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There are different education systems that exist in United Kingdom (UK) and Pakistan. These two countries exist in different continents namely Europe and Asia. The United Kingdom (UK) is comprised of four countries namely Wales, Ireland, England and Scotland; education system that exists in all countries that forms a larger united kingdom is not such similar. There are some minimal similarities is some aspects. Pakistan is divided into four provinces. There are differences and similarities of education systems that exist within Pakistan in their four provinces in the case of UK countries. International comparison of education system is a key factor when determining how far a country has advanced in terms of innovation, technology, infrastructure and other factors of developments. The purpose of this essay is to compare and contrast the education systems that exist in the UK and Pakistan in terms of structure, curriculum, religion assessments, and examinations among others.
The education system that exists in Pakistan is three-tier; it includes elementary (grade1-8), secondary (grade 9-12) and higher education also known as tertiary education which follow after twelve years of schooling. Elementary education is divided into two levels. There is primary (grade 1-5) and elementary or middle (grade 6-8). This are delivered in primary and elementary school. Whereas education in UK is compulsory, education is not compulsory (statutory) requirement at all levels in Pakistan and this has led to an increase in illiteracy rate and low participation rate at all levels. In elementary schools, children between the ages of 5 years to nine years are enrolled. Education is not statutory in some UK countries like Scotland and England. In Scotland, the children entry age is five but it’s not statutory like in England; the differences that exist is that in Scotland is there is an existence of hard and fast cut-off dates in regard to what is normally considered as “rising fives”(Matheson 2000). The majority of children in rural schools in Pakistan join primary school when they have attained the age of six years or even more and unlike in UK where 5 years old are enrolled. Most countries in UK have their primary level split into two; there is key stage 1 (5-6 years) and key stage 2 (year 7-11).this is quite different with a three tier system being used in Pakistan. A primary education last for 7 years in Scotland and they do not have preparatory classes like in the case of England.
Secondary education in Pakistan has duration of four years (grade 9-12). This is provided in government sponsored secondary and higher secondary schools. The majority of these schools have middle level classes. The institutions of learning that exists in all of their provinces are the same, the existence of colleges are meant to offer secondary classes. In UK, secondary schools normally targets age group of 12-16 and at times 12-17 or even 18 depending on the country, in which students joins A-levels. In Northern Ireland, major differences that exists is that their institutions exists in the basis of religious communities or sect; their schools are managed by three groups namely Catholics, community and protestants. In Pakistan, majority of their schools are government sponsored. Also there is minimal religious influence in their education sector; Islamic teachings are most commonly taught in various schools. The education system in Northern Ireland is characterized by religious segregation, these does not exist in other UK countries (McAllister & Dowds 2014). The parent’s attitude of selecting schools for their children of other religion is the rarest thing that happens in Northern Ireland just like in the case of Muslim parents in Pakistan. Their system allows religious schools which includes Muslims, Anglican, Jewish and Roman catholic schools.
In Pakistan, the ministry of education has responsibility for curriculum for grades 1-12; curriculum bureau or curriculum Research and Development Center (CRDC) operates in all their provinces and their role is to provide academic assistance to ministry of education based in Islamabad. The process of formulation normally takes a lot of time; it thus requires experts’ opinions and inclusiveness, and representation from all provinces. The role of National Curriculum Review Committee is finalizing curriculum draft that would be followed nationally. The curriculum for higher education is formulated by concerned departments in colleges or universities (Shah 2014). The process of formulating a curriculum in UK varies in all their four countries. In Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, the curriculum they have is a statutory subject based. In Scotland, their curriculum from 5 to 14 is mainly based on five broad curriculum areas, 14 to 16 is based on eight study modes. The major difference that exists in primary and secondary schools in Scotland is that there is a domination of subjects in their curriculum. Also their curriculum is characterized by shorter academic courses and vocational modules. The rest of other UK countries have longer academic courses and vocational programs that usually lead to group awards. Pakistan curriculum formulation is more centralized and it is similar to other UK countries but not in the case of Scotland where they have flexible and teacher centered curriculum.
In Pakistan, the district governments are in charge of assessment and examinations as from grades 1 to 12. A national curriculum test does not exist for primary, secondary and elementary schools in three provinces which includes AJK, FANA and FATA and unlike in the case of UK. In Punjab province, provincial and district governments have introduced national curriculum test both in primary (grade 5) and elementary (grade 8), this tests are conducted by district and provincial government. The continuous assessment test in Punjab determines ones progression in their academic system; this is per their examination reforms. Initially there was six assessments per year which was revised later to four assessments. There are compulsory examinations at the end of each grade all over their three provinces and it is conducted by different bodies which includes Boards of intermediate secondary schools (BISE) for secondary and higher secondary level; The Inter-Board Committee of chairman ensures that there is uniformity and quality assurance across BISEs. In UK, their national curriculum are statutory most notably in England; this does not exist is Scotland. These tests are conducted in England at the end of each stage like KS1, KS2, KS3 and KS4. Primary SAT examination was abandoned in Wales on grounds that it wasn’t helpful when it comes to raising standards (Murphy 2014). Unlike in Pakistan; there is no much difference when it comes to awarding of certificates across the UK. The GCSE are awarded to students upon completing their 16 years of schooling while in Scotland, it is awarded after 17 or 18 years of schooling (McNally 2013).
In conclusion, this study shows differences and similarities that exist in the Pakistani education system and UK education system. There are disparities in education system within the UK countries just like in the case of four provinces within Pakistan. What creates these divisions in education system of this two countries are the resources that are there in public schools; the Pakistani educational institutions experience lack of qualified and trained personnel despite the similarities that exists in terms of infrastructure between these two countries (Lall 2012).
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