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Education in Pakistan: Problems and its solutions
Education the basic need
Object of Education:
Importance of Education:
Background of Pakistan’s Educational System
Educational System in Pakistan:
Key Performance Indicators for Education Systems
PROBLEMS OF EDUCATION IN PAKISTAN
1. Medium of Education:
2. Disparity of System at Provincial Level:
3. Gender Discrimination:
4. Lack of Technical Education::
5. Low allocation of funds:
6. Inefficient Teachers:
9. Social imbalance:
10. Mismanagement of System:
11. Infrastructure Problems:
12. Private school system:
13. Lack of educational policies:
14. Increase in population:
15. Lack of attention of the authorities:
16. Lack of uniform educational system:
17. Medium of Instruction:
18. Education as a business:
19. Delay in renewal of policies and syllabus
20. Political Interference:
SUGGESTED SOLUTIONS FOR EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM:
1. English should be medium of Instruction:
2. Talented and qualified Staff
3. Fulfill the lack of teachers
4. Primary education should be made compulsory:
5. Increase in teachers incentives
6. Translation of foreign research to local language
7. Check on distinctive education:-
8. Scholarships and financial support to students:
9. Special Financial packages:
10. Betterment of education policies and teachers workshop:
11. Infused Technical Education:
12. Promotion of primary education:
Education the basic need
Education is the light of the life. Education proves to one of the most important factors for the development of human civilization. Education enhances human status and leads everyone to propriety. it is a continuous and lifelong process. It attributes most important, precious and permanent property of an individual. Education provides manpower, strengthens national unity and uplifts public awareness. It invites positive and constructive change in life. It makes our life really prosperous and meaningful. Everyone wants to be well educated. Life can be successful by the help of appropriate education. Educated person can only judge what is correct and what is wrong?? And takes the appropriate and right decision but uneducated person fails to do so.
Object of Education:
Robert Maynard Hutchins describes it as “The object of education is to prepare the young to educate themselves throughout their lives.” We should give our youth the way to educate themselves. Edward Everett said that “Education is a better safeguard of liberty than a standing army.”
Importance of Education:
We all know the importance of education. It is the most important aspect of any nation’s survival today. Education builds the nations; it determines the future of a nation. ISLAM also tells us about Education and its importance. The real essence of Education according to ISLAM is “to know ALLAH” but I think in our country we truly lost. Neither our schools nor our madrassa’s (Islamic Education Centres) are truly educating our youth in this regard. In schools, we are just preparing them for “Money”. We aren’t educating them we are just preparing “Money Machines”. We are only increasing the burden of the books for our children and just enrolling them in a reputed, big school for what, just for social status??? On the other hand in our madrassas we are preparing people who finds very difficult to adjust in the modern society. Sometimes it seems that they are from another planet. A madrassa student can’t compete even in our country then the World is so far from him. He finds very difficult to even speak to a school boy. It is crystal clear that Islamic Education is necessary for Muslims but it is also a fact that without modern education no one can compete in this world. There are many examples of Muslim Scholars who not only study the Holy Quraan but also mastered the other subjects like Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Astronomy and many more, with the help of Holy Quraan. I think with the current education system we are narrowing the way for our children instead of widening it. There is no doubt that our children are very talented, both in schools and in madrassas, we just need to give them proper ways to groom, give them the space to become Quaid-E-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Allama Iqbal, Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, Alberoni, Abnalhasam, or Einstein, Newton, Thomas Edison. The education system we are running with is not working anymore. We have to find a way to bridge this gap between school and madrassa.
Background of Pakistan’s Educational System
Numerous international assessments could explore that Pakistan is lagging behind many countries in achieving the Education for All goal (EFA). We were the signatory to the treaty under Dakar Framework where it was decided by all the developing countries that they will be trying to achieve the target of EFI in the meeting held in Senegal in 2000. UNESCO rates in Pakistan are at a lower EFA development Index (EDI) because of low; enrolment at primary school, adult literacy, gender equity and equality, equalities in education and quality of education. The adult literacy in Pakistan, in spite of concerted efforts, fail to go beyond the border line of 50 percent. The women literacy is much more belittling as thirty three percent of the adult women cannot even read. The more embracing would be that we would not be catching the target to achieve the adult literacy by 2015. Progress towards the achievement of the targets is exceptionally slow, while gender parity goal is at risk of not being achieved by 2015. Moreover, more than 6 million children are out of school.
