How future of Pakistan lies in education?
Pakistan is a big country in Asia and also an emerging country. It has only been 72 years since its founding as an independent country. The evolution of its science and technology education policy is not only different from the original countries of modern science and technology in Western Europe, it is different from today’s technological powers such as the United States, and it is also different from China and other modern science and technology secondary countries. The relationship between Pakistan and China is an all-weather strategic partnership. Studying the policy and planning of science and technology education in Pakistan’s education policy is helpful to understand the diversity of science and technology education, and can also provide a reference for exploring China-Pakistan cooperation in science and technology and education.
The research on Pakistan’s education policy mainly involves the general situation of education policy [ 1 ] and the formation process of education policy system [ 2 ] , the education system of different age groups and disciplines [ 3 ] , the research of education policy in specific period [ 4 ] , the education policy of specific discipline [ 5 ] , the implementation of specific education plans [ 6 ] and so on. So far, there has been no systematic research on Pakistan’s science and technology education policy, especially the latest education policy in 2017. This article explores the historical development of Pakistan’s science and technology education policy from 1947 to 2017, and analyzes related factors.
1 Education system, policy makers and policy evolutionThe full name of Pakistan is the Islamic
Republic of Pakistan. In 1857, the Mughal Empire, which included India and Pakistan, became a British colony. In June 1947, India and Pakistan were partitioned, and Pakistan became an independent dominion in August. In March 1956, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan was established as a member of the Commonwealth of Nations.1.1 Education SystemPakistan is a federal country with 4 provinces, 1 municipality and 2 autonomous regions. The 4 provinces are Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa; the municipality is the capital Islamabad (Islamabad Capital Territory, ICT) The two autonomous regions are the two districts of Kashmir that Pakistan actually controls, namely Gilgit-Baltistan (Gilgit-Baltistan) and Azad Kashmir (Azad Kashmir). The provinces are relatively autonomous and have jurisdiction over their own affairs. Education in Pakistan was basically managed by the provinces for a long time in the past, but now it is jointly managed by the federal government and the provinces, and the provincial education departments enjoy partial autonomy. In general, educational policies, educational plans, curricula, and educational standards are formulated and controlled by the federal government, and schools at all levels in each province are managed by the provincial governments.
Pakistan’s formal education follows the British education structure and is divided into six levels, namely primary education (grades 1-5), junior high school education (grades 6-8), high school education (grades 9-10), general or technical education (also known as secondary college or secondary school, also known as senior high school, grades 11-12, with related certificates in liberal arts or science), higher education (4 years of undergraduate, with a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts or science), master and doctoral education . In addition, there is also a postdoctoral system.
1.2 Education Policy MakersThe highest administrative body in charge of education in Pakistan has undergone many changes, successively Education Division of Ministry of the Interior, Commission on National Education, Ministry of Education and Scientific Research Research) and the Ministry of Education, now the Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training.
The Federal Educational Administration of Pakistan is responsible for the formulation of all educational policies and educational programs in the country. The content of the policy involves not only the above six levels of education, but also the education of various disciplines, such as engineering education, humanities education, science education, religious education, etc. It also includes the compilation and management of textbooks related to education, the formulation of educational principles, and the elimination of illiteracy. Work, preparation of education budget, etc. [ 3 ] . Among them, primary education and literacy work have always been the basic issues of Pakistan’s education policy.
There is no independent institution in charge of science and technology education in Pakistan. The federal administrative agency related to science and technology is the Ministry of Science & Technology (MoST), but the Ministry is mainly responsible for science and technology research institutions and serves to improve the national science and technology level. Its main function is to provide budget and funds for scientific research institutes and technical departments, and other related policies are formulated by each research institute. To discuss Pakistan’s science and technology education policy, we can only extract relevant content from the national education policy formulated by the federal education management department for analysis.
1.3 Evolution of Education PolicySo far, Pakistan’s federal education administration has issued a total of 9 basic education policy documents ( Table 1 ). These documents have been continuously revised and added to during the development process.
1.4 Implementation and effect of education policyThe Pakistani government realized the importance of science and technology education at the beginning of its independence and incorporated it into the national education policy. However, due to the limitation of the country’s overall knowledge development level and the influence of various domestic and foreign political and economic problems faced by the newborn country, from 1947 to 1971, basic primary education and literacy work were always the focus of education, and science and technology education did not receive real attention.
