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Economic Necessity Of Education

To embrace the change of highly volatile business environment, big economies and blue chip organizations are always planning long term goals for further innovation and new advancements. Their planning is consisted of several strategies regarding how to utilize their resources in the most efficient manner. The human resource capital is crucial in the planning, because the employee’s knowledge, expertise and skill set play a major role in the implementation of business plans and goals.

For CPEC, China decided to invest in the project of Gawdar port, but unfortunately, Pakistani market could not provide the competent engineers/other human resource to build that government project. Chinese government had to bring Chinese engineers and other experienced employees for several projects to speed up CPEC progress in Pakistan. Here becomes relevant the requirement of higher literacy rate and quality education.

While an international business plans for growth opportunities through overseas expansion, the organizations and government agencies would analyze the new market attractiveness/competitiveness based on infrastructure, security, government policies and consumer’s buying power to evaluate the prospects for business stability. One of the major factors would be the availability of the efficient and capable human resource in the new market.

Unfortunately, brain drain is one of the major issues that Pakistani labor market is facing since long, adversely affecting the economy growth. The talented and highly qualified human resources take years to develop their technical expertise. Their parents bear huge cost of their education in Pakistan and finally, they migrate out of the country for higher education or for prospects of better job opportunities. Pakistani government needs to create policies to bridge our local institutions and organizations with the pool of high skilled overseas Pakistani workers through projects, advisory services and sharing of experience and knowledge for research purpose to improve local business development.

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A quality education system and higher literacy rate are directly linked with the creation of talent and intellectual pool in the country. On the other hand, in recent years, the literacy rate has declined in Pakistan from 60% to 58%. There are several factors involved in this declining ratio. Generally, the public would hold liable incapable government authorities for everything; however, I would emphasize that our cultural values and social mindset is equally responsible. The parents do not consider girl’s education a priority.The figures on gender disparity ratio in rural areas of Pakistani schools are very disappointing. There are only 28% female students enrolled in high school, while 72% are boys in contrast. Couple of reasons for higher gender disparity include the tradition of early marriages of girls and low income of households.

From government side, there is a lack of funds and schools for the general public at large. In fiscal year 2019-20, only 2.3% of GDP was allocated for education budget. This ratio is lowest in the region while the international benchmark for education budget is set between 4% – 6% of national GDP. Pakistan has second highest number of out of school children, 22.8 million between 5 to 16 years of age, in global comparison.

There are some notable examples the government can learn from, case in point being Aga Khan Development Network. The literacy rate in Chitral is a whopping 98% due to interventions by Aga Khan Education Services in the district.

In Pakistan, literacy means a person can write their name and read a few sentences in Urdu language which is far from an acceptable standard. Our education system revolves around textbook cramming and getting a degree rather than deeper learning. The general public could receive tremendous knowledge from educational television programs. However, there are very few informative television documentary programs on scientific researches, diverse cultural values and new developments in technology. The gap between knowledge and learning can be bridged through these programs on both mainstream and social media. During the pandemic in 2020, there has been a massive increase in online viewership of YouTube channels. These TV channels with hundreds of thousands and millions in subscriptions can start uploading short informative and educational videos to benefit the public at large. In addition, the government should build partnerships with private entities and large media platforms to advance the goal of online learning.

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Naya Daur