through 10 examinations, they are awarded a Secondary School Certificate (or
SSC). This certificate is locally termed as 'matriculation certificate' or 'matric' for
short. Students then enter an intermediate college and complete grades 11 and
12. Upon successful completion of grades 11 through 12 examinations, students
are awarded the Higher Secondary (School) Certificate (or HSC). This level of
education is also called the FSc/FA/ICS or 'intermediate'. There are many
streams students can choose for their 11 and 12 grades, such as pre-medical,
pre-engineering, humanities (or social sciences), computer science and
commerce. Each stream consists of three electives and as well as three
compulsory subjects of English, Urdu, Islamiat (grade 11 only) and Pakistani
Studies (grade 12 only). Alternative qualifications in Pakistan are available but
are maintained by other examination boards. Most common alternative is the
General Certificate of Education (or GCE), where SSC and HSC are replaced by
Ordinary Level (or O Level) and Advanced Level (or A Level) respectively. Other
qualifications include IGCSE which replaces SSC. GCE O Level, IGCSE and GCE
AS/A Level are managed by British examination boards of CIE of the Cambridge
Assessment and/or Edexcel of the Pearson PLC. Generally, 8-10 courses are
selected by students at GCE O Levels and 3-5 at GCE A Levels. Advanced
Placement (or AP) is an alternative option but much less common than GCE or
IGCSE. This replaces the secondary school education as 'High School Education'
instead. AP exams are monitored by a North American examination board,
College Board, and can only be given under supervision of centers which are
registered with the College Board, unlike GCE O/AS/A Level and IGCSE which
can be given privately. There is another type of education in Pakistan which is
called Technical Education. Three boards, Punjab Board of Technical Education,
NWFP Board of Technical Education, and Sindh Board of Technical Education,
provide facilities of technical education. PBTE (Punjab Board of Technical
Education) offering Matric tec. and D.A.E. (Diploma of Associate Engineering) in
technologies like Civil, Chemical, Architecture, Mechanical, Electrical,
Electronics, Computer Sciences and many more technologies. After earning
their HSC or equivalent certificates, students may study in a professional college
for Bachelor's degree courses such as engineering, medicine, law, arts,
architecture, social sciences etc. These courses require four or five years of
study. There are some councils and boards that will handle all the education
matters e.g. Pakistan Medical and Dental Council, Pakistan Engineering Council
etc. After obtaining a bachelor’s degree, the students may opt for a Master’s
degree and other higher qualifications after the master’s degree. Secondary
(high school) and Tertiary (Bachelor’s) education usually play the most vital role
in moulding the youth for the Practical world. According to the UNESCO's 2009
Global Education Digest, only 6.3% (2007 est.) of Pakistanis (8.9% of males and
3.5% of females) were university graduates. Pakistan is home to world class
institutions such as National University of Sciences and Technology,
Beaconhouse School System, Ghulam Ishaq Khan Institute of engineering
sciences and technology, Roots College International, Lahore University of
Management Sciences, Institute of Business Administration – Karachi etc. There
are more than 400,000 educational institutes of various kinds present in the
country today. The Youth literacy in Pakistan currently stands at 71 % according
to a 2012 Education for all (EFA) report. Male and female literacy for the 15 – 24
demographic stands at 79% and 61% respectively. The youth literacy rate is
much lower than that of other countries in the region such as India (81%),
Bangladesh (77%), Nepal (81%).
Problems plaguing the system and the youth:
The education system of Pakistan has a lot of problems and deficiencies:
1. Dearth of Public expenditure:
Public expenditure in the education sector stood at 2.0% of Gross
Domestic Product in 2009. This is very low as compared to the average in
the region. Many institutions in the country have been shut down or
provide low quality education because of a lack of capital or financing
available for the day to day operation and maintenance of the
2. Improper Implementation of features for improvement:
E.g. In 2012, the Punjab Government could not properly computerize the
result delivery system for secondary education examinations leading to
protests by the youth in Punjab.
3. Lack of incentives for sustained achievements:
Institutes sometimes fail to provide rewards to students for their academic
achievements to keep them motivated in their studies.
Nepotism and bribery is a common practice in some institutions allowing
incapable youth to negatively impact the output of the institutions.
5. Multiple media of instruction:
Urdu and English are the most common media of instruction across
institutions in Pakistan. Having a dual medium of instruction prevents
institutions from crafting a suitable curricula for some subjects and
promotes misunderstandings and miscommunication.