From 1971 to 1993, the outbreak of the India-Pakistan War, the independence of East Pakistan, and the change of the ruling party in the government resulted in the failure of continuous, stable and effective implementation of education policies throughout the country. Only some well-developed areas, such as Punjab and Sindh, combined The local resource situation has evolved. Therefore, science and technology education and national education have been in a slow development stage. By 1998, the domestic situation stabilized, social development progressed, and the new national education policy was promulgated. For the first time, the education work encountered a good opportunity, and science and technology education really began to be valued. Until 2009, education policies were constantly revised and improved according to the needs of national development, and science and technology education developed rapidly. Taking higher education as an example, the increase in the number of science and technology universities from 1947 to 2017 ( Figure 1 ) shows that science and technology education has developed rapidly since 1998, and the number of new universities has increased by more than 50% since the past 20 years, reflecting the scientific education environment. improvement.
The 2017 education policy is an educational guidance strategy applicable to Pakistan’s current national development strategy in the new era and under the new situation. Science and technology education has received due attention, and it also heralds the rapid development of science and technology education in the future.
Science and technology education policy in the initial period of the education system2.1 The first national education program takes science and technology education into the field of visionWhen Pakistan became independent in August 1947, the level of education was relatively backward, and there was an urgent need to establish an education system suitable for the nation. The founder and first president of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah (Muhammad Ali Jinnah, 1876-1948), knew the importance of education and called for a national education conference three months after independence. From November 27 to December 1, 1947, under the auspices of Jinnah, the Department of Education of the Ministry of Interior of Pakistan organized the first National Education Conference in Karachi (Karachi) [ 7 ] . Jinnah put forward basic guidelines for the future development of education, emphasizing that the Pakistani people should have a sense of honor, collective consciousness and selfless dedication to serve the country.
The three major topics of the meeting are: (1) promoting free compulsory education; (2) ensuring the integration of education with Islamic values; (3) strengthening science and technology education. At the same time, the meeting pointed out the importance of higher education, and proposed to establish a Pakistan University Federation, whose function is to exchange information and views among universities, establish contacts with foreign universities on the principle of equality, conduct teacher exchanges and hold lectures, and strive for degrees and Mutual recognition of diplomas, cooperation and exchanges, promotion of new development of universities, consistency of university teaching and examination standards, focus on scientific research, etc. Also established at the meeting were the Primary and Secondary Education Committee, the Adult Education Committee, the Technical Education Committee, the Scientific Research Committee, the University Education Committee, the Women’s Education Committee, and the Cultural Exchange Committee. At the beginning of Pakistan’s independence, science and technology education entered the field of vision of the federal education management agency.
The education guidelines and policy points put forward by this conference are of practical significance and respond to the needs of the times. Therefore, they are generally considered to be the first education policy after Pakistan’s independence, and are called the “1947 National Education Conference Program”. Unfortunately, however, due to many factors such as resource and budget constraints in the early days of independence, the increase in the immigrant population, and various administrative problems faced by the nascent country, this program has not been effectively implemented.
2.2 Systematic planning and partial implementation of national science and technology educationOn January 5, 1959, the National Education Commission of Pakistan was established and released the “National Education Commission Report” [ 8 ] . The report proposes educational goals: to make education meet both individual and collective needs; to enable people to live a prosperous life through education; to maintain an Islamic outlook on life in education; to use education as an investment in the future; to protect the dignity of labor.
On how to achieve the above educational goals, the committee put forward a series of recommendations, including focusing on science and technology education. Science education issues are addressed in detail in the report. It mentioned: extending education time, for example, science degree education requires 2-3 years to complete; revising science courses to be in line with the world; establishing University Grants Commission (UCG); updating Bachelor of Science courses; providing excellent undergraduate and master’s programs , Ph.D. teachers; promote the mutual establishment of links between secondary colleges and universities; pay attention to engineering education and extend the time of engineering education; the research of engineering students should adapt to the national industrial development; increase the number of engineering colleges and upgrade them to universities ; update laboratory equipment to meet the requirements of experiments; agricultural education has received the same attention as engineering, and related recommendations are also applicable to doctoral programs in agricultural universities.
These initiatives of the National Education Commission are very practical, but due to the limitations of national resources and conditions, these initiatives have not been effectively implemented throughout Pakistan. Only Punjab and Sindh provinces have implemented this policy to a certain extent in light of local resource conditions. Of these, the policies related to science and technology education have achieved the greatest success with the introduction of a 3-year bachelor’s degree program, the acquisition of university status by the Faculty of Agricultural Engineering, and the separation of upper secondary education from the university.
2.3 Assumptions of science and technology education in the new education policyOn March 26, 1970, the Pakistani cabinet passed the “New Education Policy” [ 9 ] . The education policy reaffirms that the government is committed to achieving the goal of universal compulsory primary education, and at the same time emphasizes emphasis on ideological orientation, science and technology education, decentralization of educational administrative powers, eradication of illiteracy, and establishment of a national educational institution system. In terms of science and technology education, this new policy document proposes to build a science center of excellence, establish a constitutional scholarship program, standardize science courses and schedules, provide students, especially college students, with high-quality accommodation, and build new science colleges and universities. .