Educational System in Pakistan:
Education system in Pakistan is really having a bad configuration at the moment. There is no doubt in accepting the fact that education stands the backbone for the development of nations. Looking at the history of nations, we may safely reach the conclusion that the advanced nations of the world could reach the zenith of prestige and power taking support from education. The allocations for education are too meager, and in spite of allocation, the amount is not spent for what it was meant for as the corruption is found in all the tiers of education and also because of the same delivery from the government institutions that is much below the desired and aspired levels. Private education in Pakistan is far reaching for the poor and the turnover of this quality education does not serve the country the way they are supposed to. Planning for education does not go in congruence with the needs and implement remains ever ignored, so by this way the system is getting more spoiled rather than flourishing. Our universities have failed to produce the planners, developers, implementers, and decision makers. Rather the turnover is a mismatch with the ground realities, the half backed persons we are producing are of no use to us. The students we come across are degree seekers rather than the knowledge. The increase in number of colleges and universities does not mean that we are going by the standards rather these are worsening, a simple evidence of which is that no Pakistani university could find a space among the top 1000 universities of the world. The socio-economic scenario is directly attached with the status of Education in the country. The developed world managed to scale up their education in line with the needs and market requirements. Despite the recent achievements, a lot more is needed to be done as the country still faces numerous challenges which cause deterrence. We are under obligation to raise the education of our population to the level of our South Asian neighbors, to combat our own social and economic wants to the satisfactory level.
The very scale of Pakistan’s education sector -- more than 150,000 public education institutions serving over 21 million students and a huge private sector that serves another 12 million – presents formidable challenges.
Education is found to be the cheapest and tangible defense mechanism for a nation on the social, political, and economic fronts. But the down trodden condition of education in Pakistan bears an ample testimony of the fact that it is unable to defend its own sector. Over the span of 64 years, the nation has been given the 23 policies and action plans but we could not start the march towards success and are waiting for a savior who could take the system out of turmoil. There were ample spending in the government of Pervaiz Musharraf on education and due to which, we could see the visible positive educational change in Pakistani society. Currently the economic situation in Pakistan is under severe stress and education sector has received the highest impact in Pakistan. The Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan has led to the fact in the following words,
“The state of Pakistan shall remove illiteracy and provide free and compulsory secondary education within minimum possible period.”
In Human development Report, Pakistan is placed at 136th position because its 49.9% population comes under the definition of education. The dropout rate is alarmingly high at the primary level; consequently, it is revealed by the Data Center of UNESCO, that 33.8% females and 47.18% in males could pass through the most initial level of education. We may be conclusive about the ground reality that people in the 6th largest country of the world have no access to the basic education even.
Key Performance Indicators for Education Systems
The frequently used indicators for assessing education and its systems are adult literacy rates, male and female enrollment at different levels of education, participation rate in the different areas of the country; the dropout rates, the amount of resources allocated to education as a proportion of the GDP and some measures of the quality of education being pursued. At the moment, the workability of these indicators rests on the footing of authenticated and recent data so that the planning details may be worked out with confidence. Irony of fate, the indicators, their footings and the quality of data all want more authenticity, but unfortunately, Pakistan's record lacks objectivity and rationality on all counts.
PROBLEMS OF EDUCATION IN PAKISTAN
1. Medium of Education:
The system of education in Pakistan is operative in match with the local needs and ground realities. It is almost a decisive factor that the education in the mother tongue surrenders more dividends but we have the system more segregated and diversified just contrary to our requirements. A good example of it is that we fail to decide about the Medium of education over the span of 64 years. Different mediums are operational in both, public and private sector. This creates a sort of disparity among people, dividing them into two segments.
21. Disparity of System at Provincial Level::
The Regions of Pakistan in the name of provinces are not at par as regards the infrastructure, availability of staff, their training, content mastery allocation of resources and their utilization. This develops a disparity not only in the system but in the turnover too. There is a need to revisit the schools in Baluchistan (The Largest Province of Pakistan by area) because these are not that much groomed as that of Punjab (The Largest Province of Pakistan by Population). In FATA, the literacy rate is deplorable constituting 29.5% in males and 3% in females. The conditions are to be made more congenial about teaching and learning in all parts of the country without any discretion.
