School Enrolments in Pakistan have risen dramatically since independence. Z A Bhutto’s 1973 constitution enshrined the right to free primary education for all, and one of his earliest official acts was to nationalize all except missionary schools with the intention of bringing this about. But so far primary schooling (age five to 10) is only available to about half the country’s children and secondary schooling (11 to 17) to less than one-fifth, with a boy-girl ratio of about two to one, Pakistan is in the bottom 10 countries in the world for female attendance in primary school.
Only one in every four adults over age 15 is literate, a lower proportion than in most 35% for women (under10% in rural areas), reflecting cultural and religious traditions that keep women at home.
Interestingly, only one in five have had any formal schooling, so that many who are literate are self-taught. or home-taught. Less than 2% have gone on to higher education. Schooling is not compulsory at any level.
Pakistan now has about 300 secondary vocational institutes, 600 liberal-arts, professional and teacher-training colleges and at least 22 universities, including provincial universities in each province, a university in Azad Jammu & Kashmir, and an open university in Islamabad. Most are coeducational, though the majority of students are still men. There are some women-only colleges.
Many schools are now being reprivatised, and new private school are allowed. The government spends about 3% of its development budget on education, most of it toward expanding primary and secondary schools.