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.