A Critical Assessment of Free Public Schooling in Pakistan
AbstractPakistan appeared on the map of the earth on August 14, 1947 as the British left the Indian subcontinent. The World Bank (1992) classifies Pakistan as a low income country on the basis of its per capita GNP. It is the ninth most populous and perhaps one of the fastest growing nations of the world. Unfortunately, Pakistan has also been one of the most illiterate countries of the world. Statistics collected four years after independence show that 86 percent people at that time could not read or write in any language. Taking note of this disturbing situation, almost all the relevant government documents ranging from the reports of various commissions formed to reform education to policy documents like five year plans emphasise eradication of mass illiteracy and provision of universal primary education as an objective of public policy. Free education for all has been traditionally advocated as a policy which would sooner or later achieve these goals. This policy has also been considered desirable from the view point of equity and social justice. At the time of independence, almost all the schools in the rural areas were public schools which charged only nominal tuition. In the urban areas a few private schools usually run by religious or community organisations could also be found. In October 1972, all the private schools were nationalised and education up to tenth grade was made free. Opening of private schools was again allowed in 1979. With this began an era of expensive private schools, particularly in the urban areas, existing side by side with low quality free public schools.
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Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by Pakistan Institute of Development Economics in its journal The Pakistan Development Review.
Volume (Year): 37 (1998)
Issue (Month): 4 ()
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