Global Monitoring Report released on Wednesday.

Projecting a grim future, the report states that if the country moved at current pace the adult literacy rate (15 and above) by the year 2015 will be 60 per cent of which female at 47 per cent and male 72 per cent. Besides, the adult illiteracy rate by 2015 also seems to be estimated at an appalling 51 million of which 65% will be females.

The report reveals that if Pakistan were to halve the inequality in access to education to the level of Vietnam, it would increase its economic growth by 1.7 percentage points.

Alarmingly, Pakistan is ‘very far’ from meeting the 2015 deadline and ranks among nations like Mali, Niger and Lesotho in the countries list away from achieving the education goal, the report further states.

Highlighting the dismal progress in education sector, the report states that around 59 per cent of women would remain disproportionately affected by illiteracy by 2015.

According to the report, in total, 37 countries are losing at least half the amount spent on primary education because children are not learning. By contrast, the report shows that ensuring equal, quality education for all can generate huge economic rewards, increasing a country’s gross domestic product per capita by 23 per cent over 40 years.

Commenting on the issue State Minister for Education, Trainings and Standards in Higher Education Balighur Rehman said that Pakistan would be unable to achieve the EFA goals within the deadline. However, the government was taking measures like National Plan of Action to include all the out-of-school children with special focus on girls of rural areas.

Spending on education

The report suggested that if the government increased its tax revenue to 14 per cent of GDP by 2015 and allocated one-fifth of this to education it could raise sufficient funds to get all of Pakistan’s children and adolescents into school.

Disparity among provinces

In Balochistan, only 45 per cent of children could solve a two-digit subtraction, compared with 73 per cent in wealthier Punjab. Only around one-quarter of girls from poor households in the impoverished province achieved basic numeracy skills, while boys from rich households in the province fared much better, approaching the average in Punjab.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 30th, 2014.

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Reader Comments (26)

  • Ashraf
    Jan 30, 2014 - 10:10AM

    Nations that don’t adjust with the changing times have a real problem on their hands. What applied a few hundred years back may not be what works today. This is the basic challenge that Pakistan faces and has failed to answer.


  • Rajesh
    Jan 30, 2014 - 10:15AM

    India and pakistan are going in opposite directions. When India in future after 25 years becomes like america, pakistan will become like somalia or rawanda… but still, the core issue for pakistan will be kashmir.


  • Sexton Blakett
    Jan 30, 2014 - 11:54AM

    If anyone cared to look at the lower 50% of American or British children they would find an appalling lack of educational abilities. Go down a little more and it gets worse. This is no excuse for the Sub-Continent, but it is something to think about.


  • Crazy Canuck
    Jan 30, 2014 - 12:21PM

    Hooray for democracy! Who needs outside forces to blow us in to the stone-ages? Our elected officials are doing a pretty darn good job already, thank you very much.


  • M.Faisal
    Jan 30, 2014 - 12:23PM


    What do you think your are only intelligent…NOOO.,, we are also..!!
    Pakistan is no more pressing you on Kashmir issue because if you unfortunately agree for conducting consensus,,, What Kashmiris will decide to be with a nation that is going to be in world top and established economies with developed industries or with a economy that is impoverishing and deteriorating day by day… Everyone knows the answer best…so conclusion “hum bhi demagh rakhtay hai”

    Note:- This is only N individual opinion..!


  • Saad
    Jan 30, 2014 - 12:45PM

    When India in future after 25 years becomes like america”

    Haha, Nice joke there buddy.Recommend

  • JRR
    Jan 30, 2014 - 1:24PM

    @ Rajesh…
    I sincerely hope and pray that India becomes like America (if that is what you want) in 25 years.

    For Pakistan, definitely a steep walk but things are moving. We’ll see the updates very soon.

    Lets focus on our individual responsibilities and hope both nations progress / prosper…


  • Pakistani
    Jan 30, 2014 - 2:02PM

    currently India at 9th place..acco to all main Surveys conduted by world bank, IMF& UN shows that by 2028 India will be 3rd lagest Economy after China & US if it grows averge with current fig 4-5%….if 2014 election result goes in favor of Modi India can grow with 8-10% then India can Surpass US also by 2028 & become 2nd largest economy or may be 1st..This is not said by Indians this is reported by IMF&World bank& UN or for info plz search google on this topic lol


  • saad
    Jan 30, 2014 - 2:55PM

    this report is false and i am sure they missed the children’s who are enrolled in privates schools like beacon house city and roots etc. As for 5.4 million hahaha biggest joke yes children’s works in shops but that doesn’t mean they don’t go to school. I met a kid in car shop working there i asked him do you go to school he said yes he is in 4 class and after that he comes to work here and secondly i can bet they included refguees children who are not a part of pakistan i mean literally 5.4 million this report doesn’t have strong or credible proof. As for india there was more children who doesn’t go to school then paksitan because of their big population but there is no report on that.