Due to the outbreak of the India-Pakistan War in 1971, East Pakistan became independent as Bangladesh, and the Pakistani military government collapsed, resulting in the failure to fully implement this policy.
Science and technology education policy developed amid twists and turns3.1 The first 8-year mid-term education planOn March 29, 1972, “National Education Policy: 1972-1980” [ 10 ] was officially promulgated. The main contents of this policy are: consolidate the concept of Pakistani nationality, popularize education, realize educational fairness, promote individual development, open courses based on social and economic real needs, integrate science and technology education, and increase the enthusiasm of teachers, students and parents to participate in teaching affairs, Promote the nationalization of educational institutions, realize compulsory education for all in grades 1-10 in two stages, and implement large-scale literacy campaigns.
Among them, the basic proposals on science and technology education and higher education are: build new universities nationwide, set up university appropriation committees, establish academic committees related to disciplines such as agriculture and medicine, build excellent natural science and humanities research centers, strengthen science education, Develop a national research scholarship system, a national specially-appointed professor system, an interest-free loan system for outstanding students, build science and humanities libraries in educational institutions, and conduct military training and higher education research training for science and humanities students aged 17 to 23. It can be seen that this policy is more focused on science and technology because it was proposed during the turmoil in Pakistan. The India-Pakistan War in 1971 made the Pakistani authorities aware of the importance of science and technology and urgently needed to propose new policies.
3.2 Education policy with implementation planIn February 1979, the Ministry of Education organized a national education conference, reviewed the gains and losses of the previous education system, and formulated the “National Education Policy and Implementation Plan” in which Islamic religious concepts dominated : education should be loyal to Islamic belief ; Concept of Muslim ethnicity; promoting science and technology education; equal educational opportunities. In order to achieve these goals, some specific measures are proposed, such as revision of curricula, integration of Islamic school education and traditional education, use of Urdu as the language of instruction, community literacy activities, integration of science and technology education, separate schools for boys and girls, etc. . The plan also requires pre-job training for university faculty every five years to encourage them to carry out scientific research and technical training, so that the professional skills and academic capabilities of higher education practitioners can be strengthened. This policy has not been fully implemented due to lack of specific planning and financial resources.
3.3 Educational policies formulated with multi-sector participationIn April 1991, under the auspices of the Federal Minister of Education, a National Education Conference was held in Islamabad. The participants included experts, scholars, writers, newspaper editors, scientists, front-line teachers and lawyers, etc., and put forward many suggestions on the formulation of education policies . Subsequently, the Minister of Education discussed the policy framework with the Senate and the Education Committee of the National Assembly, and promulgated the new “National Education Policy: 1992” in December 1992 [ 12 ] . Its main content and objectives include: promoting Islamic values through education, improving girls’ education, expanding the scope of general and technical education at the lower secondary level, establishing demand-oriented curricula, expanding continuing education, and promoting literacy through the use of audio and video-assisted educational methods.
In terms of science and technology education, the policy proposes to establish science laboratories and engineering laboratories, modernize all courses, and introduce emerging scientific disciplines in universities; through cooperation with universities, draw up a ten-year plan for higher education; focus on science and technology-based The growing manpower needs of industry, the establishment of new technical universities with the support of the University Grants Committee; the reform and diversification of degree education; the establishment of a special fund for scientific research.
Due to the change of ruling party in the Pakistani government in 1993, this policy could not be implemented.3.4 Target-specific national education policiesIn March 1998, the new “National Education Policy” was promulgated [ 13 ] . Its main objectives include: incorporating the teachings of the Qur’an and Islamic practices into the education system, popularizing compulsory primary education, meeting the basic educational needs of citizens, and expanding access to knowledge education. Ensure equal opportunities for higher education, ensure continuous improvement and diversification of courses, and implement on-the-job training programs. Measures to achieve the above goals are: introduction of diversified textbook concepts, diversification of curriculum, improvement of national examination system, expansion and emphasis on science and technology education, improvement of religious schools, establishment of pre-job training and in-service training programs for teachers, and introduction of a comprehensive monitoring system.
