Published On: Sat, Oct 8th, 2016

Pakistan’s education system ensures rich will stay rich or get richer


Pakistan’s education system ensures rich will stay rich or get richer

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is sustaining an education system in which the rich will stay rich, or get richer, and the poor will have an ever-shrinking chance for social mobility, a new study shows.

The study, “Who Gets the Good Jobs, was conducted by Alif Ailaan and Society for the Advancement of Education (SAHE).

It says education available to children from wealthy families results in the best economic opportunities and job outcomes, whilst simultaneously denying the children of less privileged families with a free or low cost education that can help them to leapfrog the socio-economic barriers to a better life that they must contend with from the get-go.

It assessed jobs in the top national statistics socioeconomic classification, including banking, services, textile, telecom, pharmaceuticals, etc., from 828 respondents, with 702 males and 126 females from Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi.

“Our survey found that two of the biggest determinants of salary levels in the country are exposure to the English language, and whether one took O and/or A levels exams or not,” Mosharraf Zaidi, campaign director of Alif Ailaan, wrote in the report.

“The market speaks clearly: parents without economic means are being told that without an O and/or A levels certification, and without the ability to engage in the English language, your children’s prospects to get the highest paying and best jobs are limited.

“What then would incentivise those same parents to invest the money, time and effort to educate their children—especially when alternatives to schooling may include labour that adds to their household income?”

The study found that, on average, those who attended private schools earned almost Rs 40,000 more.

The report put the earnings gap down to the factor such as the type of schooling — Cambridge/O-A levels or matriculation systems.

The research also found the salaries of privately-educated employees increased more quickly. The survey covered 105 private sector organisations and attempted to explore the link between schooling and job prospects by examining educational backgrounds and how it translates into prosperous or average position in the market.

This study attempts to explore the link between schooling and job prospects by examining the schooling backgrounds, and profiles of mid and senior level managers in reputable firms in the three main urban centres in the country.


“Our findings suggest that the education system in Pakistan is reproducing existing patterns of distribution of wealth and well-being. If you do not have the privileges needed to enjoy good economic opportunities, the education system does nothing to help change that for the next generation,” it says.

“Access to quality education is based on ability to pay for it. The rich have ready access to schools that consistently produce people with higher salaries in mid and senior level jobs in the formal market.”

Lower-middle income and poorer households have access only to an education that produces people with lower salaries., it said, adding that the probability of success for children from poorer backgrounds is engineered to be lower.

Specific findings

It states that three key factors have the most impact on starting salary outcomes – school support, support at home and exposure to English.

Employees who were students at private top tier schools score the highest for each of these three critical factors for high starting salary. They are followed by those who were students at government top tier schools and private mid tier schools, which rank fairly high on all three factors. Unsurprisingly, government low tier schools ranked the lowest. In terms of home support, parent income and home environment appear to be key factors and exposure to English is likely to be as much a function of the home as the school setting.

Aside from the quality of school as a factor for people who ended up with higher starting salaries, it also found that they tended to have upper-middle and higher income parents who were able to provide more home support for them as children. Their parents were likely to have higher levels of education and their siblings were likely to be educated as well. Of the employees we interviewed, those who had started their careers with higher salaries were most likely to have had more books around the house, parents who expected them to do well in school and they were most likely to be able to take better quality tuitions if they had ever needed it.

Private top tier schools make a significant difference People who went to private top tier schools have a significant advantage when it comes to the salary they will start their career with. In fact, average starting salary goes up with the number of years one was in a private top tier school. This applied to whether the student went to one such school or more than one starting from pre-primary.

There isn’t much of a starting salary difference between government low tier and private low tier schools It was found that there is only a small difference in a person’s starting salary if they went to a government or private low tier school.

This means that it is worth taking a closer look at the belief that these mainstream private schools are providing a much better quality education than government schools. Less significantly, we also found that if you went to a government top tier or a private mid tier school there will only be a small difference in your starting salary.

Within the context of top tier schools O’ and A’ Levels give you a major starting salary advantage.

The type of school-leaving examinations taken at the secondary and higher secondary levels matter the most when it comes to person’s starting salary. The average salary for an O’ Level graduate is more than twice of a Matriculate and the same is true of A’ Levels versus a regular Intermediate from a Pakistani examination board.

Courtesy: STV

About the Author

Syed Ammar Alavi

- is Lahore (Pakistan) based journalist & writer with 25-year experience in print, wire and broadcast forms of journalism. His major fields of interest are politics, film,tv,sports, climate change and technology

Pin It