- Sunday | 26 Dec, 1993
- Policy Briefs/Papers
Four and a half decades after independence, despite a sustained public effort in the education sector, the situation continues to be a matter of deep concern. Almost half of girls and one-fifths of boys of the relevant age group (5-9) are not enrolled in primary school; and adult literacy rate is still barely 35 percent, far below that of other South Asia countries with similar levels of economic development; and there are severe gender and rural-urban imbalances both in the availability and quality of education. In general, Pakistan's social development has lagged far behind its economic growth.
Furthermore, although precise indicators are not available; most evidence suggests that the quality of education is both unacceptably low and declining. School infrastructure is lacking (and where available, not maintained properly), teachers are not properly trained or motivated, curricula lack relevance, management of the school system is not very effective, higher institutions are politicised, indifferent towards merit, in congenial for research, and prone to bouts of violence. About 35,000 primary schools are without any shelter, more than 80 colleges and 150 vocational and commercial institutes are functioning in improvised buildings; the management of the education system is centralized and without active participation of the user communities or an effective system of accountability.
These conditions persist despite fairly impressive growth in numerical terms. Since independence, primary school enrolment increased from 0.77 million (in 1948) to 12.41 million (in 1992), and 20 new universities, 540 colleges, and 60 polytechnic institutes were added. The Eighth Plan therefore will attempt to bring in considerations of quality and performance in addition to those of quantity of inputs.