6. Outdated or defective curricula:
Many institutions and education monitoring organizations have failed to
update curricula for various subjects and fields according to international
standards and/or present day needs of the country.
7. Shortage of qualified instructors and policy makers:
People with inferior qualifications are made teachers, executives and
administrators preventing students from receiving the best education.
8. Overcrowded institutions:
Nearly 50% of the population lies in the 0 – 24 age group. Institutions that
are capable of providing high quality education such as National
University of Sciences and Technology are sometimes unable to evenly
distribute resources among a large number of students. Many primary and
secondary education institutions suffer from this problem as well.
9. Gender disparity:
Literacy rate among Pakistani females is lower than that among Pakistani
males since certain social, cultural or religious conventions prevent
women from receiving higher education and in some cases basic
education. This problem exists mostly in rural areas of the country. The
problem is also majorly present in the north- western areas of the country.
In the Swat district e.g. the Tehreek-e-taliban, a known terrorist
organization, has enforced a ban on female education and caused the
shutdown of more than 170 schools (2009 report).
10. Brain – Drain:
Many talented and competent students seek tertiary education from
institutions abroad. Some of these students do not return after completing
their bachelor’s or master’s degrees and opt to work in other countries as
teachers and professors. As a result, the development of local institutions
is affected as they have to take on less competent students and
teachers to fill the voids left by the more competent individuals.
11. Political and economic instability:
Political issues distract the youth from their obligations towards their
education and economic instability and an unequal distribution of
wealth promotes brain – drain and prevents the segment of the youth
population that lies just above or below the poverty line from receiving
even the 12 years of basic education.
The above mentioned problems prevent the youth of the country from
developing its capabilities and utilizing them for the social and economic
development of the country.
Pakistan consists of one of the largest pool of scientists, doctors and engineers in
the world. The pool majorly consists of young graduates who have garnered
acclaim for their work in their respective fields in Pakistan and in the world. The
Pakistani youth has also made contributions to the development of arts in the
The following is a list of individuals who have proved that the Pakistani Youth has
ample potential to kick start and sustain social and economic development in
1- Ali Moen Nawazish:
He had set the record for most A’s obtained by a student in GCE A level
exams in 2008. He garnered global attention for this feat. He has studied
psychology and sociology at Cambridge University. He came back to
Pakistan after receiving his undergraduate degree and joined the Jang
group as a columnist and youth ambassador. He also created a Non-
profit Organization by the name of Step Up Pakistan to create awareness
of problems plaguing the education system in Pakistan and to find
solutions to those problems.
2- Malala Yousafzai:
She was a resident of the Swat district and locally campaigned for female
education in the then Taliban controlled region. An assassination attempt
was made on her life by the Taliban, but she survived. After the attack on
her, she became a global symbol for women’s education rights and was
acclaimed for her bravery by influential people across the globe. She was
nominated for a second time for the Nobel Peace Prize in March of 2014.
3- Zohaib Asad Syed:
He once held the record for scoring the most number of A’s in GCE O
level exams and received a top – in – the – world distinction for exemplary
performance in the GCE O level Exams of 2011. He garnered acclaim
from the then Prime minister of Pakistan, Yousaf Raza Gillani, who
awarded him the president’s pride of performance award. He is currently
studying at Mcgill University in Toronto, Canada and in his spare time, he
teaches a variety of subjects to O and A level students from Pakistan and
other countries across the globe via skype.
4- Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy:
She is a journalist and documentary filmmaker. She started writing for a
newspaper in Karachi at the age of 14. She has studied journalism at Smith
College in USA. She returned to Pakistan soon after completing her higher
education. At the age of 22, she started her filmmaking career and sent
out a proposal for a documentary about terrorism to various news and
broadcasting agencies in the US, all of which rejected the proposal. After
some initial struggle, she managed to secure a producer for her first
documentary feature and started filming for it in 2010. She won an Oscar,
the most prestigious award in filmmaking industry of America, for her
documentary on Acid attack victims called ‘Saving Face’ in 2012 and
garnered global media attention as the first Oscar winner from Pakistan.
She has served as a teacher within the media – sciences department of
the Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology in
Karachi. She continues to educate the youth on the power of filmmaking
in shaping society and on their potential for achieving greatness.