  • saad
    Jan 30, 2014 - 2:58PM

    @pakistani that because india is big nation with big resources to become 3rd largest economy till 2028 but all your wealth is concentrated to elite and rich people and infrastructure while poor people are getting poorer day by day


  • laiq
    Jan 30, 2014 - 3:41PM

    @Rajesh India and pakistan are going in opposite directions. When India in future after 25 years becomes like america, pakistan will become like somalia or rawanda… but still, the core issue for pakistan will be kashmir.
    Dear Rajesh, How India can become “America” in future’s 25 years if…
    1-There are 29 Crore illiterate people in India presently.
    2 – 37% of total numbers of world’s illiterate people?
    4 – 90% of “poor” children are unable to read or write anything even after 4 years of schooling?
    4 – With such literacy rate 100% educated India’s target will be achieved in “2080” you are very optimistic for n ext “25 years”?
    5- In “developed” states like Maharashtra & Gujrat only 15 to 17% teacher attend schools regularly while only 38 to 42 in Bihar and Jharkhand.
    Apart from above statistics based in UNESCO recent report on education there are hundreds of more questions ob your “dream”.


  • Ali Zaid
    Jan 30, 2014 - 4:41PM

    Under military rule and so called dictatorship of Musharraf, Pakistan was progressing, foreign investment was pouring in and expats were returning due to the confidence provided by the most credible leader i.e. Pervez Musharraf.
    Now with incapable (BUZDILs & NALAIQs) of democracy like Zardari/Nawaz and their abnormal MNAs/MPAs, Pakistan going back to stone ages.



  • imran ali
    Jan 30, 2014 - 7:25PM

    @ Ali Zaid…add corrupt and Nalaiqs judiciary –which has brought Pakistan to this stage…economy collapseRecommend

  • naila
    Jan 30, 2014 - 7:30PM

    Bright future for Pakistani politicians………….Recommend

  • Indian
    Jan 30, 2014 - 9:40PM

    @Pakistani – a recent research by morgan stanley put India in Fragile Five club i.e. Countries with unreliable future. 25 years to become USA..LOL wat a jokeRecommend

  • Prasad Babu
    Jan 30, 2014 - 10:23PM


    First of all, India will not be like America in 25 years. It just won’t happen. Stop dreaming.

    Secondly, what is your goal for chest thumping here on a Pakistani forum? If you, being an Indian, are trying to convince Pakistanis of anything, they just don’t listen to you. They do not think there is anything they can learn from india. So, stop wasting time.
    If your goal is to just taunt them, why? What do you gain? Grow up, man! Recommend

  • Azra
    Jan 31, 2014 - 12:44AM

    Let me be clear. Firstly, all these surveys are not reliable and are paid to decrease or increase the ratings of certain countries. Secondly, IQ level of Pakistanis and Indians is much more higher than the US or Canadian citizens. That is why they do so well when get an opportunity to study in these institutions. So be proud and strive hard


  • numbersnumbers
    Jan 31, 2014 - 3:36AM

    Please (be clear) and tell us where WE can all read HOW “these surveys are paid (by who???) to decrease or increase the ratings of certain countries”!!!!


  • Sexton Blake
    Jan 31, 2014 - 7:40AM

    Obviously, from all the negative comment, it would appear that many people are not happy with Pakistan’s economic progress, but there may be several reasons for it. Many of the people writing in may be of Indian origin. Secondly, Global monitoring’s EFA branch gets most of its data from UNESCO, and the UN is dominated by the West and in particular the US, which over the last 10 years or so have not been particularly kind to the Islamic world. Thirdly, America has become an elitist country, and I would hate be in the bottom third to one half of the US population trying to raise children. Fourthly, at least half the Indian population is doing it very tough also, and I would hate to be raising children there. Fifthly, if one looks at the US/UK state educational system many of the children would be better off staying at home. Sixthly, if anyone cares to read the UNESCO report they would find that that it is derelict in what it does not mention. Seven, there is an elitist society in Pakistan, like most countries, and this does not help. Eight, when the Sub-Continent was formed in the late 1940s it was at the bottom of the heap economically, and although it has a long way to go it has surprised many thinking economists with its progress. Nine, if anyone cares to look at the progress of most Western countries, and ignores the fudged statistics they would find that most of them are going backwards at an alarming rate. They may appear to be doing well, but costs are high. For example, an average electricity bill is in the vicinity of 100,000 Rupees per annum, and exports are quite often negative. US net exports are 0.63 trillion in the negative, and of course much of US exports are weapons of war rather than in the productive range. It would appear that every country is going backwards, and the future looks somewhat grim, because politicians everywhere do not, or pretend that they do not, have any answers. I think that children in the bottom half everywhere are in for a tough time, in both the near and long term future.


  • 3rdRockFromTheSun
    Jan 31, 2014 - 6:57PM

    @SextonB – “many people are not happy with Pakistan’s economic progress” – really? What progress do you have to show for others to be jealous of?

    “UN is dominated by the West and in particular the US, which over the last 10 years or so have not been particularly kind to the Islamic world” – aah! the world is out to get us syndrome, popular among islamic societies, especially Pakistan!

