The role of education in developing countries can best be understood by the consequences of its absence such as poverty and slow economic development. Education and development go hand in hand. However, children are denied education despite significant progress in the past few years.
Education is a primary need and fundamental right of every country’s citizens. Quality education provides people with better opportunities in life such as employment, health, and poverty alleviation.
Education guarantees lifetime income and promotes peace. Access to education can improve the economic and financial lifestyle of citizens and determine the prospects of future generations. With substantial investment in human resources, a country can achieve sustainable economic development.
According to Pakistan Labour Force Survey 2020-21, the literacy rate remained 62.8% in 2020-21, with a cumulative education expenditure of 1.77% by the Federal and Provincial governments in FY2021. The education-related expenditure during FY2021 increased by 9.7%, reaching Rs988 billion.
Despite the rise in education expenditure and literacy rate, Pakistan has the world’s second-highest number of out-of-school children (OOSC), with an estimated 22.8 million children aged 5-16 not attending school, representing 44% of the total population in this age group.
Furthermore, the number of government schools in the country is deficient, and the existing ones do not have adequate facilities. About 50% of the schools in Pakistan do not have access to electricity, drinking water, and washroom facilities. To improve the country’s education quality, the federal and provincial governments have changed the education sector and announced different schemes and scholarships to facilitate the students.
Recently, in the Budget 2022-23, the government has proposed new schemes and decided to spend Rs326.86 billion on education to improve access to equitable, inclusive and quality education for all. The schemes offered for the next financial year include construction, renovation of school buildings, construction and up-gradation of labs, scholarship programmes, etc.
Moreover, the government has announced plans to establish 16 new degree colleges in Hyderabad, Jamshoro, Sukkur, Shikarpur, Jacobabad, Sanghar, and Umerkot, with three districts of Karachi — Korangi, Malir and District West.
In a nutshell, these initiatives will deliver quality education, improve socio-economic development, and determine the prospects of future generations.