Constitution of Pakistan
Education is a fundamental right and a primary component to achieving sustainable development. The Constitution of Pakistan’s Article 25A guarantees the right to free and compulsory education to every child aged 5 ~ 16 years. The Government of Pakistan has endorsed the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4 on Education, however, the budget allocated by the government is not enough to educate every child in Pakistan.
Early Childhood Education (ECE)
Early childhood care and education is imperative to the development of children and to the success of their future education. A child starts learning at birth and during the early years he/she learns fundamental skills which affect learning and behaviour in later years at school, and in life in general. Although, the area of early childhood education has been recognized in Pakistan, much remains to be done in order to provide children an environment in their early years which enables them to develop into creative individuals, with the desire to explore and learn.
Pakistan’s curriculum is outdated. After the 18th Amendment to Pakistan’s constitution, the responsibility of planning and designing the curriculum was handed over to the provinces, however, for all practical purposes, the provinces are still following the federal curriculum guidelines. One of the biggest deficiencies of curriculum development and the writing of textbooks in Pakistan is very little or no involvement of teachers in the process.
Educating girls is crucial to the economic growth of a country. Female illiteracy in Pakistan is among the highest in the world. There is a great need in Pakistan to enroll greater numbers of girls in schools and to ensure that they do not drop out before completing their basic education. Only 68% of 15-23 year-old girls can read and write, compared with 83% of boys the same age (UNESCO Institute for Statistics, 2016). Girls make up just 42% of secondary school students, and only one in 10 will complete their secondary education (UNESCO Institute for Statistics, 2016).
The idea of inclusive education is enabling all students, including previously excluded groups, to get education alongside the regular students. It requires changes in the curriculum, the methods of teaching and learning, as well as the interaction between students with and without special needs. The current programs and strategies regarding the needs of children vulnerable to exclusion in Pakistan are insufficient. This is an area which is in need of proper recognition and improvement.
Teachers are an important part of the education system, as they are the ones imparting knowledge to the students. The quality of education is directly dependent on the quality of teachers available. In Pakistan, teachers are notoriously underpaid and overworked. Improving the quality of training to pre-service and in-service teachers is imperative to improving the quality of education in Pakistan. The curriculum and the methods of instruction in teachers’ training institutions should be reviewed and revised, to bring them in line with modern trends.
Literacy & Non-Formal Basic Education
Pakistan has the second highest number of children out of school in the world (UNESCO GEMR, 2012). The education system in Pakistan is critically under-resourced. The government is unable to meet the financial commitments made in the Right to Education Act. The adult literacy rate in Pakistan is around 58%, which is one of the lowest in the world. In this backdrop, it is necessary to build a strong non-formal system of education which complements the formal system.