The article 25-A of Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan says,
“The state shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of five to sixteen years in such a manner as may be determined by law”.
Pakistan achieved independence from British colonial rule on August 14, 1947. At independence 85% of the population was illeterate , and the condition of women and backward areas was even worse.
National Education Conference (1947)
One of the first steps towards education development in Pakistan was the National Education Conference in 1947. The Quaid-e-Azam, in his message to the Conferences said,
“There is no doubt that the future of our State will and must greatly depend upon the type of education we give to our children, and the way in which we bring them up as future citizens of Pakistan ….. We should not forget that we have to compete with the world which is moving very fast in this direction.”
National Plan of Educational Development
In 1951, a conference for Educational Development was held to adopt six-year plan for the period 1951-57. Towards the Educational Development the principal constraint identified was that of lack of trained teachers. It was studied that about 50% of the teachers in primary schools were untrained.
The plan proposed to establish over 24,000 new primary schools, and the expansion of primary schools would require over 86,000 additional teachers.
However, the efforts were failed to produce the desired results.
First Five Year Plan (1955-60)
The recommendations and programmes of the six year national plan of educational development were taken into consideration by the planning board of the government.
It proclaimed that “a system of universal primary education is imperative”. A system of free and compulsory primary education for both, boys and girls, was expected to be in place in about twenty years, i.e. by about 1975 to 1980. The Plan proposed to add 4000 new schools.
In order to achieve various targets set during the plan period, a sum of Rs.580,70 million was allocated for the education sector of the plan.
National Education Commission 1959
On 30th December 1958, led by the Chief Secretary, Mr. S. M. Sharif, National Education Commission was established.
On 5th January 1959 the Commission started to prepared education policy. On Aug 26, 1959, the Commission submitted its report covers 350 pages. The Commission reports had the following key points:-
Commission emphasized the importance on higher education, vocational education, primary education, secondary education, adult education, education, physical education, religious education, the arts, education of children with disabilities, educational institutions, and of military training.
Training of teachers and their prosperity measures were suggested.
Duration of BA / BSc courses increased from two years to three years was recommended. For passing exam percentage as a whole 50% and for pass in individual 40% marks were suggested. Fifty percent of the total number of higher education appointed exam pass forty percent of the recommended numbers. Quran-e-Pak education was compulsory. Urdu declared as a compulsory subject from six classes to degree level. Duration of initial education suggested as eight year.
The National Education Commission recommendations were useful but due to the conditions of country and the situation of resources they were not applied well.
Second Five Year Plan (1960-65)
Th second five-year plan was developed by the planning commission. It was recommended that compulsory schooling for the age group six to eleven should be provided within a period of ten years and within another five years for the eleven to fourteen years age groups. Intermediate classes were suggested to transfer from the jurisdiction of the universities to the board of secondary education. The course of study for the B.A/Bsc extended from two to three years. In engineering and medical colleges the duration of the degree course was suggested four years. At higher secondary stage, teaching of science subjects was given much emphasis. The financial outlay for this plan was Rs 463 million. For Federal and Provinces, the Public service commission was suggested separated.
Third Five Year Plan (1965-70)
It recognized “the concept of education as a vital national investment and a major determination of the nation’s economic growth.”
The Third Plan aimed at widening the base of primary education and proposed to increase the primary enrolment rate from 45 to 70 per cent in 1970. This implied additional enrolment of 2.8 million children in primary schools by 1970. To this end, 42,500 new schools were proposed to be set up in West Pakistan.