Challenges–and Hope–for the State of Education in Pakistan
A recently released report, by the Pakistani Education Task Force — a group of concerned government officials and NGO workers — underscores the severe shortcomings Pakistan has in providing quality education for its citizens. It starkly calls out their country for not being in a position to meet the UN’s Millennium Development Goals of universal primary education, noting direly that 7 million Pakistani primary-age children are not in school and that 30% of all Pakistanis have received less than 2 years of education.
Gender inequality is a problem too, and one which contributes to economic woes. The report states that less than half of all women in Pakistan have had any schooling, and only about one-third of women in rural areas. Given that the World Bank has concluded “there is no investment more effective for achieving development goals than educating girls”, this is an inequity the Task Force acknowledges needs to be corrected.
The Task Force’s report, however, does note some encouraging details. It cites impressive education turnarounds in places such as Chile, the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, and Brazil’s Minas Gerais, that were due to reform efforts. Indeed, perhaps the most positive detail to emerge from the report is a confirmation that there is a strong belief among Pakistanis in the value of education and a desire for increased educational opportunity. 85% of respondents in a national survey stated their belief that education made “better citizens”, “more effective leaders”, and “reduces extremism”. A college education, for both boys and girls, has also seen a meteoric rise in desirability:
Survey of Pakistanis: “Yes, Boys/Girls Need to Go to College”
The full report contains many other interesting facts and figures. For further reading related to this topic, please see the below links:
- Education Emergency Pakistan – the group’s website includes links to the full April 2011 report and other publications by the Task Force
- Dreamfly in Akri – read more about how Dreamfly, in partnership with The Citizens Foundation (TCF), has opened and is running a primary school for nearly 150 boys and girls in a rural village in Pakistan