Educational Development in Pakistan- a glimpse through history

 In 1947, when Pakistan got independence from Britain, almost 85% population was illiterate, and situation of women in terms of education was even more worst especially in remote and backward areas.

According to Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Article 25- A “The state shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of five to sixteen years in such a manner as may be determined by law“.

“National Education Conference (1947)”
One of the first steps towards education development in Pakistan was the National Education Conference in 1947. The Quaid-e-Azam, in his message to the Conferences said,

Nation Education Conference which was held in 1947, was one of the main steps towards developing the education system and structure of Pakistan. In this conference father of the nation, Quaid e Azam said,

“There is no doubt that the future of our State will and must greatly depend upon the type of education we give to our children, and the way in which we bring them up as future citizens of Pakistan ….. We should not forget that we have to compete with the world which is moving very fast in this direction.”

“National Plan of Educational Development (1951-57)”

A Conference on Educational Development was held in 1951, where the main agenda was to develop a plan for period of six years (i.e. from 1951- 1957). In this conference the main hurdle identified in the way of development in education sector was “Untrained Teachers”. As few researches in this field explained that the ratio of trained and untrained teachers was 50- 50 at primary school level.

The plan proposed to establish over 24,000 new primary schools, and the expansion of primary schools would require over 86,000 additional teachers.

24,000 new primary schools were established while 86,000 new teachers were added according to this plan. But the results were not desirable.

“First Five Year Plan (1955-60)”
The recommendations and programmes of the six year national plan of educational development were taken into consideration by the planning board of the government.

After this, first six year plan, another plan of six year plan for educational development was recommended. The government approved several other programmes for nation education development. According to this plan, within 20 years  a system of free primary education both for girls and boys was initiated with a proclamation that, “a system of universal primary education is imperative”. According to this plan it was decided to add 4000 new schools in system, and a sum of Rs. 58,070 million were allocated for this national educational development program.

“National Education Commission 1959”

National Education Commission was established on 30th Dec., 1958, which was led by Mr. S. M. Sharif who was Chief Secretary at that time.

The commission started formulating a national education policy on 5th Jan., 1959 and submitted the policy which was comprised of 350 pages on 29th August, 1959. This policy comprised of following main point;

  1. Establishment of Higher Education, Vocational Training, Primary Education, Adult Education, Secondary Education, The Arts, Religious Education, Physical Education, Education for Disables and Military Training institutes was emphasized by the commission.
  2. Teachers training and their welfare/prosperity were suggested.
  3. Duration for graduation i.e. B.A/BSc. was suggested to increase up to three years.
  4. Passing marks for individual subjects was proposed to set at 50% while aggregate for passing whole exam was suggested to fix at 40%.
  5. Education of Islam and Quran was made compulsory.
  6. Urdu was considered as compulsory from sixth standard to higher degree levels.
  7. Initial education duration was suggested to fix at eight years.

These all suggestion which were made by National Education Commission were very useful, but due to many reasons prevailing in the country either of resources or political become hurdle in implementing this plan to full extant.

“Second Five Year Plan (1960-65)”
The Planning Commission of Pakistan, then developed second plan of five years. This plan suggested that,

  1. “compulsory schooling for the age group six to eleven should be provided within a period of ten years and within another five years for the eleven to fourteen years age groups”. 
  2. It was suggested to put intermediate classes under board of secondary education (that were under jurisdiction of universities at that time).
  3. B.A./B.Sc. duration was extended to three years from two years study plan.
  4. Four years degree course was suggested to extend up to four years.
  5. Much emphasis was given to science subjects at higher secondary level.
  6. A budget requirement for this plan was Rs. 463 million only.
  7. A separate public service commission was suggested for Federal and Provinces.

“Third Five Year Plan (1965-70)”
According to this plan “the concept of education as a vital national investment and a major determination of the nation’s economic growth.” The aimed at;

  1. Increasing enrollment at primary level from 45 % to 70% till 1970.
  2. An implied increase of about 2.8 million children till 1970 at primary level was suggested.
  3. 42,500 new schools were proposed for West Pakistan under this plan.

“11th Five Year Plan (2013-18)”

According to this plan, the main aim is to enhance and improve overall administrative and management capacities of education sector at all levels. It aimed to increase and encourage private sector along with public- private sector participation to invest more and more in education sector.

This plan also include many reforms in governance, structure of education, and overall regulatory system of education. According to this system, many new structural reforms are also suggested, which if implemented accordingly will be the hope for survival in this fast moving world for Pakistan in terms of educational development.

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