22. Gender Discrimination::
We should have know how of the population comprising females, unfortunately their education is not attended to the way it was deemed fit. The gender discrimination is a cause that is contributing towards the low participation rate of girls at the basic level of education. The male and female participation ratio is projected at the primary school in the shape of ratio of boys & girls as 10:4 respectively. In the decade passed, government invited private sector to shoulder the responsibility of education of the youth. The intent was also to provide the education at the doorstep to the children especially the female students. The private sector took up the challenge and there was an increase in the growth of private schools but this step didn’t cause the increase in the students or the quality. The masses could not be attracted because of precious education. It created clear cut tiers of society and created a gap among those with the haves and have not’s.
23. Lack of Technical Education::
There is a craze for the white collar jobs for the same pupils. Select the general rut of education, though they have the least tilt or the capacity to cope with the demands. China, Japan and Germany have the ruts for those who have a taste for and do not achieve the excellence in the general rut of education. We have kept the opportunities open for all to participate in general education at all levels especially the university level. We could not attract the general masses towards technical education making them to earn of their own act as the entrepreneurs and make their living without being the burden on the government. Education system is needed to be revamped making a space for the science, IT, management, and pupil with the excellence to go to the higher education pursuing the education of their own choice. Lesser emphasis on technical education means the lesser manpower for industry and hence the lesser finance generation.
24. Low allocation of funds::
The allocation of funds for education is very low as it never went beyond 1.5 to 2.0 percent of the total GDP. Even this amount was not utilized and had to be surrendered back to the government because of want of expertise and the knowledge of codal formalities and in time release of funds. There is a need to increase it around 7% of the total GDP keeping in view the allocations by the neighboring countries, there is also a need to rationalize the share at the different levels not ignoring any.
25. Inefficient Teachers::
Government fails to attract the potential candidates for teaching with the zeal vigor and excellent carrier. Teaching is rated as the lowest among the jobs for the youth, because of lesser incentives, slow promotions and lesser fringe benefits. The teachers in government schools are not well groomed and equipped with knowledge and training. People who do not get job in any other sector, they try their luck in educational system. There is a need to reorganize pre-service and in-service trainings making them matched with the requirements rather to keep them ideal, unique and novel.
Poverty is growing over the years. The average class is vanishing like anything. It happens to be a curse for the nation that exists without having the average income group. The escalation of poverty has restricted the parents to send their children to tasks for child labor or at least to public or private schools. In these schools, the drop out is very high because schools are not the attractive places, the curriculum is dry and the teaching does not match the live situations. Poor parents are constrained to send their children to madressahs where the education is totally free.
Corruption causes the educational policies, plans and projects to fail because of being the major contributing factor. There is no accountability and transparency in the system, the salaries are low, the incentives are too less to be accounted and even those are uneven. An estimated Rs. 2,594 million out of a total of Rs. 7,016 million provided for improvement of school facilities such as buildings, electricity, drinkable water, etc had gone unaccounted during the fiscal periods 2001-06 (UNESCO Bano, 2007). Similarly, more than 70% literacy centers in Punjab remained inoperative or exist only on paper (ADBP, 2007). The chances of ghost schools should be evaded by involving the community in the processes of inspection and monitoring.
28. Social imbalance::
The students from the elite class follow the "O" and "A" levels curriculum instead of Pakistan's routine orthodox and stagnant curriculum. They have little or no awareness of their religion and culture whereas those passing out from Urdu medium schools are usually destined to work in clerical and lower level positions. Religious madrassas churn out yet another class that is usually unaware of the world outside their own perception.
29. Mismanagement of System::
Teachers’ absenteeism, poor professional training, sub-standard materials and obsolete teaching methods act as the major contributive factors towards the low enrolment in schools. Burki (2005), opines that most of the public schools are either mismanaged or poorly managed. They are found imparting education of second-rate quality through substandard textbooks and curricula that do not cater the needs of the 21st century. The education should be based on learning outcomes through suggesting multiple books rather than following a single book as an obligation.
30. Infrastructure Problems::
The dropout rate of those lucky enough to be enrolled goes beyond 45% as has been divulged by the several reports. Most of the public sector educational institutions stay in a status of poor condition lacking even basic facilities, resultantly shaking the presupposed standards of education. There are four areas that snivel for pressing concentration which are curriculum, textbooks, examinations, and teacher training (Hoodbhoy, 2001). The textbooks need be made more facilitating, student and learning friendly.
