Over 22 million children in Pakistan between the ages of 5 and 16 are not in school, according to UNICEF Pakistan. However, only some of the issues in this regard revolve towards dropping the dropout rates and increasing enrollment. In addition to being overcrowded, government-run schools also lack the most basic amenities. The largest province in Pakistan is BALOCHISTAN. It is also abundant in various natural resources, including gypsum, iron, copper, gold, silver, and many others. Baloch people, however, struggle to obtain the necessities of life, including food, water, and shelter. The province’s educational system is a total failure. In Balochistan, about 125,000 schools and 7,000 need basic amenities like chairs, roofs, and doors. The province’s rural areas are a curse to live in. Due to the several grades present in classrooms, educators confront tremendous obstacles. More than two classes are managed by one teacher at once, which is stressful for him and pointless for the students. It demonstrates the enormous student-teacher ratio discrepancy. The province has around 850 “ghost” schools, 2.5 million fictitious student registrations, and no accurate instructor records. Over half of the population leads a life below average. As a result, many parents prefer that their children work than pursue an education. They also need more knowledge resources like libraries, qualified teachers, and appropriate assessment methods. Exam cheating represents another barrier to high-quality education. Because of a weak check-and-balance system, students have become accustomed to cheating rather than using their skills. The relevant authorities must act swiftly to tackle these problems practically.

Inequality is at the heart of Pakistan’s educational crisis. National socioeconomic and gender divides are most pronounced in the education sector. Among the ten nations by UNESCO, Pakistan was named where girls from impoverished backgrounds spent less than two years in school. The dramatic rise in student dropout rates and learning losses has been noted in numerous surveys over the last two years. In contrast, only 16 percent of girls could read Urdu words in 2021, compared to 19 percent of boys. Although both genders experience considerable learning deficits, girls seem to suffer more. The gender gap in society is reflected in these statistics and other data in the report. Boys’ education is valued in many spheres of society, whereas girls are expected to handle household duties. A girl’s education is viewed as less significant than her brothers’ in homes where cost is a concern. Similarly, boys are more likely than girls to have access to digital learning tools, which inevitably affects how long they continue their studies. Therefore, while challenging, changing education in Pakistan is manageable. The government can begin funding girls’ education by ensuring that at least 50% of the beneficiaries of education assistance programs are female. There is no longer a choice to leave girls behind.

The country’s Constitution’s basic rights section incorporated ARTICLE 25-A on the “Right to Education” in April 2010 due to the 18th Amendment. Yet, nearly 12 years later, about 20 million children aged five to 16 are still not enrolled in school. Our evaluations of children’s learning also show that, except for a tiny group attending prestigious public and private institutions, most school-age children in Pakistan receive inadequate instruction. Successive governments have tried every “reform” one can think of in the educational field, including free textbooks, no tuition, stipends, meal programs, afternoon schools, monitoring systems, performance incentives, merit-based teacher hiring, school councils, management committees, school-based hiring, and non-salary budgets. However, there has yet to be much progress made toward the goal of achieving universal education of a basic standard. In truth, we have regressed on problems relating to educational quality in several provinces and for some years. It is accurate to say that our public school system lacks enough funding. You cannot ensure that every child receives a quality education by allocating less than 2% of the GDP to education. However, it is also true that the system cannot take in more money and needs to spend more effectively. Therefore, to meet the increased resource demand, we must also increase system efficiency; otherwise, we need more than double the budget. It is also the case that ‘quality’ aspects are always harder to see. Access and infrastructure aspects are easy to see and verify and more attributable. So, even if there is pressure to provide education, the metric is more about opening new schools, upgrading existing ones and providing infrastructures like boundary walls, classrooms, bathrooms and electricity and water connections.

Politicians can talk about how they got another school for their area, had a primary school upgraded to a middle or high school, obtained infrastructure for the school, and even had teachers posted at the school. But it is harder for politicians to talk about how they improved the quality of education in a school or schools in their area. Politicians react to electoral pressures, which include what will help them win elections, what will strengthen their coalition, and what will increase their visibility and reputation. Given how elections are conducted in the nation, the aggregate of voter choice in terms of fairness is a problem in and of itself. Even if we set that issue aside, the availability of high-quality education is not vital in our elections. Access to jobs and the availability of local utilities (such as roads, water, sewerage, gas, and electricity) are typically prioritized higher. Constituents may worry about their future employment as teachers or school employees. Perhaps voters no longer believe the government can deliver high-quality education. Pakistan’s polity does not hold politicians to a high standard of political accountability. It is not unexpected that 20 million children are not in school and that education quality is low, given this fact and the difficulties in making “access to quality education” a visible priority for policymakers. Why should bureaucrats care about offering high-quality education if politicians don’t? However, this balance can be changed. Significant adjustments to how politicians are held accountable must be part of the transition. It’s going to be challenging. But if we don’t have politicians responsible, providing all people with access to high-quality education won’t succeed.


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