Education in Pakistan’s Punjab: Outcomes and Interventions
One of the most critical challenges Pakistan faces today is the need to improve and expand its education system. With important political and demographic changes taking place, greater devolution and strengthened democracy, this is an opportune moment to build a better system. Not only does the purpose of education have to be defined beyond what has been left over from colonial administrative objectives, but a much greater effort has to be invested in developing the skills and talents of the majority of the population. Punjab, Pakistan's largest province, has taken several education reform initiatives to improve education outcomes. However about a quarter of school age children are still not attending school either because they never enrolled or because they dropped out early. Low transition rates to secondary education are of special concern. Moreover, recent assessments have shown that students' knowledge and comprehension of basic subjects remains alarmingly low. Improved learning in schools is therefore another important challenge. Patterns in learning achievement in Punjab indicate the importance of school level factors, implying that a good school could make up for other regional and socio-economic disparities. Better quality schools also attract more students from the poorest families, because when parents expect better returns from education, the time and resources spent on schooling becomes worthwhile. This paper will review the extent to which critical gaps in achievement levels and other educational outcomes have been addressed by past policies and current reform programs.
Volume (Year): 18 (2013)
Issue (Month): Special Edition (September)
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