Quality education in Pakistan
Education at local levels
of local government in increasing the education budget is essential and
can play a major role in improving the status of local educational
institutions. If and when municipal, district and provincial funding is
insufficient to meet targets for accessible quality education, it is
crucial for the survival of the institutions to demand that their
representatives increase the budget. In addition, education institutions
must seek out other sources beyond public funding, such as
contributions from local businesses, community members, philanthropists,
corporations or private funds as endowments.
August: Equal access to high-quality education is imperative for the development
of a country. Among the factors that affect the quality and
accessibility of education are qualified teachers, adequate facilities,
proper funding, comprehensive curriculums, affordable tuition fees and
the availability of scholarships. All of these factors are dependent to a
certain degree on budget. For accessible quality education, a serious
financial commitment by the federal government is necessary, but often
not sufficient to support education spending at institutions.|
Investing in the future
Accessible education is one of the most pressing issues in Pakistan.
Unfortunately, neither the government, nor the private sector is doing
enough to promote access and provide assistance to the needy to attend
schools, especially institutions of higher learning. With a majority of
young people (63 per cent of the population is currently under the age
of 25 years), the government must provide affordable education and
training opportunities or risk a very bleak economic and social future.
education spending must be increased markedly at provincial and
district levels to encourage young people to gain skills that can be
used within the community. Without proper qualifications, municipalities
will suffer a severe shortage of professional services leading to poor
overall welfare while their youth will seek better opportunities in
Leaders of local communities must become aware of
the importance that education and training have on employment and local
businesses. In addition to the economic return to individuals and to
society as a whole, higher education improves quality of life in a
variety of other ways, including better health practices, social
variables such as participation in charities and volunteer work, and the
better education of children ("Investing in higher education", Dawn
Education, Nov 11, 2007).
Thus, the burden of increasing funding
for education must be shared not just by the federal government, but
also by the provincial, district, and municipal administrations, as well
as by the educational institutions and the communities they serve.
Investing in education carries significant economic benefits not just
for the individual but is also crucial to the prosperity of local
Education spending in provinces and in turn in
districts is dependent upon the provincial shares distributed by the
federal divisible pool based on the population and a province's own
resources allocated to education. According to a study by Husain and
others (The Pakistan Development Review, 2003), there was a strong
correlation between the district's allocation of funds to education and
its literacy rates. Districts with very low literacy rates had also
allocated the least amount of funds to education. Thus, provincial
education funding and its proper allocation directly impact the level of
education in a particular geographic area.
Local empowerment of education institutions is very important for the
community. Easy access to schools, affordable tuition fees, available
scholarships, and relevant training courses translate to future
employment of the students. If these opportunities are not available
locally, young people would have no alternative but to leave for another
city that offers some employment or education opportunities or find
work as an unskilled worker and perhaps even seek other ways, not always
legitimate, to generate income.
When education provides
training opportunities locally, young people have better chances of
finding jobs, supporting their families and investing back in their
community by becoming consumers and clients of local services. Thus, the
whole community has a strong interest in investing to improve education
quality, access and relevance, as it is investing directly in its own
wellbeing and future.
While the task of providing education for
an increasing urban population and expanding education services to the
distant rural areas seems daunting, there are many steps that can be
taken to start reform locally. In large urban communities such as
Karachi, Lahore, Rawalpindi, Faisalabad and Peshawar there is an urgent
need for inclusive public education. A great example of providing such
public service successfully is the City University of New York (CUNY) in
New York City.
CUNY was established as the Free Academy in 1847,
and later included many existing as well as new education institutions,
becoming the poor man's Harvard. CUNY is the third-largest university
system in terms of enrollment, in the United States, just behind the
State University of New York (SUNY) and California State University
systems. The main feature of CUNY is its accessibility to minorities,
and other financially disadvantaged groups that cannot afford the cost
of private education.
Thus, CUNY offers educational
opportunities and opens the door to the children of many immigrants,
giving them the opportunity to earn undergraduate and graduate degrees.
More than 260,000 degree-credit students and 273,000 continuing and
professional education students are enrolled at campuses located in all
five New York City boroughs.
It is the largest urban university
in the United States, consisting of 23 institutions: 11 senior colleges,
six community colleges, the William E. Macaulay Honors College at CUNY,
the doctorate-granting Graduate School and University Centre, the City
University of New York School of Law, CUNY Graduate School of
Journalism, and the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education.
