Das Erziehungswesen in Pakistan

  • Wolfgang-Peter Zingel (Author)

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The problems confronting Pakistan and Bangladesh in the field of education appear to be almost insoluble. At the time of its partition in 1971, Pakistan as a whole was ranking among the last on the international scale as regards the rate of illiteracy as well as its efforts in the field of education. The percentage of drop-outs and pupils and students who fail to pass the final exams is extremely high in all sectors of the educational system. The quality of teaching is debatable. Students prefer liberal arts and social sciences to an extent which does not seem to be justifiable by the need of experts in these disciplines, whereas the interest in natural sciences, technical profession and, above all, vocational training is low. The unsatisfactory situation in the field of education can not be ascribed to the country’s poor economic condition only, but it is the result of an educational policy which dispensed with a broad campaign against illiteracy and the introduction of compulsory schooling and instead concentrated on the intermediate and higher institutions of learning attended mainly by the urban male youth from the middle and high bracket income classes. The Central Government left the control of the educational system with all its financial implications almost entirely to the individual provinces. It was the educational policy which to a large extent determined the more favorable economic development of West Pakistan since no efforts were made to meet East Pakistan’s shortage of skilled personel by major improvements of the educational facilities in Bengal. Lacking a sufficient number of specialists, however, East Pakistan was hardly in the position to prepare the necessary development projects in such a way that they could be taken up by foreign and national investors. The “vicious circle” is closed since, without investments, East Pakistan did not attain the economic growth which — by means of correspondingly higher tax revenue — could have ensured an improvement and extension of the educational system. This article attempts to describe the development of the Pakistan educational system up until about 1970. An account of the latest development, in particular after partition, was not given since the necessary data is not yet available and no assessment can be made in how far the new educational policies of the two Succession States of Pakistan represent more than a well-intentioned declaration.