Problems With The Education System In Pakistan

Pakistan, a nation in Asia with a population of 182.1 million. 40% of this population, aged 10 and over cannot read or write. If we examine this from a gender perspective, 31% males are illiterate, and 55% female. On average Pakistan has an unemployment rate of around 6.00%.

This is concerning, as neighbouring countries such as India and China have become part of the 4 BRIC economies (Brazil, Russia, India and China). Their development over the decade has been phenomenal. Pakistan has developed, however only the top 8% of the economy has developed.

8% of Pakistan’s population can afford to study at English Medium high standard schools. These schools teach using foreign curriculum, often the English or American. They sit CIE’s, (Cambridge International Examinations) and thereafter A Levels. This means they are able to easily study at a higher ranked university in Pakistan, or in England. This is all down to their wealth, as their parents could afford such high standard schooling for them. They were educated in pure english and so as a result their intellect was equal, if not higher to those studying in the UK, as they were educated in the same manner. This means that they were educated on a world class level and have developed on a great scale.

In contrast, a great proportion of children are unable to receive such education and attend government schools. These schools are Urdu medium schools, and so the children learn in Urdu. Already this creates differences between the children in Pakistan, as the English medium students may feel superior to the Urdu medium students. In addition to this, the curriculum is often shocking. They are examined based on their memory. During my previous visit to Pakistan I spoke to a child from a Urdu medium school who had a science examination in a couple of days. In order to revise he was learning off by heart a passage his teacher had provided him with which included the entire Cardiac Cycle, which in the UK we often learn about in Year 9 Biology, and this child was being examined on at the age of 11. He told me he needed to memorise this passage and write it down in the test, and that is it. He would have passed this examination and progressed to the next academic year. All they need is to memorise texts and passages from books and that’ll get them that pass. This continues all the way through to their Matric examinations. For families with low incomes, they can only educate their children up to the age of sixteen. Few make it further into colleges, and even if they do, the curriculum there isn’t anywhere near the level that English Medium students receive. These students therefore do not develop essential skills that employers demand, and so this can result in unemployment for those.

Many families on low incomes have one or two breadwinners. Their sources of income come from small family businesses such as shops. Females who have jobs in villages often turn to teaching as this is more “respectable” but even then they may not have the right qualifications to teach but still turn to teaching. Labour work however is the most common, and when the father of the home becomes older and less able to earn, the children must start earning instead and this cycle continues. This is how illiteracy is still existent in huge figures even after all those years.

As well as this, there are still narrow minded people who believe that the only education they need is Islamic education, so send their children to Madrassa’s which only teach Islamic based information. This results in extremist views, and possibly very oppressed females in particular.

So, how can we tackle this issue?

The main problem that can be identified here is the inequality. There is gender inequality, and inequality between the different classes. The upper class receive high standard education, and the lower and middle receive very basic muddled education, which means only the upper classes are able to progress and access top jobs. There are of course exceptions where families sell off a lot of their resources to educate their children, or children receiving scholarships, however again this is not a common case. The first thing, therefore I believe is that all children should have equal access to education of a good standard. This means that the curriculum should be in line with those of the developed economies, so children gain vital skills as well as knowledge rather than being able to master the skill of memorisation. There are many schools in one area, and parents send their children to these schools thinking they’ve done their duty however the level of teaching is unacceptable. Therefore there could be fewer schools in one area, but fewer with excellent quality and standards of education. This will make it easier to monitor the schools, it’ll work out cheaper, and the children will receive a good education.

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