Proper education is crucial to the development of any country. Countries with excellent education systems like Finland, the Netherlands and Sweden have populations that generally live longer and have less violent conflict and poverty. This is why investment in education is critical for a stable state. While the country has shown improvement over the past decade, education in Pakistan has a long way to go.
- According to the most recent data published by UNICEF, the rate of youth literacy in Pakistan is a little over 60%. Meanwhile, the adult literacy rate is closer to 50% within the country.
- The number of terrorist attacks on educational institutions within Pakistan has increased in recent years. The Washington Post reports there were 82 attacks from 2000 to 2008, and 642 attacks from 2009 to 2013. The Tehrik-i-Taliban (TTP), established in 2007, has taken credit for many of these attacks. In 2014, seven gunmen killed over 150 people in a public school in Peshawar. The individuals responsible were found to have ties to the TTP. Through fear, these extremist organizations discourage people from living in Pakistan from receiving an education.
- In Pakistan, over half of the adolescents not enrolled in school are female. Young girls face many barriers to education within Pakistan, but none as significant as the threats of violence. In 2012, Malala Yousafzai became the face of Pakistan’s female education problem after she was brutally attacked by a Taliban militant for speaking out against the oppressive regime.
- The Malala Fund, co-founded by Malala Yousafzai, is dedicated to helping girls receive an education. The organization helps to rebuild schools and increase female enrollment within vulnerable Pakistani and global communities.
- Pakistan’s constitution ensures the right to education for children between the ages of five and 16. However, government expenditure on education accounts for only two percent of the country’s total GDP according to the most recent data. Consequentially, schools are filled with unqualified teachers and crumbling infrastructure.
- Families living in poverty often rely on their children to contribute to the household’s income. Unfortunately, this responsibility can impede upon their ability to attend school.
- USAID has made a significant impact on education in Pakistan through its aid efforts. In addition to providing scholarships, the government agency has helped to repair over 1,000 schools and train thousands of teachers.
Pakistan continues to struggle with a variety of issues including poverty and national security. The country’s instability has taken a toll on its education system, but with the help of the international community, there is hope for substantial change within the country.
– Saroja Koneru