ways to improve the structure of Pakistan's education system
By YesPakistan.com Staff
Universal primary education
in Pakistan is contingent on several factors, such as the existence of cost-effective
schools, better curricula, and an awareness among parents, especially in rural
areas, of the importance of education. However, the single most important factor
in getting children to complete primary school is improving the structure of
Pakistan's school system.
Currently, there exist many
obstacles on the road to a smoothly functioning system. These include political
interference, corruption, over-centralization, a lack of school autonomy, underdeveloped
managerial capacity and poor information systems.
However, there are five
institutional reforms that can help improve Pakistan's educational structure
so that it can achieve the goal of universal primary education.
The first reform is the
decentralization of decision-making, which improves education administration.
Presently, Pakistan educational system is highly centralized even though it
is widely understood that basic education is better provided in a system that
is administered at the district and village level.
A highly centralized system
does not respond as effectively to local needs. The bureaucracy interferes with
the flow of resources and information. It also means higher level administrators
have less time to devote to important issues like program design, implementation,
This decentralization means
governments must develop partnerships with communities, NGOs, and the private
sector to delegate responsibility effectively in order to achieve universal
A second step necessary
for improving the system is greater autonomy for the schools. Currently, school
principals have a limited decision-making capacity. In addition, schools do
not have control over issues like curriculum, teacher appointment, discipline,
and evaluation. There are virtually no opportunities for local staff development
programs or resource mobilization.
By giving schools more independence,
principals would have the authority to appoint personnel and determine crucial
issues that affect the day-to-day affairs of schools. Principals, not upper-level
bureaucrats, are in a better position to make these decisions since they deal
with the daily realities of school life.
A third important reform
is providing better support to, supervision of, and coordination of the school
system at the district and provincial level. By making the district the key
level for planning and management, state-level and central education bodies
can focus more on policy-making, resource management and regulation.
One way to do this is by
promoting good principals and teachers at the school level to enhance the institutional
capacity of district level organizations. The lack of sufficient manpower is
the most serious problem at the district and sub-district level.
A fourth necessary reform
is to encourage decision-making be based on educational, not political, considerations.
At present, politicians hand out teaching jobs as patronage appointments. Federal
and provincial funds provided for education sometimes remain unused, especially
in rural areas, since feudal landowners are opposed to educating "their"
The final necessary reform
is to expand the information and research base of education in Pakistan. Effective
management and administration of the education system depends on the quality
of the information system. Without reliable information, decision-makers cannot
improve education policy and programs at the national, district and school levels.
One way of collecting reliable
information about the state of education is to conduct standardized testing
that measures student performance against national curriculum goals. These can
be used to compare learning achievement across schools, districts and regions
There is also a need for
better research. Pakistan currently has one institution that conducts research
on educational issues, the Academy of Educational Planning and Management, which
conducts research on basic education. However, its abilities are hampered by
inadequate funds, no institutionalized basis for collecting, processing and
analyzing data, no technical support staff and little influence in policy making.
Date/Time Last Modified: 6/17/2002 3:44:33 PM
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