According to a report by Global Education Monitoring (GEM), Pakistan is spending about 2.6% of its annual budget on education. This cut from the GDP may be an improvement from previous years but compared to other countries in the vicinity (India 3.8%, Maldives 5.2%) and keeping in view the current literacy rate of our country (58%) the growth is sluggish.
The population of children that have either dropped out or never gone schools is a staggering 24 million which puts Pakistan in the second place only behind Nigeria. These statistics vie the attention of education specialists and government authorities. The goal of reaching a literacy rate of 88% by 2015 has not been a success even by a close margin.
These statistics also raise questions of accountability as to whether government sectors involved in the distribution of this budget actually do their job in a fair and transparent manner. Furthermore, fake teachers, absconders and those with insufficient qualification prove to be massive leakage from the already small budget.
The official textbooks taught in the public school have been under scrutiny for the past decade. Distorted historical facts, perspectives of conflict and war towards Hindus, and the exclusion of heroes not in the military or nationalist movements are some of the grievances directed towards these textbooks.
The executive director of I-SAPS (Institute of Social and Policy Sciences), Mr. Salman Hamayun named law maker’s little involvement in budget making, lower allotment of funds than the actual requirement, corruption and absence of transparency among others as primary culprits of disparities in the national education budget .
All the stakeholders from the legislative and political authorities to teachers and students that make up the system need to act with responsibility and trust if drastic changes are demanded by drastic times. Moreover, if the governing bodies realize that education is the only way to compete and exist in this world then more attention would be paid to appropriate laws and education budget that truly regulates the whole system.