DAANISH SCHOOLS SYSTEM: AN APPRAISAL
Punjab is the most populous province of Pakistan and the estimated population of the province is 90.51 million. The province has an area of 2, 05,344 per square kilometer; with the average population density of 441 persons per square kilometer. Approximately 48.4% (i.e. 43.77 million) population of Punjab province is females. Literacy rate of Punjab (10 years and above) is 60% (male 70% and female 51%). However, there are large variations among the districts transversely the province. Literacy rate of Rawalpindi is 79% (87% for male and 71% for female). Hafizabad has literacy rate of 58% (68% for male and 48% for female). In Southern Punjab, the situation further deteriorates since the literacy rate in D.G.Khan is 43% whereas it is 57% for male and 29% for female. Rajanpur has the lowest literacy rate in the province of Punjab with literacy rate of 34% whereas it is 45% for male and 22% for female (NIPS, 2009, Punjab Development Statistics, 2011, PSLM 2010-11).
In a quickly growing population as in Pakistan, the need for a consistent education system is strongly desired. Pakistan’s education system, although not as modern and proficient as that of developed countries, has displayed significant progress during the last decade. In past Pakistan has managed to develop well regarded schools and colleges in the public sector but lately the high achievers on national and international level have appeared from the private sector education system of Pakistan which continues to electrify the general public awareness. Hence the public confidence lies in the private sector education creating a demand for more schools.
The latest floods have added to degenerate the cause, infrastructure across a important part of semi-urban and rural Pakistan has been exaggerated as a result of the floods, and government is trying to carry out reconstruction efforts. According to United Nations more than ten thousands schools have been slap and damaged country wide. Like various other developing countries, the situation in the education sector of Pakistan is not very hopeful. At primary level the low enrolment rates of students, lack of trained teachers and very low level of public investment is the major cause of its poor performance. Public expenditure on education remained 2.05% of GDP which is amongst the lowest compared to other neighboring Asian countries. On the other hand literacy and primary school enrolment rates in Pakistan have shown improvement during last five years but they are still low when compared to the other countries of the region, proving there is probable for demand for education in the private sector. Due to the lack of interest of the Federal Government, the admirable initiatives by Government of Punjab over the past few years have been the introduction of “Parha Likha Punjab Program” which offered provision of free education and books to primary school level students and a current launch of “Daanish School Systems” by Chief Minister Punjab. The “Daanish School System” provides quality education with high standards and state of the art campus facilities for the poor.
Establishment of Daanish Schools in the backward areas of the province is an important project of the government and the schools will polish the abilities of students while eradicating ignorance and poverty. Daanish schools will not only help alleviate poverty in backward areas but also play a useful role in rooting out terrorism and extremism.
There is no suspicion that the education system in Pakistan is fast lessening apart generally because of the poor quality of education and insufficient availability of funds. The official claim puts the literacy rate at 49.9 per cent (Punjab: 59 percent), while in actual fact it is far lower. In such a condition the idea of launching Daanish Schools is significantly good, particularly in a country like ours where literacy rate is less than any other state of the South Asian region, let alone the rest of the world.
In 2010 the Government of Punjab has decided to launch Daanish Schools in selected areas of the province. It is claimed that the schools will bring impartiality and the poorest of the poor will get a chance to access quality education at the state expense. Daanish Schools are Elite schools for the poor, serving the most marginalized sections of the society.
Statement of the Problem
Before Daanish Schools are replicated in other parts of Punjab a proper appraisal of the initiative is required which needs a study of its success and failures to check whether Daanish Schools have achieved its goals or not.
Significance and Scope of the Study
The scope of this study will be limited to analyzing the change in the quality of education in Punjab. An association of the change in service delivery will be developed with the education system of Daanish Schools. The study will also explore the weaknesses, if any, in this system and propose further improvements wherever possible. Furthermore, the Study will also propose how this system can be replicated successfully in other provinces and sectors for effective service delivery.
Review of the Literature and Method
Secondary data and resources will be used in this study. This study will be mainly descriptive, qualitative and analytical. Quantitative data from secondary resources will be used wherever possible.
The structured interviews will also be conducted with the key stakeholders including the representatives of the government schools, private schools, representatives of the civil society organizations and the residents of Punjab.
Important documents will also be used for analysis including the Constitution of Pakistan, framed in 1973. Moreover, the budget documents of the Daanish Schools will also be analyzed.
Organization of the Paper
The paper is organized into five sections. The next Section will discuss the education and the constitution of Pakistan, appropriate policies and strategies, and education reforms in Pakistan. Section 3 will be focused on the Daanish Schools System in Punjab and in fourth section will pay attention on an appraisal of Daanish schools system. The last Section will provide conclusion of the study and some recommendations.