31. Private school system::
Private Schools in Pakistan enroll more students than in other countries of the region. They least bother about the capacity and facilities available, they rather over burden the teaching staff. The rapid mushroom growth of private schools and academies of teaching reflect the people's lack of trust in the public sector schools coupled with a deficiency of sufficient educational institutions to cater to the needs of the fast growing population. However, there are certain private schools which are slightly better than the public ones. In the elite schools where the quality education is offered, heavy fees is charged that continues to be a problem. These private sectors schools are meant only for a special sector of the population and are out of the reach of general masses. The private sector schools should be brought under the control of rules making these somewhat accessible for the common population.
32. Lack of educational policies::
The National Education Policy (1998-2010) was developed prior to Dakar. It has a clear cut vision and direction to support the education department. Since the 2001, the Ministry of Education has developed a number of policy documents including that of National Education policy (2009) but the endeavors remain focused on paper work more rather than the operationalization, though the involvement of NGOs and international development agencies is very much there. The simple reason is that the plans are vicious and not the ground reality based. The policies should be environment friendly. .
33. Increase in population::
Literacy in Pakistan has risen from 45 to 54 percent within the span of 2002 to 2006, simultaneously primary enrollment rates have also increased from 42 to 52 percent. The population explosion could not enable to catch the targets. In spite of the increase in the certain parameters, the participation rate in Pakistan remains the lowest in South Asia. Alongside it, there are marked male-female, inter-regional and rural-urban disparities: Only 22 percent of girls, compared to 47 percent boys, complete primary schooling. Female literacy in rural Baluchistan is only 32 percent compared to high urban male literacy rates (and 80 percent among the urban male in Sindh)
34. Lack of attention of the authorities::
Most of the criticisms leveled against the education procedures and practices may be rationalized through improving governance and accountability. It would be tangible and workable if we could go for considering the merit, enabling capacity building, increasing investments in education as an industry and finally giving the heir and fire powers to the administrative heads. The private sector and the banks should finance the educational milieu with confidence, as at the moment, we are spending 2.3 percent of GDP which is the lowest in South Asia.
35. Lack of uniform educational system::
There is a crying need for quality which calls for homogeneity among the procedural formalities like the observance of the curriculum. Had it been uniform the working for it, further extension becomes easier and getting the intellect skimmed out of masses becomes possible. Currently, the poor are deprived of education in the elite institutions which are causing the development of a special class. This class doesn’t work for the nation; they work elsewhere but are fed through the national resources.
36. Medium of Instruction::
We took a long period in deciding that what our medium of instruction would be, till now we don’t have a clear picture before us. It is good to have the National language as the medium of communication provided; we have a rich treasure of knowledge. In our case, we do not fail to develop Urdu to cope with the intellectual needs nor do we translate the treasure of knowledge available for our national use.
37. Education as a business::
Education has been pursued by some of the people as an industry but because of being illiterates, they fail to cope up with the stipulated standards. The leader with vision spoils the mission as well as the projects undertaken. Their only intent is money making that has caused the decay in the standards, induction of sub-standard staff, and depriving the deserving to grow. They don’t want to catch with the move of success but they try to be good entrepreneurs.
38. Delay in renewal of policies and syllabus/Political Interference::
There is a need to continuously update the curriculum because if it goes stale, it does not equip the beneficiaries with the saleable skills and expertise. At the first place, the problems cited have arisen due to lack of commitment and inefficient management on the part of state. The policies lack long term vision and its implementation strategies are being affected by undue political interference. In addition to it, the measures taken are not evidence based and geared by the vested interests of the authorities. Whatever strategies have been applied failed to promote the rational and critical thinking skills amongst the students.
At the second place, we find lack of resource commitment and realistic implementation alongside poor allocated resource utilization. As relevant statistics are not available, implementation of the education policy has not been successfully executed.
At the third place, we come across weak budgetary planning because of staggered data and least coordination among the data maintaining units (USAID, 2006). The coordination, match with the assessment, project design and implementation are not to the desired level within the government and with the donor agencies. The harmonization is missing too between the federal and provincial governments which cause drastic problems in the policy implementation.
The policy formulating, planning and implementing bodies work in isolation as the water tight compartments. The government's consultation is very much restricted and does not go beyond its specific quarters. It should have to be extended to non-state sectors to initiate and mobilize the action. Teachers does not normally form the part of policy making process, hence the process of sharing and consultation remains missing. It leads to implementation of educational policies without consultation, thus the efforts go in vain (UNESCO, 2007).
