March 12, 2011

The education emergency

Education Emergency Pakistan
I've written about the state of affairs of the Pakistani education system before. I've also talked about how and why the government refuses to spend income on educating the masses. Consider my surprise then that when I stumble upon the website, I find out that there are 26 countries in the world who are poorer than Pakistan and yet they spend more money on educating their children. Well ladies and gents (Zardari and co.) there goes your sublime myth of telling the world you don't have money. And just for the record, shame on you too!

Now when you goto that beautifully made website called March for Education (Pakistan), you will find out that there are 25 million children in Pakistan who are part of this education emergency. And what exactly is this emergency anyway?

Well the answer to that question is fairly simple. Pakistan has seen a steady and constant decline in its spending on the education sector. Consider this: There are at least 7 million children who are not in primary school. This number (7 million) is equal to the entire population of Lahore. 3 million of these children will never see the inside of a classroom.

Consider also a city the size of Faisalabad full of children. Imagine that not a single child from that sprawling metropolis will attend school and grow up to support himself or his parents as he dreams or imagines.

Under the 18th Amendment which was passed with much fanfare and jubilation, education is a fundamental right of all Pakistanis and the state pledges to educate all children up to the age of 16 years. But how does it intend to do that? According to the report issued by the Pakistan Education Task Force Pakistan is a signatory of the Millennium Development Goal for education which promises that by 2015:
...children everywhere, boys and girls alike, will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling and that girls and boys will have equal access to all levels of education.
But the problem is, and there always is a problem with Pakistan, the achievement of the MDG is now impossible. Out of every 10 children who're not is school, Pakistan is host to one of them. The real trouble is that if all the primary school children were to complete their education, they would have had to start their schooling latest by 2009. That did not materialize in Pakistan.

But there's more. At the current rate of educational progress, Punjab will provide primary education to its children by 2041, Sindh by 2049, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa by 2064 and Balochistan by 2100. A staggering order because by the years mentioned, scores of new children who require primary schooling will have been added to the population.

There are 30% of Pakistanis who are living in extreme educational poverty which means that they do not access to any kind of education due to lack of resources. So where does the government stand on this?

It stands as far as possible from this crisis. In fact Mr Javed Laghari, the supremely famous Chairman of the HECP (Higher Education Commission of Pakistan) who gained notoriety for verifying that several of our lawmakers are in fact frauds, cheats and outright bastards, suggested that Pakistan is a success story in terms of educational achievement. Quite surprising really given that the UN says we're suffering from educational poverty. Or just maybe, the UN is a Hindu-Jewish-Zionist conspiracy against the Muslims of Pakistan?

It is high time we stopped living in denial. And only God knows how many times I've said this line. But the crux of stating all of this is simple; Pakistan is sinking and there's no one to save it. We can't jump ship unlike the cheats and scoundrels ruling over us. The only thing we can do is to make our voices heard.

Head over to and sign the petition demanding that the government increase spending on the education sector. Spending just 1.5% of the GDP on education is truly tragic. And Mr Javed Laghari, you ought to shut up because suggesting Pakistan is a rising star in the education department whilst sitting in a country (Hong Kong) which spends 25% of its GDP on education is downright degrading and insulting.