After 61 years of independence today in 2007, Pakistan lacks in an equitable education system. Educational indicators remain alarming, which include low public spending, low literacy and enrollment levels, high dropout levels, unequal opportunities, poor infrastructure and lack of trainings for professional development of people engaged in education sector. According to ’UNDP: Millennium development goals Pakistan” report Pakistan is not on the right track to achieve it in all levels by 2015, this situation explicitly reflects the state of education in the country. Which may be rooted in the unsuited policies or not having actual implementation.
Education is a basic human right, in Pakistan free elementary education is the state’s responsibility (according to article 2-ab of constitution) but unfortunately, it has never been a top national priority. Thus, it did not get serious attention and adequate resources. Today there are 27 million children in the primary school age bracket (five to nine), of whom 13 million are not enrolled. Approximately 50 per cent of enrolled children drop out before completing primary education. A recent report reveals that in Pakistan there is 36.3 percent literacy rate, 51 percent net primary enrollment ratio and 50.3 percent adult literacy.
So far nine educational policies have been announced by governments, Though the major portions of the policies remained the same, however implementation of the policies varied in nature and spirit depending on the priority of each successive government Political parties form a link between the state and society; they are involved in determining the particular shape of the social institutions unfortunately it is has been observed that even parties protest against the dictator ship but they them selves practice same thing such contradictions hinder the flourishing of normal democratic culture. Even call for APCs, signing of charters, passing declarations, and forming alliances and pledges to be one voice are echoed in the politics but parties give a very little consultation towards the better formulation of policies. All parties, however agree entirely that the answer to Pakistan’s problems is in the stability of parliament and democracy, but yet no any party has become mature enough to practice inter party democracy, no only the leadership, but whole party body is selected, the electoral candidates also receive tickets on non democratic basis there fore they are stronger enough to rely and oblige their parties and they change parties on the basis of their personal interests.
On education, mostly parties have agendas on similar themes like Resources allocation quality education, literacy, teachers and teachers’ training, employment consideration, skill development, Vocational education, Private sector, institutional development, higher education, management ,decentralization, community participation, science and technology education, examination, adult education, Scholarships, financial help of students, teachers and teacher training etc but the important thing is that what the parties has focused under these themes and further more what solution they have conceived and with what clarity and commitment. Different parties has placed different issues at the core of their policy and has emphasis with different degree on different themes mentioned above, but mostly it is found parties’ agendas are vague and theoretical with little or no details of funding and operational plans in most cases. In other words, parties promise result in their manifestoes but they rarely recognize the policy line to answer the “how” questions immediately raising after these promises
No party has made any specific commitments for improving governance and promoting accountability in the education system parties talk about quality of existing colleges, increasing the number of higher educational institutions, merit and the autonomy of Higher Education Commission (HEC) but make no clear and time-bound commitments.
The Manifesto of the PML (Nawaz) assures the quality of education at its top most priority and party recognizes the role of Teachers’ important in provision of quality education. PML plans to improve quality by interconnecting all universities. PMLN also mentions to providing 10 computers to each government high school and transforming 2000 government high schools in smart schools and to implement crash teacher training programmes and reforming training infrastructure to provide high quality education in each school. Party also discuss in its manifesto to introduce inspection system to evaluate performance of teachers and institutions that will add to the quality of education. Students-teachers ratio is also stated to be rationalized for which recruitment of teachers through district based competitive examinations will take place.
MQM Promises quality education on equality basis for which it has a policy to abolish present dual system of education and to standardize the education system as in private, grammar schools MQM rationalizes it with its experience of some municipal schools in Karachi established by MQM at an equal footing with top class. MQM manifesto do not describe their indicators of quality other than those inspired by “grammar schools” and Party wants Special measures to support scientific research
PPP, however, shows it self committed with the quality of education for which it promises inputs of teacher training, curriculum review, provision of computers and textbooks at school level and introduce new techniques of testing and evaluation—but all these lofty ideas has not any plan of operation or a clear vision or policy line on these issues in its manifesto. There are also some serious contradictions found in the manifestoes of the parties for example PML N and MQM are very against the multi-class based education system, but at the same time they show very tender policy towards private institutions PML N manifesto, manifests that “Party has the policy to standardize and adopt National curricula at all levels to eliminate multi-class system based education in the country” but in the same manifesto it is also written that Party has the policy to standardize and adopt National curricula at all levels to eliminate multi-class system based education in the country
Relatively, the manifestoes of PPP and PML-N are is more in line with the current needs it shows it self committed with the quality of education for which it promises inputs of teacher training, curriculum review, provision of computers and textbooks at school level and introduce new techniques of testing and evaluation. In the past, political parties have made significant departures from the promises made in the manifestos; now it is up to those parties which are the part of government that how they respond to their own articulations….