Despite millions of donor dollars and billions of tax payer's rupees having been spent, the education sector in Pakistan remains ill-managed and quite disconnected with anything remotely modern.

It is important to go beyond the conventional wisdom of explaining the failure of the education sector through corruption and absence of political will. More than corruption and absence of political will, it is the absence of a vision and a commitment to provide modern education to children of modest means. If this were not true, donors, NGOs and philanthropists, who are not corrupt and are convinced of their political will to bring about a change in the education sector, would have achieved their objective of providing modern education at least in areas they have been involved with.

Reforming the government schools is important only because the scale and resources of the state cannot be replaced by private initiatives, however well-meaning and substantial that initiative may be. Working with the government is difficult, but real change will come only when government schools become modern institutions of learning. It is, therefore, imperative to break the psychological barrier that government schools cannot do much better, and to demonstrate that government schools can and must provide modern curriculum and modern teaching method for the underprivileged children.

Sami Mustafa