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Election manifestos: education not a priority

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Political parties fail to keep up with Education

Report: By Milhan Rao

LAHORE (Wednesday July 18, 2018): The literacy rate of Pakistan has declined from 60 to 58 percent with only 2.5 budgetary allocations during the year 2017-2018, as consecutive regimes in the country remained unable to fulfill the promise of budget allocation at least four percent of GDP to education sector. Unfortunately, education is still not a  priority in the manifesto of the three largest political parties i.e. Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PMLN), Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).

PTI has education on sixth number in its manifesto. The PTI Manifesto priorities sequence wise comprisen: transformation of governance, strengthening the federation, inclusive economic growth, uplifting agriculture, build dams and conserve water, and transform education. On page 44, manifesto of PTI reads that PTI will put in place the most ambitious education agenda in Pakistan’s history, spanning reform of primary, secondary, tertiary, vocational, and special education.

If PTI owns a power then they will establish a National Ministry/Commission for Human Capital Development to forecast future domestic and international labour force requirements to increase or decrease supply of different fields of education, evaluate the curricula based on needs and trends of the labour market and develop a National Human Development Strategy annually to propose the supply of any new fields of technical or professional education on page 45, PTI tells different strategy to transform education if it come to power. It says, the party will create an Education Fund for young entrepreneurs to develop technology and communication-enabled solutions to provide access to education in remote areas. Establish minimum standards for all public schools to ensure provision of facilities and a child-friendly learning environment, launch a nationwide literacy programme to engage 50,000 youth volunteers to teach literacy in exchange for university credits,  launch a Teach for Pakistan effort to bring high quality talent into the public system as teachers or coaches, launch a large-scale teacher certification programme., increase schools at secondary level for girls by upgrading schools every year in high-enrolment areas and launching nation-wide radio, television and online self-learning programmes for secondary students We will provide stipends to secondary school-going girls to reduce barriers to access., l establish a National Steering Committee to enact examination board.


Education is on seventh number in PPP Manifesto. Manifesto consists of freedom from hunger, health care for all, Right to Housing in Inclusive and Sustainable Communities: Apni Galian Apnay Ghar, water and sanitation, integration of differently able people, and then quality and free education for all.

The future of a nation belongs to the children and youth. Education does not belong to learning academic skills but good schooling system is important for good education. The main vision of PPP is to change the systems of educational institution with the help of technology and by moving forward from traditional content like memorization to factors like creativity, critical thinking, problem solving, decision-making, communication and collaboration in order to develop the mindsets to navigate the complexity of world as an active individual. On Page 17 manifesto reads Article 25A:

“The state shall provide free and compulsory education to all the age of five to sixteen years in such manner as may be determined by law”

Page 16 of manifesto reads that PPP pledges to do a review quota allocation in public sector colleges and universities, provide full fee concession in public sector educational institutions, introduce law to ensure fee discounts for differently able people studying in private sector educational institutions. Their aim is to increase the literacy rate of Pakistan.

Education is on fourteenth number in PML-N manifesto. According to the manifesto, education is the bedrock of a nation’s priority. PML-N vision is to make Pakistan a world leader in higher in higher education. They want to establish top quality universities and academic institutions that innovate and carry out cutting-edge research. The PML-N government pitted its will against overwhelming odds to bring about a transformational change in the education landscape.

The PML-N vision for 2003 is an education system that is capable of producing a citizen grounded in values, driven by ambition and equipped with skills required to compete in the global market place through world-class education. In the field of education from 2013 -2018 PML-N increased funding for higher education by 75%, introduced the Prime Minister laptop scheme, increased enrollment by 8% per year from 1.14 M- 1.7M. PML-N says it also established Centers of Advanced Studies (CAS) in water, energy, food, security and robotics. In the time span of 2003-2018 PMLN established science and technology Park at NUST through cooperation with China and Turkey and established National University of Technology.

PML-N says it encouraged quality research, enhanced the quality of education, enhanced relevance of education. Their further strategies for the next five years (2018-2023) to develop education is to achieve universal primary enrollment by 2003, to provide early childhood education for all, develop adult literacy programs with the focus on the vocational skills required for industrial growth. Introduce a broad base curriculum for starring critical thought, analytical ability and cultural values to cultivate higher learning order. PML-N says it will increase education a spending to four percent of GDP extend education monitoring towards standardized measurement quality in schools in order to improve financing and governance

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