5- Arfa Karim:
Arfa, at the young age of 9, became the youngest Microsoft Certified
Professional, a title she held till 2008. She was invited by Bill Gates, co-
founder of Microsoft, to visit the Microsoft Headquarters in USA. She
received a pride of performance award from the president along with
many other accolades for her prowess in the field of information
technology. She also attended a prestigious Technology conference in
Barcelona, Spain, in 2006. She was the only Pakistani among 5000
participants from across the globe. She passed away from a cardiac
arrest resulting from brain damage due to an epileptic seizure in 2012, at
the age of 16. She was pursuing a GCE A level qualification at the time. A
technology Park, named after her, was established in Lahore, Pakistan.
6- Ali Rehan:
Ali rehan is a student of Lahore University of Management Sciences in the
computer sciences department and CEO of a software development
company called Eyedeus Labs. He, along with his team at Eyedeus Labs,
developed an application called Groopic for smartphones, in 2013. The
application allowed photographs taken at different times to be grouped
into one photograph without traces of digital manipulation. The
application received acclaim from across the globe for its innovative
concept. Ali Rehan and his team became the subject of a CNN news
report that highlighted the innovativeness of the application and also
shed some light on the software development by youth in Pakistan.
Software developers in Pakistan have been in high demand by tech
companies, especially those based in America, since the beginning of the
current decade and Ali Rehan has shown the youth of the country why
7- Fasi Zaka:
Fasi Zaka is a television host, satirist, political columnist, radio talk show
host, music critic, academic and Rhodes Scholar in Pakistan. He is
recognized for a successful presence in print, television and radio. He is a
public intellectual who employs humour from a political and democratic
perspective in his media forays. Fasi Zaka also occasionally comments on
the Pakistani media and politics to National Public Radio (NPR).He is also
known for hosting awards ceremonies and speaking engagements. Fasi
Zaka was declared a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum
in 2012. British Council Pakistan linked up with Fasi Zaka to create Ace
Encounter, an edutainment programme that used his appeal with the
youth to send out educational advice.
The seven individuals mentioned above are just the tip of the iceberg. The
Pakistani youth is multi-talented and the six individuals mentioned above have
shown that an education is vital if not necessary for achieving one’s dreams and
goals and that hard work is needed to overcome barriers and obstacles in one’s
pursuit of their dreams and goals.
Conclusion and solutions:
Pakistan has a multitalented and skillful youth. The youth needs an efficient
education system and brilliant educational institutes to tackle the problems
faced by them and those around them i.e. the society they live in and the
country at large. There are a number of ways to fix the problems that plague the
education system of the country.
Firslty, corruption should be eliminated not just from the education sector but
from all the country’s government institutions. The youth with its overwhelming
numbers should stand up to corrupt individuals in their institutions and protest
against any injustice in distribution of educational resources.
Secondly, the youth pursuing education in any form, should make the pursuit of
that education, their first priority. Extra-curricular activities should be given less
priority unless they allow the youth to develop their skills in a particular field of
Thirdly, The Pakistani youngsters, who are pursuing education abroad, should be
encouraged to return to their homeland after receiving their degrees and work
for its’ social and economic development. Brain-drain can be reduced by
raising the quality of education to match international standards preventing the
youth of the country from pursuing the same quality of education abroad.
Fourthly, the government should revise its policy on government spending in the
education sector. The public expenditure on education should be increased to
a larger percentage of GDP by creating awareness among the general
population on the importance of education.
Fifthly, efforts should be made to increase female representation in the
education sector by encouraging female graduates to take up teaching and
creating educational institutions especially for girls.
Sixthly, awareness regarding the dangers of population growth should be
created to allow population growth to be regulated and to prevent shortage of
educational resources and job opportunities for the youth in the country.
Seventhly, The education monitoring organizations need to update curricula
from time to time and standardize exams, to allow the youth of the country to
keep up with the rest of the world. The organizations should also provide Skill
development courses to teachers to allow them to become better at their jobs.
Lastly, awareness regarding the importance of getting an education should be
created. The achievements of the youth should be highlighted and rewarded.
The youth should be encouraged to take unconventional approaches in the
pursuit of their goals and should be constantly reminded of the investment being
made into their futures, to keep them humble and grounded.
 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Education_in_Pakistan 03/05/2014
 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_Pakistan 03/05/2014
Under Youth Potential
1- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ali_Moeen_Nawazish 04/05/2014
2- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malala_Yousafzai 04/05/2014
3- https://www.facebook.com/ZohaibAsadSyed 04/05/2014
4- http:// en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sharmeen_Obaid-Chinoy 04/05/2014
5- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arfa_Karim 04/05/2014
7- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fasi_Zaka 04/05/2014