By Adnan Khan.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government spends 28℅ of its budget – highest amongst provinces – on education, yet they are shutting down around one thousand schools because of low enrolment. Among these school buildings majority were built by Awami National Party’s government (which is criticized by PTI for bad governance). The sad part is that now Chief Minister Pervez Khattak is pursuing ANP’s pattern of running the government: by not giving autonomy to the educational sector to build school on need basis. Besides, there are some other weaknesses in the education system, like those of other provinces, that requires administration competence more than finance to over come it.
In Pakistan education policy is assessed by the funds allocated. Like we see normally that, ‘education budget is doubled’. This should not be the yardstick for assessing education. The quality of education and literacy must also be reckoned while evaluating education. The condition of literacy is that half of grade 3 students can read Urdu and do not understand it. But if they are asked in English the percentage falls by further half.
While schools are being shut down in some areas, there are other areas where there is dire need of schools and colleges. In Nawagai, Union council of district Buner KP, there is a degree college for girls, a building only, but it is non-functional due to lack of funds or government incompetence for more than 6 years and because of provincial government ineffectiveness, around 90℅, just to be on safe side otherwise the figure could be higher than this, of these, girls will abandon their study at the end of this term because the parents don’t have the luxury to send them into boarding schools for further education (some people might have the resources but, they will refuse to send their kids in a co-education system). Atif Khan, Minister for Education, should take this into consideration as building has already been erected and these girls deserve education.
On other hand, the condition of schools and colleges, especially girls, is that the classes are overcrowded; teachers are unable to give full attention to every student. There is also inadequacy of teachers, particularly in boy’s schools and especially in girls’ schools.
Implementation is another problem with KP government in regards to education. For instance, according to reports, KP Education Ministry is going to eradicate rote system, by changing exam pattern to concept based examination and all education boards have been informed in this regard. It is a good approach to jack up the quality of our education and will be a step towards quality education, if fully implemented.
Unfortunately, the chances are not so high — at least not in Swat Board — because when my sources inquired from board chairman his reply was “we are going with the old pattern”.
Private schools regulation remains enigma for the government of Khyber Pakhtunkhawa. There is no system for the regulation of private schools. In majority of schools in rural KP there is a shortage of basic laboratory equipment and no authority here, practically, to make the private schools answerable. Teachers might be just matric qualified (I’m a witness of some schools where matric qualified teachers are teaching to 9 and 10 grade) playing with students future.
All the aforementioned problems raise a question mark on the performance of KP government. If these issues are not addressed, it will have dire impact on our children’s future. The government should start supervision of private school (like the monitoring system for Govt. Schools). New pattern of exam (like ETEA) will be helpful in changing the paradigm of our education system.
Adnan Khan and hail from Peshawar. I’m a freelance writer and a CSS aspirant and currently I’m doing Master in International Relations.