Education in Pakistan
The delivery of education services in Pakistan is severely impacted by economic, political and security challenges that the country has been facing for some years.
The 18th Amendment to the Constitution of Pakistan, approved in 2010, devolved responsibility for education delivery and spending to provincial governments. The federal ministry retains some limited mandates, mainly in curriculum development, accreditation and the financing of research and development.
According to UIS data, Pakistan spent 2.5% of GDP on education in 2013. According to Pakistan’s Institute of Social Policy Sciences (I-SAPS) Pakistan spent 2.14% of GDP on education in 2014/2015.
In 2014/2015 all the provinces in Pakistan were allocating 20% or more of their budgets to education. Sindh has been consistently allocating 20% over the past years. Balochistan has increased its proportion of spending on education from 18% in 2013/2014 to 20% in 2015/2016 (source: I-SAPS).
Despite commitment from the provincial governments and the federal administration to address urgent education needs, Pakistan has the world’s second highest number of out-of-school children.
Education outcomes remain weak in Sindh. Inequities in access to education occur between districts, rural and urban areas, the poor and the non-poor, and between genders. Generally, girls in rural areas as well as boys and girls from households in the lowest income quintiles are at the highest risk of being out of school. Improving governance and accountability within the education system, notably through the better management of teachers and resources, is seen as the most important undertaking to foster improvements in education outcomes.
The Sindh education sector plan 2014-2018 focuses on increasing access to education for the most-marginalized children including girls, and improving learning outcomes along with governance and accountability of the education sector.
The main objectives of the Sindh education sector plan are:
- Increasing equitable access to quality early childhood education, primary, and secondary education with the aim of eliminating social exclusion, enhancing transitions, promoting social cohesion and providing greater opportunities for access, participation and learning to marginalized groups, particularly girls.
- Improving the quality of learning outcomes by providing teachers with tools to conduct ongoing classroom assessments of learning in core subjects such as reading and mathematics, increasing funding for quality-enhancing inputs such as reading materials, science equipment and textbooks, as well as quality assurance standards focusing on learning outcomes rather than inputs.
- Strengthening the governance and service delivery by improving capacity at the school, district, and provincial levels including but not limited to agreed school standards and strong public-private partnerships.
- Enhancing equitable resource allocation and improving the fiscal sustainability and effectiveness of educational expenditure, thereby fostering transparency and accountability in the use of public resources.
Balochistan faces many challenges in the education sector including a large number of out-of-school children, high dropout rates, wide gender disparities in education indicators and poor quality of teaching and learning in the classroom.
In 2015/2016, Balochistan allocated 20% of its total budget to education (source: Public Financing of Education in Pakistan)
The government of Balochistan is committed to addressing the multiple challenges in the education sector and has identified the issue of poor access to education as the most important priority and the greatest challenge.
The Balochistan education sector plan 2013-2018 focuses on the following priorities:
- Improving access and equity for all girls and boys to school by:
- Building and upgrading schools in communities where there is little or no access to school.
- Improving transition rates between levels (early childhood education to primary, primary to middle, middle to high).
- Reducing dropout by improving learning outcomes.
- Expanding alternate forms of delivery including private sector management, community school development, among others.
- Improving the quality of education by:
- Developing the capacity of education managers and professionals including teachers, examiners, curriculum and textbook developers.
- Developing learning standards and benchmarks.
- Improving assessment capacity.
- Preparing a new school language policy conducive to learning.
Governance and management improvements are central to the BESP, which focuses on improving managerial capacity for management and supervision, and improving information collection mechanisms and their use.
See a comprehensive interactive map of education rankings across Pakistan.
All amounts are in US dollars.
Source: World Bank - Education Data
Data on education are compiled by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Institute for Statistics from official responses to surveys and from reports provided by education authorities in each country.
Primary Gross Enrollment Rate (%)
Primary Completion Rate (%)
Lower Secondary Completion Rate (%)
Out-of-school Children Rate (%)
Public Expenditure on Education as Share of GDP (%)
Public Expenditure on Education as a Share of Public Expenditure (%)
Public Expenditure on Primary as a Share of Total Education Expenditure (%)
Teachers Trained (%)
GPE in Pakistan
In early 2015, Balochistan and Sindh carried out their first joint sector reviews following the endorsement of the education sector plans in 2014. This was an important milestone.
The responsibility for education has been largely devolved to provincial governments since the 2010 constitutional amendment, and so GPE works with local education groups in both Balochistan and Sindh. GPE is also supporting the education sector dialogue and coordination at the federal level through participation in the National Development Partners Group, which meets on a regular basis.
GPE’s partnership model aims to leverage improved transparency and mutual accountability in the dialogue between the provincial governments, the Development partners and key stakeholders. This sets the conditions for improved coordination and accountability of both domestic and external resources for education. The US$34 million GPE grant allocated to Balochistan, supervised by the World Bank, aims to increase school enrollment and retention in schools, with a special focus on girls’ participation, and to develop mechanisms for information collection and use for improved management of education. More specifically the grant aims to:
- Improve access and equity by expanding access through community school mechanisms and supporting transition to higher levels of education. In addition to this, a special focus will be given to teacher professional development and improved learning environment to make sure that teachers have adequate pedagogical skills to teach children in higher grades.
- Improve quality of early childhood education in the newly established schools through teacher capacity building and provision of simple teaching and learning management tools for them. School information systems will be enhanced to improve the validity of data and increase accountability of teaching and learning in schools.
- Provide technical assistance for improved capacity for management and monitoring, to support the establishment of systems and procedures for effective planning and implementation of the project activities, and at the same time develop robust monitoring systems.
The GPE grant allocated to Balochistan makes GPE the largest external contributor to the education sector in Balochistan.
The Balochistan local education group (LEG) is chaired by the Education Department (SED) and includes representatives from the education department, Canada, DFAT-Australia, UNESCO, UNICEF, USAID, Germany, the World Bank and civil society organizations. UNICEF is the coordinating agency.
The US$66 million GPE grant aims to strengthen the institutional capacity to generate, disseminate and use information to support the implementation of key reforms under the education sector plan. It is supervised by the World Bank.
The funds finance two components:
- Systems strengthening, which supports interventions in the following three reform areas:
- Sindh School Monitoring System to support the design and roll out of a school monitoring system for collecting, analyzing, disseminating and using data on specific school-level indicators, including student enrollment and teacher presence.
- Human Resources Monitoring and Information System to strengthen the management of teaching and non-teaching staff.
- Communications strengthening to design a communications strategy and other communication and consultation activities.
- Program support, focused on technical, advisory, and capacity-building support to develop, implement, and monitor the focus areas under the project.
The Sindh LEG includes 35 members including representatives from the Sindh Education and Literacy Department (ELD), Canada, DFID, JICA, UNESCO, UNICEF, USAID, the World Bank, the European Union, private sector and civil society organizations. UNICEF is the coordinating agency.
The GPE-funded project in Sindh is focused on strengthening institutional capacity and has achieved the following results:
- Supported the design and roll out of the Sindh School Monitoring System through collection of school based reports on an android based application from 15 districts.
- Disseminated monitoring data from 15 districts for analysis to Education and Literacy Department.
- Establish web-based complaint redressal system and increasing complaint redressal to 50% in 2015 from 0% in 2014.