Over the span of time, what we have learnt is to go for dialogue, and keeping the private and public sector on board. The matter of access to education and challenges to quality remain at stake as being unresolved despite much policy deliberation.
Recently, Minister of Education announced a new Education policy for that next 10 years ignoring the fact that the previous educational policy span still persists that was from 1998 to 2010. The policy has projected new plans and promises to the nation pointing to the fact that all the public schools will be raised to the level of private schools within the shortest period of time. In the absence of a plan of action, the suggested plan of action would not work. The schools have been put under obligation to use the national curriculum and encourage the students of 5th and 8th class to take board exams. This has disturbed the students of private sector also.
It is urged that the Universities should be the research centre’s and must not be allowed to act as the examining bodies for graduate or post-graduate examinations. Allocations are supposed to be made to the aspired levels as UNO suggests a country to allocate at least four percent of its GDP towards education but here in Pakistan we are just allocating less than two percents of GDP. Even that is not fully utilized because of procedural formalities.
Suggested Solutions for Educational System:
13. English should be medium of Instruction:
English language should be the medium of instruction from beginning to the higher levels of learning. National language should be a supporting language for communication facilitation and every day business. Efforts should be made to enhance the knowledge treasure in the national language through translation of the research based information.
14. Talented and qualified Staff
Hiring should be made from amongst the highly qualified and the teachers should be paid not according to the level of education but the qualification of the staff.
15. Fulfill the lack of teachers:
Efforts should be made to bring down the student-teacher ratio to 15:1 in lieu of current 40:1. Consequently, the number of teachers will have to be enhanced, leading to the rise in number of teachers and enabling the competent persons to be inducted to the system of education.
16. Primary education should be made compulsory:
Primary education should be made compulsory and free (it is already free of cost but not compulsory). It should also be made appealing, impressive, interesting and utilitarian to attract the general masses.
17. Increase in teachers incentives
Teachers should be offered more financial benefits by increasing their pays.
18. Translation of foreign research to local language
University professors should be encouraged to conduct and share the research to the concerned stakeholders. They should also be asked to translate the foreign research into local languages for sharing it with the lower formations of education enabling them to implement/take benefit out of it.
19. Check on distinctive education:-
Government should strictly check all private educational institutions for keeping a balance of standards and level of practices.
20. Scholarships and financial support to students:
Students should be offered more scholarships and government should support the intelligent and outstanding students to prosper, develop and serve their local community rather than migrating to the big cities.
21. Special Financial packages:
The dilemma here in Pakistan is that students are genius but they use their intelligence in negative way, hence, contributing nothing towards the development of country. Another problem with Pakistan is brain drain. Capable and outstanding professionals prefer foreign jobs instead of serving in their own country. This is due to the low financial benefits and indifferent attitude of government towards them. Recently Government should provide them facilities and special financial packages to encourage them to stay in their own country.
22. Betterment of education policies and teachers workshop:
In the view of importance of education, the Government should take solid steps towards implementation instead of projecting policies. In this regard, the allocations should be made easy and timely from provinces to districts and then to educational institutes. Workshops must be arranged for teachers as a continuous feature for learning.
23. Infused Technical Education:
Technical education should be infused into the regular system stream. The education board of Punjab has projected a plan to give tech- education to the children of industrial workers.
24. Promotion of primary education:
Promotion of the primary education should be made possible by consulting teachers, professors and educationists while devising any plan, syllabus or policy for it. There should be a balance in reliance on public and private for enabling education to reach the general masses in its true shape. Students’ outlook is to be broadened by taking them out of the books into the practical realities. Education is the only cure of disability of the state and for bringing revolution through evolution and by eradicating the social evils through education.
Education serves as the backbone for the development of nations. The countries with the effective impressive need oriented, saleable and effective system of education comes out to be the leaders of the world, both socially and economically. It is only education which can turn a burden of population into productive human resource. Pakistan's current state demands that the allocations for education be doubled to meet the challenges of EFI, gender disparity and provision of teachers in the work places earlier than 2018 as per stipulated qualifications. Millennium Development Goals are yet to be realized latest by 2015.
The natural calamities, political turbulence, provincialisms, and political motivations make the best planned, fail. The allocations towards the sector of education could not be enhanced because of the earlier. We have to revisit our priorities to keep the country on the track of progress.
Last edited by Shooting Star; Thursday, August 29, 2013 at 08:49 PM. Reason: Do not use red colour.
