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Pakistan

Administration, Finance, & Educational Research



Throughout the history of Pakistan, at least until the 1990s, relatively limited resources were allocated to education. In 1960, the public expenditure on education was only 1.1 percent of GNP; by 1990, the figure had risen to 3.4 percent, though it compared quite unfavorably with expenditures on defense, which stood at 33.9 percent of GNP in 1993. In 1990 Pakistan was tied for fourth place in the world in the ratio of military expenditure to health and education expenditures.



Education at all levels falls primarily under the jurisdiction of the provincial governments. However, the federal government has, throughout the history of Pakistan, taken a leadership role in devising a national policy of education and research. Moreover, all universities, centers of excellence, and area study centers are funded by the federal government through the University Grants Commission. The educational institutions of all levels located in the "federal territory" are administered by the federal government.

The federal Ministry of Education is headed by the minister of education, assisted by the education secretary, who is a senior member of the bureaucracy. The provincial education departments are likewise headed by the education ministers assisted by education secretaries in charge of separate divisions such as primary, secondary, vocational, and higher education. The provinces are divided into regions and districts for administrative purposes. Primary education at the district level is administered by a district education officer, while secondary education is headed in each region by a regional director. The colleges in each province are under the administrative control of a Directorate of Education located in the provincial capital.

The three federal public universities are headed ex-officio by the President of Pakistan, while the provincial universities, following the colonial precedent, have the provincial governor as ex-officio chancellor of all universities in the province. The day-to-day administration is headed by the vice chancellor, appointed by the chancellor from a short list approved by the University's Syndicate or Executive Council and the minister of education of the province. In practice, the bureaucrats in the Education Department wield considerable influence, both through manipulation of the names submitted to the chancellor as well as through an official from the ministry appointed to "advise" the Chancellor on the various matters referred to him by the vice chancellors of the universities in the province.

Each university has an Academic Senate, whose membership, unlike that of Western universities, which limit it only to faculty, is drawn from principals of colleges, heads of professional colleges, elected heads of faculties, elected representatives of alumni graduates, heads of university departments (ex-officio), and representatives of the Ministry of Education, Chamber of Commerce, trade unions etc. Purely academic matters such as appointment of search committees for recruitment of faculty and of Ph.D. "guides" and endorsement of changes in curriculum and of suggested names of paper-setters and examiners for the university-held examinations after their prior approval by Boards of Studies are the charge of the Academic Council. It consists of deans, department heads, and representatives of teaching staff. Both the Senate and the Academic Council meetings are chaired by the vice chancellor. A Board of Studies for each discipline consists of an elected chairperson and members drawn from the heads of the corresponding department in the affiliated colleges. Changes in syllabus in a particular discipline are first discussed and approved by the respective Board of Studies, which also draws up a list of paper-setters and examiners and submits it to the dean of the faculty concerned for presentation to the Academic Council. Presiding over the university bureaucracy is the registrar, who works closely with the vice chancellor.

The regular or "current" expenditure on faculty and staff salaries, laboratories, and libraries in provincial universities is met through tuition fees (which often cover less than five to seven percent of the total expenditure) and government grants from the provincial and federal governments on an almost fifty-fifty basis. Since 1974, federal grants are funneled through the University Grants Commission (UGC), which often funds capital expenditures on physical plant such as buildings, major additions to laboratories or libraries, research and travel grants to faculty, and innovative additions to the curriculum. The dependence of the university administrations on three bureaucracies—state, federal, and UGC—have stultified creativity and bred a measure of irresponsibility. To quote from a World Bank Report of 1990:

This divorce of administrative from financial responsibility means that neither federal nor provincial, nor university authorities can be held to account for the overall management of the university system. Especially in an environment where tough decisions are required, nothing significant can be accomplished to improve the universities until this duality of management control is ended.

There has been no change in the system since publication of the World Bank Report.


Additional topics

Education Encyclopedia - StateUniversity.comGlobal Education ReferencePakistan - History Background, Constitutional Legal Foundations, Educational System—overview, Preprimary Primary Education, Secondary Education