The goals of the policy in terms of science education and higher education are: by 2010, the expansion rate of higher education enrollment for students aged 17-23 will increase by at least 5%; open new science disciplines and courses in public universities; years of bachelor’s degree programs; providing funds to improve the buildings, libraries, laboratories and student support facilities of degree education colleges; recommending revision of university curricula at all levels to meet national industrial development needs and international standards; integrating MPhil, MSc and Normalize doctoral enrollment projects; initially formulate the employment system for university teachers; increase education funding from 2.2% of GDP to 4%; encourage business representatives to enter colleges and universities for consultation, research and development, and set up science and technology parks and industrial research centers in colleges and universities to achieve the set goals ; Established the National Academic Award Certification Committee; launched the National Higher Education Outstanding Contribution Professor Program. This period was the best ever in Pakistan’s science and technology education and higher education.
3.5 Education policies focusing on human resource developmentIn November 2009, the National Education Policy was promulgated [ 14 ] , which is a revision of the 1998 National Education Policy, focusing on human resource development. This set of policies is considered to be the best version of all previous education policies in Pakistan. The key points of the policy include: construction of school buildings, development of teaching materials, library construction and book replenishment, teacher training, school transportation, nutrition for poor children, literacy programs, information and communication technology (ICT), curriculum reform of science subjects, etc. The Federal Ministry of Education also announced the inclusion of Urdu as the medium of instruction for social science subjects in secondary schools and English as the medium of instruction for mathematics and natural science subjects.
The content of science and technology education is richer and more specific than before. The National Education Policy stipulates that within 5 years, provinces can choose to teach mathematics and science subjects in English or Urdu, but after 5 years, the teaching of these subjects will only be in English. Science subject training for in-service teachers should proceed from reality, use science teaching aids, and provide these corresponding science teaching aids for all primary and secondary school teachers. In order to make the education system internationally competitive, the Pakistani government has given strong support and strives to provide international-level academic assessment by 2015, participating in the assessment of mathematics and science courses under standardized international tests. In order to enable undergraduate graduates to form a more objective and fair worldview, undergraduate science basic education courses (including professional degree courses) should include social science subjects.
The policy also states that science-based education is offered at the undergraduate level, including professional degree programs. Teachers’ on-the-job training focuses on mathematics, focusing on developing their conceptual understanding, procedural knowledge, problem-solving, and practical reasoning skills. In addition, scientific knowledge training for teachers in all positions should be practical based on real life, and relevant scientific materials should be provided to all primary and secondary schools. Some professional organizations in Pakistan, such as Pakistan Medical & Dental Council (PM & DC), Pakistan Engineering Council (PEC), etc., have participated in the development of relevant courses. Prioritize the development of engineering education, especially engineering disciplines directly related to major industrial sectors, such as information and computer technology, energy, mining, construction, textiles, manufacturing, nanotechnology, and engineering design. Overall, the policy focuses on quality of education issues, promoting investment in higher education and the use of information technology.
The latest education policy and planning for the future4.1 Education goals and plans for the next 8 years“National Education Policy: 2017” [ 15 ] is a comprehensive guiding policy and planning for the eight-year education development from 2017 to 2025.
The policy sets educational objectives in eight areas: (1) character development; (2) meeting the needs of learning: knowledge, skills and values; (3) national awareness and national integration in Pakistan; (5) Educational quality and system construction; (6) Expand investment in education; (7) Promote the development of science and technology; (8) Unify curriculum and standards.
In order to achieve these goals, Pakistan has planned education from 17 aspects: (1) Islamic education; (2) early childhood care and education; (3) literacy and non-formal basic education; (4) primary education; (5) Secondary education; (6) Teacher training; (7) Vocational and technical education and training; (8) Higher education; (9) Information technology; (10) Library and literature services; (11) Physical education, health and exercise education; ( 12) Private education; (13) Special education and inclusive education; (14) Religious schools; (15) Evaluation and assessment systems; (16) Guidance, counseling, and character development, Boy Scouts, Girl Guides, and National Youth Corps; ( 17) Education funding.
4.2 Measures to promote science and technology education in the next 8 yearsThe measures to promote the development of science and technology are mainly in the two aspects of “vocational and technical education and training” and “information technology”. According to the current situation in Pakistan, the specific measures are: (1) increase the enrollment rate of science, technology and vocational education majors; (2) promote technical and vocational education in specific formal and non-formal high schools and senior high schools; Re-introduction of high-quality technical and vocational education that meets the standards of the National Bureau of Vocational and Technical Education in high schools and senior high schools; (4) Establishment of trade schools at the street and district levels.
In the process of globalization, information and communication technology plays an increasingly important role. Pakistan strives to promote the education and application of information and communication technologies in the education system: (1) promote, expand and strengthen information technology education; (2) strengthen the use of information and communication technologies to expand education, improve the quality of education, and promote literacy; ( 3) Promote the application of educational technology by supporting design, mass production and distributing a series of teaching materials and auxiliary equipment to all schools.
