pakistan education problems

Written by Muhammad Aleem 8:51 pm Opinion, Published Content

Addressing the Problems in the Education System of Pakistan

Muhammad Aleem highlights the dire situation within Pakistan’s education sector, using the recent incident at the Islamic University of Bahawalpur (IUB) as a case in point. The prevalence of drug addiction and harassment in educational institutions, affecting both genders, and the lack of accountability and justice associated with cases involving them have unveiled a moral crisis in Pakistan. The author attributes these issues to legislative gaps, misuse of authority, communication breakdowns, and systemic failures. As a consequence, the reputation of institutes, students’ privacy, and parents’ confidence in female education have been compromised.
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Mr. Muhammad Aleem has a master's in commerce from Punjab University.As a CSS aspirant, he has developed an interest in national and international affairs which is why he often writes on different contemporary socio-economic and political topics.


What if a reformer becomes an imposter? What if a defender becomes an invader? What if a law enforcer becomes a violator? The answer is simple: “total destruction.” Teachers and educational institutes are truly the cornerstones of a society. They play a critical role in the social grooming and character-building of individuals. They also ensure the preservation and transfer of moral values to future generations. That is why teachers are called nation-builders and educational institutes are regarded as sacred places.

However, when these two forces get corrupted, the moral foundations of an entire society crumble. The incident that took place at the Islamic University of Bahawalpur is the latest example in this connection depicting the dwindling state of universities and academia in Pakistan.

What Happened at the Islamic University of Bahawalpur (IUB)?

Reportedly, the chief security officer (CSO), the core management, a few members of the university’s academia, and the powerful political elite were allegedly involved in immoral activities for the past few years. During an operation, police apprehended the CSO with drugs and more than five thousand obscene images and videos of female students. These students were sexually abused, harassed, and blackmailed on different pretexts, such as disclosure of private videos, improving grades, etc. As a result, a Pandora’s box of moral decay has opened in the country.

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The investigation is underway, and the CSO has admitted the charges made against him. Moreover, he has also unveiled the names of other individuals who were allegedly involved in the heinous crime. However, with that being said, there are a few chances that the investigation will lead to the punishment of the culprits. Pakistan does not have a good track record in this perspective. In the past, several incidents have taken place where the state failed to ensure justice and protect the dignity of its citizens, especially women and girls.

Drug Addiction & Harassment in Educational Centers

The different statistics portray a bleak picture of drug addiction and harassment in the educational institutes of Pakistan. According to different reports, one in every ten students in the country is addicted to drugs. Especially in the capital city, 50% of students in the leading schools are addicted to drugs, which is a matter of grave concern. Moreover, according to the study conducted by the Aurat Foundation, a private non-governmental organization), 98% of female students in Pakistan have experienced some form of sexual harassment.

Surprisingly, the circle of harassment is not confined to female students only, as the study also states that 20% of male students in universities have reported sexual harassment. In short, unfortunately, drug addiction and harassment have become normal occurrences in Pakistan’s learning centers.

What Causes the Crisis?

The reasons behind such inhumane incidents are numerous and obvious. At the state level, legislative loopholes and a complex justice system are a few of the factors that lead to the exploitation of students in Pakistan. At the university level, the culture of misusing authority, the unrivaled power of academia over grading, the unaddressed complaints, and the criminal silence of the administration are the push factors that lead to such crimes. Similarly, the communication gap between parents and the lack of prosecution of harassment cases also add fuel to the fire of sexual crimes in the country.

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According to official statistics obtained from the Police, Law, and Justice Commission of Pakistan, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, the Women’s Foundation, and provincial welfare agencies, there are at least 11 rape cases reported in Pakistan every day with over 22,000 rape cases reported to police across the country in the last six years. However, only 77 accused have been convicted, which comprises 0.3% of the total figure.

As far as the implications are concerned, such incidents have had far-reaching impacts on the social fabric of society. On the one hand, they have stigmatized the reputation and dignity of professional institutes and teachers. On the other hand, they have compromised students’ privacy and the credibility of high achievers. Most importantly, they have shaken the confidence of parents who want to educate their daughters. Similarly, these incidents have strengthened the narrative of those forces that oppose female education in the country by providing them with arguments. In short, such cases have put a question mark on the future of education—primarily female education—in Pakistan.

Way Forward

The gravity of the incident that happened at the Islamic University of Bahawalpur demands concrete measures across the board. At the state level, the culprits behind the subject incident should be punished rigorously to set an example for the future. Similarly, the state needs to introduce prudent reforms to fill the legal gaps that often benefit offenders. Likewise, the government needs to establish a monitoring body that includes all stakeholders and can put the theory into practice. Moreover, there is a need to ensure speedy trials in such cases by establishing separate courts.

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At the university level, harassment committees should have student representation that is missing due to the ban on student associations, and the powers of academia in deciding the final grading also require a review. At societal and domestic levels, there is a need to promote awareness among the masses and bridge the communication gap between children and parents. These are a few of the steps that can improve the situation, significantly.


Finally, it is concluded that the Islamic University of Bahawalpur incident has once again exposed the bleak face of the education sector in Pakistan. These incidents have not only underscored the future of education but also threatened the ideology of the country. Similarly, without any exaggeration, the gravity of this incident is not less than that of May 9, 2023. Therefore, the state must establish order, and all stakeholders must take action to secure the future of education and students in Pakistan.

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The views and opinions expressed in this article/paper are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial position of Paradigm Shift.

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