    “most Western countries, and ignores the fudged statistics they would find that most of them are going backwards at an alarming rate” aah, yes of course! they all fudge their stats and appear to progress! they fudged Pakistan’s stats too – so it appears to be regressing, while in reality, it is progressing! brilliant!!!

    we (those outside Pakistan) must be living in some bizarro world where everything is upside down.

    yes, the bottom half have it tough in any country – but in other countries (West & India), they have the opportunity, facilities and desire to progress and lift themselves from the bottom to a higher level – some succeed, some don’t.


  • Sexton Blake
    Jan 31, 2014 - 8:38PM

    Dear 3rdRock,
    Mark Twain once said “Never argue with a fool, onlookers may not be able to tell the difference”. With that in mind I rest my case. ET tend to be kind, but I hope they print this missive. Have a nice day.Recommend

  • Sexton Blake
    Jan 31, 2014 - 8:47PM

    Dear 3rdRock,
    Mark Twain once said, “Never argue argue with a fool” etc. With that in mind I rest my case. Have a nice day. ET tend to be kind so they may not print this. Recommend

  • Zeauddin Khan
    Feb 1, 2014 - 6:26AM


    The is Significance difference between the Literacy level comparison in both India and Pakistan…Where as in India who can Read or Write his/her name in any of the Following Languages (Hindi, Bengali, Gujarati, Tamil, Kannad, Malayalam) is Literate and even if he don’t know per Indian Education Act..As Per UNESCO if you are not using English then u are illiterate…In Pakistan English is mandatory in Schools along with Urdu and other Languages…The Process of Judging Literacy level in Pak is different as Compare to India..Here in Pakistan u have to Write an Application in both English/ Urdu letter then ur Literacy level is Judged and in India u have put your name in any Language…

    I don’t see any backwardness in Pakistan Education system. In big cities Like Karachi, Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Lahore where the Literacy level is more than 80% and have a population of more than Millions in number..Whereas Literacy level is low only in Tribal areas but at the same time Population level is also very low in those areas…In India it is Completely different Counting Literacy level on any language except English and where the tribal, Schedule and other caste are ignored.

    @ In india still according to Govt estimate 35% population living below poverty line but according to World bank more than 60% of the population living below International poverty line which is 1.25$ per day (70 Crores) which is equivalent of population of number of poverty people living in Africa region Bangladesh and other south Asia region…70% of the people don’t have any toilet facility…Indian Government never provide proper details..This is the actual facts of the Indian Government..and Just dreaming to make Comparison to other countries.


  • Feb 1, 2014 - 8:57AM

    The writing on the wall was obvious to anyone who could read. It took Pakistanis so long to realize the truth.


  • Pakistani
    Feb 1, 2014 - 1:16PM

    There were only 59 universities and degree awarding institutes in Pakistan in the year 2001. These grew to 127 such institutions by 2008. Now it is more than 155.
    University enrolment grew threefold, rising from only 276,000 in 2002 to a remarkable 803,000 by 2010.
    During the 55-year period between 1947 and 2002, only 1,500 PhD scholarships had been awarded by UGC. During 2003 and 2010, over 8,000 such scholarships were awarded by the HEC through a highly competitive selection process, about 5,000 of these to top universities in the USA, Europe, Australia and New Zealand.
    The PhD output from our universities between 1947 and 2002 was only 3,321 (an average of only 60 per year). In the subsequent eight-year period, 2003-2010, another 3,651 PhD degrees were granted (an average of 450 per year) after international assessment by eminent experts from technologically advanced countries. Presently it stands at about 700 per year, representing a 1,200 percent increase over the average in the 55-year period.
    The rapid progress made by Pakistan in the IT and telecom sector from 2000 and 2002 under my charge as federal minister led to the spread of the internet from 29 cities in 2000 to 1,000 cities, towns and villages by 2002, and the spread of fibre from 40 cities to 400 cities in this two-year period. Internet prices were reduced sharply from $87,000 per month for a 2 MB line to only $3,000 per month. The mobile telephony boom began by the drastic lowering of prices, bringing in competition and changing the system, so that the person receiving a call was no longer required to pay any charges. A satellite was placed in space (Paksat 1) at a cost of only $4 million. These changes in the IT infrastructure brought about during the time I was federal minister of science responsible for IT and telecom later proved invaluable for the higher education sector. The Pakistan Educational Research Network was set up in 2004, through which one of the finest digital libraries was established in universities. In 2002, a few university libraries could subscribe to a handful of journals. Today every student in every public sector university has free access to over 20,000 international journals with back volumes and over 60,000 books from 250 international publishers. A silent revolution had occurred.
    From 1947 to 2002, not a single university could be ranked among the top 600 of the world in international university rankings. By 2008, however, several Pakistani universities achieved this distinction, with NUST (Islamabad) at 273rd in the world, UET (Lahore) at 281 in the world and Karachi University (in natural sciences) at 223 in the world. Others included Quaid-e-Azam University (Islamabad) and Mehran Engineering University (Hyderabad).

  • Saira
    May 25, 2014 - 12:18AM

    Excellent Report. Pakistan is a failed state. Few years ago it was in the same league as Somalia exporting terrorism, and situation has not improved. The basic issue is education, India thrives on knowledge and education, in contrast Pakistan suppresses education, eventually this will be its demise.


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