State of Education in Pakistan
The Constitution mandates that the State of Pakistan provide free public education to all children from the age of 5 to 16 years. This includes primary and secondary education. But free education has come with a price. Despite efforts to-date, Pakistan continues have one of the lowest indicators for attainment of its educational goals. According to the 2016 UNICEF report, approximately 44% of children remain out of school, representing approximately 22.8 million children with disparities across age-groups, gender and socio-economic status. Poor enrolment at primary school level, coupled with a low percentage who transition to secondary school, shows that relatively few students graduate from secondary school.
“In the path to economic development, education has become a central element of the countries’ growth strategies. To be effective in the long run, improvements in education need to enable all children to have access to quality education without discrimination, to stay in the system until at least the end of upper secondary education, and to achieve the skills and knowledge they will need for effective social and labor market integration.” (Pakistan Education Statistics 2016-17, 25th Annual Report)
In addition, lack of funds towards teacher training, dilapidated buildings and poor facilities, public schools in Pakistan have failed to provide quality education.
Privatization of schools in Pakistan & who pays?
Increasing investment from the central and provincial government in the Education sector has been met with a very slow growth in quality education delivery. Shockingly, in 2017 Pakistan spent 2.9% of GDP on Education, ranking extremely low worldwide, a figure comparable to the African countries.
In recent decades, there has been a strong move to establish private education in Pakistan. More than 40% of students in primary and secondary school now attend private schools. Private schools have a greater accountability to fee paying parents, and therefore demonstrated better education. As a result, some provincial governments have outsourced their public schools to public-private partnerships and non-government organizations. For example, The Citizens Foundation is one of the leading NGOs in Pakistan, that has established primary and secondary schools to deliver quality education. In 2016, it was reported that TCF took over more than 80 government schools across Pakistan with the responsibility of managing the schools, investing in curriculum development, teacher training, and monitoring and evaluation to increase enrolment and performance. While TCF has made enormous strides and is slowly contributing to changing the face of educational institutions for the poor, TCF schools cater primarily to impoverished members of society, charging them a nominal fee. At the moment, TCF schools are currently oversubscribed with long waiting lists, and there is a growing need for additional schools.
Meanwhile, parents from moderate incomes subscribe to established independent schools (non-NGO) where the fee structure is significantly higher. Most parents invest in these private institutions for primary and secondary education based on their performance and delivery. However, this comes with a significant cost. If the family circumstances change it can alter the financial status of the parents. The loss of a family member, decline in father’s income, change in family dynamics, etc can hamper their ability to continue to send their children to school. What was once affordable becomes impossible to maintain. Families can struggle to fund the cost of education of a single child, leave alone families that have more than 2 or 3 children. Where there is no family support, these students are forced to drop out, severely compromising their education, and future career prospects.
In addition there are middle class families with humble means who may have bright or self-motivated children, who aspire to move from an average primary or secondary public school to a private school, to further their educational goals. Such families lack the means to send their children to a better more flourishing environment.
How TRMT Can Help?
TRMT aim to equalize the opportunities available to all students regardless of financial means. Our goal is not just to provide access to an education — but to provide equal access to the highest quality education.