Lack of proper educational facilities in our schools is one of the most important reasons for the educational backwardness in Pakistan.
It is an all-admitted fact that education plays a pivotal role in economic progress and social welfare. Investment in education leads to the reduction of poverty, improvement in health and increase in the pace of economic growth. Besides this, access to education increases the level of political awareness and assists in balancing political and economic progress. For this very reason, the educational sector of every important country strongly emphasizes on encouraging the maximum number of children to go to school and facilitating them to continue their education. International Literacy Day is observed on September 8 each year, to highlight the need for achieving this objective.
This alarming situation requires urgent measures to improve the condition of educational sector in the country, but perhaps, this is not being done, because the existing facts are telling a bitter story about the state of education in the country. Each year, 60 per cent girls and 72 per cent boys belonging to the school going age group, get admission in primary schools in Pakistan. But according to the UNICEF’s State of the World Children Report 2012, 60 per cent of the children who get admission in primary schools in Pakistan are able to reach class five. 29 per cent girls and 36 per cent boys belonging to the secondary school going age group, get admission in secondary schools in Pakistan. According to the Pakistan Education Statistics Report 2010-11 issued by the National Education Management Information System, between 2005-06 and 2010-11, the number of boys getting admission in primary schools decreased by 3.74 per cent. But during the same period, the number of girls getting admission in primary schools increased by 0.83 per cent. It is encouraging to note that the number of school going girls in the country is increasing. However, the decrease in the number of primary school going boys and the slight increase in the number of primary school going girls cannot be so helpful in achieving the target of Universal Primary Education by the year 2015.
Lack of proper educational facilities in our schools is one of the most important reasons for the educational backwardness in Pakistan. According to the statistics provided by the National Education Management Information System, 9.24 per cent of the primary-secondary schools working in the public sector have got no building. 48.59 per cent schools are without electricity. 26.16 per cent schools have got no drinking water for the students and there is no toilet in 27.56 per cent schools. Besides this, 29.30 per cent schools have no boundary wall and 39.59 per cent public schools are in need of repair. The educational backwardness of Pakistan can be further illustrated by the fact that 11.67 per cent of its primary-secondary schools working under the public sector consist of only one classroom and 38.45 per cent schools have got only two classrooms. In addition to this, 4.98 per cent schools in the country are non-functional and are known as ghost schools. They get financial benefits from the budget but their educational outcome is zero. The extremely meager amount of money allocated for the educational sector is another important reason for the deplorable state of education in Pakistan. In 2010-11, 1.8 per cent of the country’s total GDP was spent on education. In 2001-02, it was 1.5 per cent of GDP. Thus, there has been a slight increase in the amount of money spent on education, but even then, it is far less than 4 per cent of the GDP, recommended by international experts for the promotion of education. The increasing level of poverty is another major cause for the country’s educational backwardness. According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Half of Pakistan’s children belonging to poor families, between the ages of 7 and 16 years, do not go to schools. Five per cent of the children belonging to rich families also remain away from schools. In 2011, UNESCO’s Education For All Global Monitoring Report presented an EFA Development Index for measuring the progress in connection with the achievement of the goals set for Education For All. According to this index, Pakistan stood at #119 among the 127 countries of the world, whose statistics were available. The condition of some other South Asian countries was better than that of Pakistan. The Ranking of these South Asian countries in accordance with this index is as follows: Maldives 54, Bhutan 101, India 107, and Bangladesh 112.
Secondly, experts are of the view that educated mothers increase the chances of better nutrition and survival of their children. Twenty-six per cent children of the world, who are at the age of 5 or below, are shorter than the other children of their age. In the same way, 14 per cent children are underweighted at the time of their birth. For this reason, if mothers are educated, there are fewer chances of their children being underweighted or having shorter stature. Every additional year of education of mothers, reduces the chances of the death of their children by seven to nine per cent.
Fifthly, education is essential and highly significant, because it is instrumental in promoting democratic values and strengthening the process of positive participation in social and public activities. International research has proved that educated voters, even if their education is up to the primary level, are 1.5 per cent more supportive of democracy than illiterate voters. In the same way, those who have received secondary education are three times more enthusiastic supporters of democracy than illiterate voters.