In addition, the education policy states that high school education produces very few students in the fields of science and technology, and it is necessary to ensure that there are well-trained science and mathematics teachers at all levels from elementary school to high school. To achieve this goal, teachers need to be effectively trained to use information technology to improve the quality of teaching in subjects such as English, mathematics and science. Revise natural science curricula every 5 years, including IT curricula, to increase enrollment in science, technical and vocational education disciplines. One of the key points of this education policy is to reintroduce various technical education in the humanities and natural sciences of specific high schools and high schools to cultivate qualified vocational and technical human resources. The construction of digital libraries and well-equipped scientific laboratories will become key projects to improve teaching quality. Teaching and learning using ICT will be an essential teaching mechanism.
In terms of higher education, the main plans and goals include: building 15 new public science and technology universities, establishing 100 private comprehensive universities, and providing high-quality natural science undergraduate, postgraduate, and vocational education. Competitive fellowships for 500 postdoctoral programs in science and technology education research, including science and technology, engineering, and mathematics. Award foreign and domestic library information science research and training fellowships. Provide students with the latest knowledge, skills and abilities based on emerging disciplines and emerging technologies. The National Institute of Science and Technology Education in Islamabad and teacher training institutions in all provinces should strengthen pre-job and in-job training for teachers. Five science, technology and industrial parks will be established, linking academia with entrepreneurs and policy planners. Pakistan hopes to improve the quality of higher education through these measures, provide more talent support and make greater contributions to the development of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor [ 16 ] .
5 The role of investment and management in science and technology education
5.1 Insufficient investment hinders the realization of policy goalsPakistan’s national literacy rate has always been very low, the literacy rate was 16.3% in the 1950s [ 17 ] . After 70 years of hard work, it has reached 58% [ 18 ] , which means that the country is still in the state of elite education. At present, the university enrollment rate of the 17-23 age group is only 8% [ 15 ] , and the 2017 education policy proposes to increase it to 15% [ 15 ] . Therefore, the goal of science and technology education is to cultivate social science and technology elites and provide urgently needed talents for the current national key development strategies.
According to the education policy of 2009 and 2017, the current scientific and technological education in Pakistan focuses on the priority development of engineering disciplines directly related to major industrial sectors and economic development, such as information and computer technology, energy, mining, construction, textiles, manufacturing, nanotechnology and engineering design etc. However, very few students in upper secondary schools choose the field of science and technology, because science and technology education subjects require more funding. In order to make excellent students receive proper academic nourishment, the financial burden of students should be reduced, necessary scholarships should be provided, and scholarships for studying abroad should be provided for excellent students in higher education.
In 2007, Pakistan spent 2.3% of GDP on education, on par with Bangladesh (2.5%), India (3.8%), Thailand (4.2%), South Korea (4.6%), Iran (4.7%) and Malaysia (6.2%) In comparison, Pakistan spends relatively little on education [ 19 ] . Since 1947, the education budget has been below 2.5%, which is an important reason for hindering the realization of education policy goals.
5.2 Science and technology education requires specific planning, management and promotion of specialized institutionsPakistan does not have a special science and technology education management department, and policies related to science and technology education can only be extracted from the national education policy. Education in Pakistan has gradually transitioned from the management of the provinces to the joint management of the federal government and the provinces. However, according to the 18th Amendment to the Pakistani Constitution in 2010, education-related matters are under the responsibility of the provinces. In April 2011, the Ministry of Education further devolved the management power of education to the provinces. This kind of management system has brought about the following problems: (1) Although the Federal Ministry of Education is the policy manager, it has not fully publicized relevant policies and failed to fully consider the actual conditions of various regions, resulting in the delay in the implementation of education plans and education policies in various provinces; (2) When the provinces realize the overall goal of education, the order of consideration is inconsistent. This will also affect the degree of emphasis on science and technology education. The quality of science and technology education not only affects the growth and development of individuals, but also has a far-reaching impact on the long-term sustainable development of the country, the improvement of national quality, the growth of the national economy and social development. It may be the key to promote and implement science and technology education policies and plans for the federal government and local governments to establish specialized science and technology education management agencies.
It can be expected that with the advancement of the “China-Pakistan Economic Corridor” project, Pakistan’s demand for scientific and technological talents will increase, which may promote the targeted investment in science and technology education in the country and the birth of scientific and technological education management institutions.
Acknowledgments: Amna Munawar received the CAS-TWAS scholarship from the Chinese Academy of Sciences; thanks to the Ministry of Science and Technology of Pakistan for providing archival materials and related documents.