There are two systems of education in Pakistan: traditional and modern. The traditional system, which focuses on Islam, has experienced an exponential growth since the 1970s, influenced by the wave of Islamic fundamentalism from Iran. In the late 1990s, the traditional Islamic schools, called madrassahs, came increasingly under the influence of the anti-West Taliban movement in Afghanistan. The traditional schools have multiplied tenfold, for the large part training mujahideens whom the government of General Parvez Musharraf, who assumed authority in October, 1999, has lauded as freedom fighters, ready to wage a jihad (religious war) through terrorist activities against nonbelievers. While only 4,350 madrassahs are registered with the government, the actual number has been estimated at between 40,000 to 50,000. A revealing article by U.S. anti-terrorist expert Jessica Stern in Foreign Affairs (November-December 2000) has warned the world about the kind of "education" imparted by these "Schools of Hate" and their role in creating a "mindset" for jihad.
A critical examination of the modern formal education system extending from primary to the university levels by experts ranging from the World Bank to those in research institutes in Pakistan has found the colleges in the country "sub-standard, bureaucratic, government-controlled, poor and inefficient," to quote Tariq Rahman of the National Institute of Pakistan Studies of the Quaid-I-Azam University. Such criticism fails to explain how the several hundred thousand Pakistani graduates who have migrated to the West, notably to Great Britain, the United States, and Canada, mostly as professionals—whether as doctors, engineers, pharmacists or educators—have with only marginal additional training been able to compete with the very best in those advanced countries.
Pakistan came into being when colonial British rule on the Indian subcontinent ended in August 1947 and the two sovereign states of India and Pakistan were created. Of these, Pakistan constituted two wings—West and East—separated by more than one thousand miles of Indian territory. The new state was the result of a demand for a separate homeland for India's Muslims as articulated by the Muslim League political party and its sole spokesman, Mohammed Ali Jinnah (1876-1948). The Lahore Resolution, adopted by the Muslim League in 1940, however, had called for independent states in the northeast and northwest. That was changed by Muslim League legislators in 1946, who called for a single Muslim state, Pakistan. The new state's capital was Karachi. Partition still left one-third of the subcontinent's Muslims in India; after the separation of East Pakistan and the birth of Bangladesh in 1971, Pakistan was left with 45 percent of its original population, the number of its Muslim citizens being less than those in India.
For the first 24 years of its history, Pakistan had two constituent parts: West Pakistan, comprising the four provinces of the Punjab (western half of the old Punjab), Sind, the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP), and Baluchistan; and East Pakistan, comprising East Bengal, which seceded after a bitter political struggle and military conflict from Pakistan in December 1971 to become the new state of Bangladesh with 55 percent of the population. Pakistan is bounded to the west by Iran, by India to the east, China to the northeast and Afghanistan in the north. There are federally ruled territories, including the capital of Islamabad, and the country controls a part of the former princely state of Jammu and Kashmir.
Pakistan traces its history of education to the advent of Islam and Islamic/Arabic culture to the Indian subcontinent with the invasion of Muhammad bin Qasim in Sind in 712 A.D.. By that time, the Arabs had already distinguished themselves not only as conquerors and administrators over vast territories in the Middle East and North Africa but even more significantly as creators of a culture replete with literature, art, architecture, and religious studies. With the establishment of Muslim rule at Delhi in 1208 A.D., the Islamic culture made extensive inroads on the subcontinent, converting a quarter of its population to Islam over the next five centuries.
The traditional school system had been the mainstay of education among Muslims of the subcontinent from the thirteenth to the eighteenth centuries until the rise of the British power beginning in 1757. Increasingly, some leaders of the Muslim community, notably Sir Sayyid Ahmad Khan (1817-1898), urged the Muslim youth to join the modern educational system initiated by the British. With the adoption of English as a medium of instruction after Thomas Babington Macaulay's infamous minute in 1835, and the rapid increase in the number of educational institutions following Sir Charles Wood's Education Despatch of July 1854, learning in Sanskrit, Arabic, and Persian receded, making way for English and for the adoption of Western education. In 1857 three universities were established in the "presidency" cities of Calcutta, Bombay, and Madras, producing not only the subordinate bureaucrats as intended but also hundreds of university graduates wanting to take up higher education in the social sciences, humanities, and natural sciences.
