Education emergency in Pakistan- Citizens show concern at PETF report


LAHORE – Educational experts and citizens, on Thursday, have expressed concern over the revelations of the report issued by Pakistan Education Task Force (PETF) that says that Pakistan has been crippled by an education emergency that threatens tens of millions of children. A senior analyst and Pakistan Law College Principal Dr Humayun Ehsan said no government throughout country’s history was serious for promoting education. He said that the current leadership lacked political will, which was a crucial factor for the education promotion.
The report says that the emergency had disastrous human, social and economic consequences and even threatened the country’s security. The report also revealed that at least, seven million children, that is around as many people as residents of Lahore, haven’t been to primary schools and three million would never see a classroom at all.
Ehsan said that that there was a need for new leadership in order to take emergency measures to improve literacy in the country. He said that the lack of governess was harming country’s education. He also said Pakistanis could not expect any dramatic change under current leadership. He said, “A country where millions of bogus votes are being used during the elections can not get good leadership.” He also stressed on the importance of consistent and sound educational policy, by saying that the government changes the policies as political stunts and their only motive was to get the vote in future elections.
The report argues that Pakistan spent 2.5 per cent of its budget on schooling in 2005/2006 but now it spent only 1.5 per cent on education which was less than the subsidies given to PIA, PEPCO and Pakistan Steel. The report said provinces were allocated funds for education but failed to spend that money. Report adds that at current progress rate, no person alive today would see a Pakistan with universal education as defined in our constitution and Balochistan would see it in 2100 or later.
UNESCO’s senior national education specialist Arshad Saeed Khan said, “In the current education policy, government vowed to increase education budget by 7% till 2015 but till now they are not even near to it.” He stressed there was a need to take emergent actions in order to meet the crises and added that a government could take immediate steps in various ways. He said though 2011 was termed as national literacy year but only now government had started calling it education year. He said under such an alarming situation, government should launch a campaign in order to cope with the crises and should use the media for this purpose. He also stressed on the importance of political will and said that no hurdle could stand in front of government’s will.
Citizens said that even though the report had shocked them but it was good to see that the government at least accepted the reality. The report also says that the economic cost of not educating Pakistan was equivalent to one flood every year, the only difference being that the former was a self-inflicted disaster. Commenting on the aforesaid point, citizens urged the government to save the country from any disastrous situation and show political will for promotion of literacy in the country.