The Education Sector Reforms (ESR) originate from Education Policy 1998-2010 and focuses on the development of human resources in Pakistan as prerequisite for global peace, progress and prosperity. It has three fold purposes: quality education enabling all citizens to reach the maximum potentials; produce responsible, enlightened and skilled populace and integrate Pakistan into the framework of human- centered economic development. It suggests following strategies:

  • Sector reforms based on efficiency and equity;
  • Political will to boost education as the anchor for economic revival;
  • Poverty reduction strategy program;
  • Resource mobilization from all channels;
  • Decentralization through Devolution ensuring grass-root level participation educational planning and implementation;
  • Encouraging and supporting Government Private Sector partnership to meet the challenges;
  • EFA Action Plan and Ordinance for compulsory Primary Education; and
  • Outcome based planning, budgeting and auditing.

Following are the major thrust areas of the Education Sector Reforms (ESR):

1. Universal Primary Education (UPE)

The education for all emphasizes quality and universal primary education through ensuring access and increasing participation rate to 100%, reducing gender disparity and enhancing completion rate 70%. In order to achieve the targets the reforms implies:

  • Promulgation of Compulsory Primary Education Ordinance;
  • Improving infrastructure IN existing primary school.
  • Initiation of Early Childhood Education stage in schools.
  • Construction of new schools.
  • Community Basic Education Schools, and
  • Free textbooks for children and free Braille books to the visually handicapped people.

2. Adult Literacy

Under the Reforms National Commission for Human Development (NCHD) has been set up with the President of Pakistan as its Chairman. The Commission has developed district-based infrastructure to reach people. The task encompasses establishment of literacy centers through out the country. The National plan of action on Education for All (2001-2015) targets to open 525.000 literacy centers with 118,000 teachers by 2016. The literacy program implies district specific targets, literacy cycle of 6-8 months with due involvement of mass medic mobilization campaign.

The National Plan spells out three phases of adult literacy plan (2000-15) each phase comprising five years with overall goals as under:

  • Ensuring that the learning needs of all young people and adults are met through equitable access to appropriate learning, life skills and citizenship program.
  • Achieving 50% improvement in the levels of adult literacy by 2015, especially for women, and. equitable access to basic and continuing education for all adults.
  • All, especially in literacy, numeracy and essential life skills, achieves improving all aspects of the quality of education and ensuring excellence of all so that recognized and measurable learning outcomes.

3. Vocationalization of General Secondary Education

To make education meaningful and work oriented technical stream has been introduced at secondary school level. The Reforms imply:

  • The existing scheme of studies to be revised to accommodate a new technical stream along with Science and Humanities streams,
  • Introduction of 34 area/gender specific trade selected against specific criteria,
  • Development of teaching learning resource materials,
  • Construction of workshops in schools and
  • Increasing enrolment from 7% to 50%.

First phase of the program has been completed.

4. Revamping of Science Education

The Reforms aim at improving quality of science education by providing updated science equipment, professional growth of teachers and facilities. It implies

  • Construction of science laboratories,
  • Establishment of mathematic resource rooms,
  • Provision of equipment and consumables,
  • Development of video textbooks,
  • Training of head teachers, managers, master trainers and teachers.

5. Promotion of Technical Education

The Reforms focus qualitative and quantitative improvements of technical education. It implies:

  • Establishment of one polytechnic at each district headquarters for boys,
  • One polytechnic for girls at each divisional headquarter,
  • One monotechnic for men in sparsely populated district,
  • One monotechnic for women in thickly populated districts.

It also entails development textbooks and manuals, construction of workshops, training of teachers, revision of curricula and introduction of new emerging technologies.

6. Quality Assurance

The Reforms has major target to improve quality of education. The related Reforms encompass:

  • Revision of curricula for classes I-XII, harmonization of teachers training programs,
  • Introduction of multiple textbooks scheme,
  • Professional development of planners,managers, teacher educators, teachers at all levels,
  • Setting up of professional cadre for p…ing management of education,
  • Strengthening of teachers training institutions,
  • Examination reforms and setting up of examination boards in private sector,
  • Establishment of national education assessment system,
  • System of academic audit-linkage of grants/ incentives with quality,
  • Increase of non-salary budget by 3% annually.

As per Reforms curricula of all school subjects have been revised and new textbooks have been produced. Extensive teachers training programs have been organized through out the country and 175,000 master teacher trainers and teachers have been trained. Diploma in Education has been launched to upgrade teacher qualifications to 12+12½ years replacing PTC/CT courses. National Educational Assessment System has been established with provincial network in all provinces. Examination reforms as planned have been introduced throughout the country.

7. Mainstreaming of Madrassahs

The Reforms aim to streamline the religious, educational institutions in the country for enlarging employment opportunities for their graduates and making it compatible with the emerging needs. The Reforms advocate to review and revise curricula of religious education. Pakistan Madrassah Education Board has been established to look after the affairs of schools. The Reforms offer:

  • Incentive program to facilitate teaching of subjects like English, General Math, General Science, Computer Science, Social Studies/ Pakistan Studies at primary and secondary levels,
  • English, Economics, Computer Science and Pakistan Studies at higher secondary level.
  • One time grant package on affiliation with Madrassah Education Board.

8. Public Private Partnership

The Reforms aim at improved service delivery through public private partnership by:

  • Offering incentive package for private sector;
  • Involvement of private sector in the management of under utilized public sector institutions;
  • Facilitating grants and soft loans for the development of education;
  • Introduction of Adopt School program;
  • Maximizing utilization of public school buildings by school up gradation in the afternoon shift from primary to higher secondary levels through bag-community participation project;
  • Introduction of information technology courses in schools through public private partnership; etc.

9. Higher Education

The reforms advocate shift towards human resource development through qualitative and quantitative improvements of higher education. The major aspects of the Reforms include:

  • Strengthening of research in institutions of higher learning,
  • Professional development of teachers,
  • Increasing access to higher education,
  • Increasing enrolment,
  • Encouragement for private sector universities,
  • Increasing financial allocations, up gradation of science and social science programs,
  • Introduction of IT education, etc.

For better governance and management of higher education Higher Education Commission have been established and University Ordinance has been promulgated.

Recently new government has asked the concerned authorities to formulate a new education policy and accordingly spadework has been initiated.

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