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Education system’s failure in Pakistan: Causes, consequences and remedial measures

Education is a catalyst for human change. It holds potential to transform a barbaric savage into a modern man. Education not only edifies a nation but it also prepares it for the overall development. A nation without education can never aspire to prosper. Prosperity of a nation is directly proportional to its educational system. If one collapses, the other will automatically crumble. Such is the nature and connection between them. Thus, it is the bedrock for the progress of any nation.
As Bertrand Russell has aptly said, “the prime aim of education should be to make people think and form their opinion”. Hence, education empowers individual with knowledge and skills owing to alter thinking and steer towards glory. It is the fact worth mentioning that Singapore as well as China spends most of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on modern research, robotics, quantum mechanics, artificial intelligence and emotional intelligence in order to make populace creative, critical, innovative and real life problem solvers.
This is why, their country is socially cohesive, economically sound, politically stable and culturally diverse. Unlike these nations, the situation in Pakistan is something otherwise, where students are indulged in rote learning owing to weak communication skills and lack knowledge about modern technology. It is heartening to note that the education system in Pakistan is rotten to the core since its inception. Moreover, the out of school dilemma is still unresloved.
According to the recent report, 22.8 million children are out of school in Pakistan. It is the second highest figure after Nigeria in the world. Similarly, UNESCO report tells that Pakistan’s literacy rate is 62% which is one of the lowest rates in the world and stands 160th among world nations. This paints a dismal and grim picture of Pakistan’s educational and literacy rate.
Furthermore, a study conducted by Aga Khan University across Pakistan showed that the average score of our students in science and mathematics was a failing grade. Only 5pc of the kids in Class 8 could answer a simple arithmetic question and just 10pc could answer a basic science question. Moreover, most kids in Class 5 read and do sums at the level of pupils in Class 1. Which is to say that these kids, after five years in school, are functionally innumerate and illiterate. Hence, if truth be told, we get nothing from the money we spend on education.
Moreover in 2020, our net enrolment rate in primary schools was only 64 per cent – down from 67pc in 2015. Punjab and Balochistan maintained their ratios at 70pc and 56pc respectively. Yet Sindh’s net enrolment actually went down from 61pc to 55pc and KP’s ratio (even excluding the former tribal agencies) went down from 71pc to 66pc. Half of all school-aged children are not in school. Unfortunately, 75 years after independence, almost four in 10 Pakistanis remain illiterate, consigned to a life of hardship and poverty.
The proponents argue that there are other overriding factors that are hampering the educational growth of Pakistan. Myopic educational policies, unparalleled educational system coupled with commercialization of education, growing incapable faculty, frequent absenteeism and rising culture of corporal punishment are the most notable in this regard. Resultantly, the country is socially disintegrated, politically instable, and economically stagnant. Hence, it can be said that illiteracy and bad education are mother of all evils.
The tale of abysmal educational system does not end here; it goes far ahead.
Absence of research and critical thinking, lack of range of basic facilities, dilapidated infrastructure, lack of budgetary allocation for school and high dropout ratio of students from school make this tale more frustrating and gruesome. Apart from that, absence of education has unleashed manifestations for Pakistan in the form of growing child labor owing to simmering crime rate, widespread subjugation of women, accelerating extremism, terrorism and fundamentalism in the country.
In order to turn down the nefarious tides of abysmal educational system, some affirmative measures are direly needed to overhaul the education system in true letter and spirit. If proper measures are taken into account, Pakistan education system can rise like a phoenix from ashes.
Developing the culture of accountability, constructing schools and colleges in remote areas of the country, introducing biometric system from lower to higher levels, allocating adequate budget for educational purposes, upgrading outdated curriculum and debunking commercialization of institute that are minting money despite providing quality education can only open the window of progress and prosperity for the Pakistan.

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