Hindus took more readily to the new education than did the Muslims. Muslim leaders such as Sir Sayyid saw the danger that their co-religionists would fall behind the Hindus and be kept out of the bureaucracy if they did not prefer the modern educational system over the traditional. Under Sir Sayyid's leadership, the Anglo-Oriental College (later upgraded to Aligarh Muslim University) was founded in 1875. It did not eliminate the traditional system of education, but there is no doubt that it seriously undermined its standing and standards. The Anglo-Oriental College provided higher education on the British pattern (more particularly that of Cambridge University) and produced a remarkable leadership for the Muslims of the subcontinent, particularly in present-day Uttar Pradesh, for educational, social, and legal reform and promoted the Muslim nationalist movement, which eventually led to the partition of the subcontinent and the birth of Pakistan. It also produced brilliant graduates, who went to England for higher education, some of them serving in the Indian Civil Service, which prided itself in being the iron framework of the British imperial edifice in India.
Roughly 67 percent or two-thirds of Pakistan's population of 129,871,000 (1995 estimate) lives in rural areas, leaving about 43 million in urban areas. Nationwide, children between ages 5 and 9, the primary school age, numbered about 16.8 million, while those between 10 and 17, at which point they would reach the 12th grade, numbered about 21.7 million. In general, the population is young, with persons below 30 numbering about 65 million, accounting for 50 percent of the total.
The population comprises five ethnic groups: the Punjabis, constituting the majority at 63 percent of the total; the Sindhis, at 12 percent; the Pathans, at 16 percent; Baluchis, at 5 percent; and mohajirs (literally, immigrants), who were primarily the result of a massive migration in 1947 mainly from India's state of Bihar. Corresponding to these categories are the linguistic groups, though they do not necessarily match the administrative boundaries. The languages claimed by the people in the census as mother tongue include: Punjabi, Sindhi, Pashto, Baluchi and Brahui, the last two being used in Baluchistan.
Although Urdu is claimed by a small percentage (eight percent) as their mother tongue, it enjoys the status of the national language largely because of its historical importance during the movement for the Muslim homeland. Urdu, the language of the educated Muslim elite from Northern India who provided critical leadership to the nationalist movement for the creation of Pakistan, draws substantially on Persian and Arabic for its vocabulary and uses a modified version of the Persian script, which is written from right to left. Since the birth of Pakistan, Urdu is taught in all schools; in Punjab, it is taught as first language and its script is used by those writing in Punjabi.
English was used from the beginning as a national language for official purposes. And though the 1956 constitution limited its use for 20 years, the 1973 constitution stipulated a 15-year period during which Urdu would completely replace English for official purposes. This has not happened.
Almost all the people—97 percent—are Muslims, two-thirds of whom are Sunnis professing the orthodox Hanafi school of jurisprudence. Nearly one-third are Shi'ites, who are subdivided into Ismailis (followers of the Agha Khan), the Twelvers (Ithna Asharis), and Bohras. Besides these, there is a very small though influential sect of the Ahmadiyahs, or Qadianis, who do not accept Muhammad as the final prophet, which constitutes the first of the five basic tenets of Islam. In 1974, a constitutional amendment categorized the Ahmadiyahs as non-Muslims; they were grossly persecuted during the decade-long Zia regime (1977-88). Hindus and Christians account for 1.5 percent each, and there are small numbers of Parsis or Zoroastrians, with a very high percentage of graduates and professionals.
At the time of the country's birth in 1947, large-scale human migrations took place: an estimated 4.7 million left Pakistan for India while 6.5 million came to Pakistan with a net gain in population of 1.8 million. The largest demographic changes occurred in the Punjab, which gained 5.2 million and lost 3.6 million. The second largest to suffer demographic changes was Sind, which lost most of its Hindu population, which had controlled more than 90 percent of its economy and held important positions in bureaucracy, education, and the professions. Most immigrants flocked to the cities; in 1951, nearly one-half of the population in the major cities were immigrants, including a very large group from India's Bihar state. The Biharis and their descendants are pejoratively called mohajirs (immigrants), a term that should have applied to everybody who came from outside and should, in all fairness, have a terminal date, after which time they should be considered regular inhabitants of the land. The Biharis, who concentrated in Karachi, remain unintegrated into the Pakistani society even a half-century after their initial migration. During the very unsettling conditions in Afghanistan in the late 1970s and early 1980s, an estimated 3.7 million refugees moved into Northwest Pakistan, placing an economic burden on all the facilities, including the educational system.