Youth and Education in Pakistan


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A description of problems pertaining to education .in pakistan, for the youth.

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Youth and Education in Pakistan

  1. 1. Introduction:- “Education in its general sense is a form of learning in which the knowledge, skills, and habits of a group of people are transferred from one generation to the next through teaching, training, or research.” © wikipedia Education is the single most important investment a country can make in its people and its future. An important aspect of education is that it is not bounded by age. However, a good education is most beneficial to the youth of a country, because youth is biologically described as that stage of a person’s life when the brain is capable of comprehending, retaining and efficiently applying large volumes of knowledge, easily. The United Nations (UN) defines youth as all persons between the ages of 15 and 24 (and in some cases up to 32). Member states of the UN including Pakistan have adopted this definition of youth for statistical purposes. The youth of a country is often considered a valuable resource since it can play an important part in the social and economic development of a country, but, in order to play that part efficiently, the youth requires education. A good education allows the youth of a country to gain an understanding of the problems that hamper the development of the country and prepares them for their journey to find solutions to those problems . In Pakistan, The youth currently makes up about 21.5 %[1] of population of nearly 200 million people. With the youth making up such a huge chunk of the country’s population, Pakistan has the potential for fast and sustainable development, provided the youth has access to education and the problems impacting an education system are non-existent. The education system of Pakistan: The education system in Pakistan is very complex. The standard national system of education is mainly inspired from the British system[2]. Pre-school education is designed for 3–5 years old and usually consists of three stages: Play Group, Nursery and Kindergarten (also called 'KG' or 'Prep'). After pre-school education, students go through junior school from grades 1 to 5. This is proceeded by middle school from grades 6 to 8. At middle school, single-sex education is usually preferred by the community, but co-education is also common in urban cities. The curriculum is usually subject to the institution. The eight commonly examined disciplines are Urdu, English, mathematics, arts, science, social studies, Islamiyat and sometimes computer studies (subject to availability of a computer laboratory). Secondary education in Pakistan begins from grade 9 and lasts for 4 years. After end of each of the school years, students are required to pass a standardized examination administered by a regional Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education (or BISE). Upon successful completion of grades 9
  2. 2. 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. 3. 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%[1] 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 institutions. 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. 4. Corruption: 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
  4. 4. 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%[3] 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
  5. 5. 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. Youth Potential: 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 country. 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 the country:- 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.
  6. 6. 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.
  7. 7. 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 that is. 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.
  8. 8. 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 education. 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
  9. 9. pursuit of their goals and should be constantly reminded of the investment being made into their futures, to keep them humble and grounded. References: Sr no. Link Retrieval date [1] factbook/geos/pk.html 03/05/2014 [2] 03/05/2014 [3] 03/05/2014 Under Youth Potential 1- 04/05/2014 2- 04/05/2014 3- 04/05/2014 4- http:// 04/05/2014 5- 04/05/2014 6- rehan-ceo-of-groopic/ 04/05/2014 7- 04/05/2014