Honors College accepts several hundred "University Scholars" into its
ranks each year, offering a free laptop and free tuition to exceptional
high school students. CUNY colleges have produced 12 Nobel laureates
along with hundreds of prominent politicians, doctors, actors and
lawyers, but most importantly have provided educational opportunities to
some of the most marginalised citizens, giving them an opportunity to
better their lives.
CUNY grew to its current extent and level
partly due to demand and the pressure of the expanding immigrant and
economically disadvantaged population in New York City. The fundraising
campaign "Invest in CUNY, Invest in New York: Expanding the Vision,"
surpassed its first goal to raise $1.2 billion from private sources and
is now trying to reach $3 billion by 2015. The success of this ambitious
goal is due partly to a very active fundraising campaign and CUNY's
community involvement. CUNY programmes reflect the needs of the
community for affordable, quality education and professional training.
fill this need of the community it serves, CUNY puts pressure not only
on the municipal and provincial governments that sometimes are unable to
support demand, but privately raises funds from community members,
alumni, major philanthropists and successful local businesses. Donors to
this cause understand that they are not just giving back to their
communities for a charitable cause, but they are, most importantly,
investing in improving their community, and thus their own welfare by
providing education and training opportunities to those who can not
In the recent CUNY fundraising campaign, more than
200 donors, most of whom are CUNY graduates, gave $1 million, topped by a
bequest for $25 million as a gift for a new school of architecture.
Such donations, coming from alumni are extremely important for education
institutions such as CUNY that aim at helping needy students.
visionary campaign allows CUNY to support students in the form of
endowments and scholarships to help attract top students, recruit
eminent scholars and professionals as fulltime faculty, support new
programmes, facilitate ground-breaking research, as well as provide
funds for facilities and equipments.
Education institutions in
local provinces must follow the example of CUNY and activate local
resources, alumni and other tools to raise funds to support their
current and future education needs. A very useful lesson to be learned
from the CUNY campaign is that the fundraising campaign was driven by
initiatives based at the campuses. Colleges can and must strategically
plan similar fundraising campaigns by identifying programme priorities
and setting up timelines to achieve their targets.
institutions produce many successful professionals that would be very
happy and willing to give back to their alma mater institution if they
are approached with the right programme. Local businesses will
contribute as well. Many businesses would be happy to invest in a new
programme that targets their needs. A telephone company can be
approached for funds to support a course in engineering, or training for
phone operators or technicians.
More technical programmes
tailored to the need of the community can be added to the school
curricula, thus expanding the schools capacity as well as better serving
the community. The higher the education an individual receives, the
better are his or her benefits, and the more the community where he or
she lives profits as a direct consequence of this education.
Fundraising campaigns for educational institutions require strategic planning,
setting timelines, and realistic goals. They also need the leadership
and visions of the vice chancellors and principals of the institutions
as well as the leadership of other visionary philanthropists in the
community that understand the importance of these programmes.
can be a variety of fundraising campaigns, from supporting a specific
programme, a new building or school, or just financially supporting the
education of needy students through scholarships. In the long term,
however, local education institutions must have specific goals that they
should aim to achieve. These goals, depending on the need of the
institution, can be achieved through a variety of sources.
can be tapped through federal or provincial government, establishing
annual fundraising campaigns targeting local businesses, alumni and
community leaders, or by setting up endowment funds ("Funds for Higher
Education Institutions" Dawn, Sept 6, 2009).
It is crucial for
the survival of educational institutions and the communities they serve
to start paying attention to these matters by designating offices and
people that work specifically on institutional fund advancement. Such
offices can plan, prioritize and organise existing resources to maximize
an education budget.
In addition, designated officers can spend
time with community leaders, and local businesses to strengthen
community links and provide better services to their community through
accessible, quality and relevant education. The institution must have
records of the donations that the fundraising office has received and
how they have applied these donations. Transparency and accountability
are very important to donors, and also encourage new donations for
worthy programmes. -By Rudina Xhaferri and Khalid Iqbal (The writers work for the Promotion of Education in Pakistan Foundation, Inc., USA.) Dawn
"I LIKE TO ADDmation in 11 class can u give me addmation"
Name: SHOAIB RASOOL
City, Country: QUETTA
"Need support in education for bsce"
City, Country: Quetta, Pakistan
Post your comments