Education in Pakistan
Education in Pakistan
Education in Pakistan is overseen by the government’s Ministry of Education and the provincial governments, whereas the federal government mostly assists in curriculum development, accreditation and in the financing of research. The article 25-A of Constitution of Pakistan obligates the state to provide free and compulsory quality education to children of the age group 5 to 16 years. “The State shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of five to sixteen years in such a manner as may be determined by law”.
 The education system in Pakistan is generally divided into five levels: primary (grades one through five); middle (grades six through eight); high(grades nine and ten, leading to the Secondary School Certificate or SSC); intermediate (grades eleven and twelve, leading to a Higher Secondary (School) Certificate or HSC); and university programs leading to undergraduate and graduate degrees.  The literacy rate ranges from 87% in Islamabad to 20% in the Kohlu District.
 Between 2000—2004, Pakistanis in the age group 55–64 had a literacy rate of almost 30%, those aged between 45–54 had a literacy rate of nearly 40%, those between 25–34 had a literacy rate of 50%, and those aged 15–24 had a literacy rate of 60%.  Literacy rates vary regionally, particularly by sex. In tribal areas female literacy is 7. 5%. Moreover, English is fast spreading in Pakistan, with 18 million Pakistanis (11% of the population) having a command over the English language, which makes it the 9th Largest English Speaking Nation in the world and the 3rd largest in Asia.
 On top of that, Pakistan produces about 445,000 university graduates and 10,000 computer science graduates per year.  Despite these statistics, Pakistan still has one of the highest illiteracy rates in the world.  Education Expenditure as Percentage of GDP Public expenditure on education lies on the fringes of 2 percent of GDP. However, the government recently approved the new national education policy, which stipulates that education expenditure will be increased to 7% of
GDP, an idea that was first suggested by the Punjab government.  Author of an article, which reviews the history of education spending in Pakistan since 1972, argues that this policy target raises a fundamental question: What extraordinary things are going to happen that would enable Pakistan to achieve within six years what it has been unable to lay a hand on in the past six decades? The policy document is blank on this question and does not discuss the assumptions that form the basis of this target.
Calculations of the author show that during the past 37 years, the highest public expenditure on education was 2. 80 percent of GDP in 1987-88. Public expenditure on education as a percentage of GDP was actually reduced in 16 years and maintained in 5 years between 1972–73 and 2008-09. Thus, out of total 37 years since 1972, public expenditure on education as a percentage of GDP either decreased or remained stagnant for 21 years. The author argues if linear trend were maintained since 1972, Pakistan could have touched 4 percent of GDP well before 2015.
However, it is unlikely to happen because the levels of spending have had remained significantly unpredictable and unsteady in the past. Given this disappointing trajectory, increasing public expenditure on education to 7 percent of GDP would be nothing less than a miracle but it is not going to be of godly nature. Instead, it is going to be the one of political nature because it has to be “invented” by those who are at the helm of affairs. The author suggests that little success can be made unless Pakistan adopts an “unconventional” approach to education.
That is to say, education sector should be treated as a special sector by immunizing budgetary allocations for it from fiscal stresses and political and economic instabilities. Allocations for education should not be affected by squeezed fiscal space or surge in military expenditure or debts. At the same time, there is a need to debate others options about how Pakistan can “invent” the miracle of raising education expenditure to 7 percent of GDP by 2015. 
University/College: University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 3 October 2016
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