Too often the debate on education development in Pakistan is focused on the possible role of madrassahs in provoking violent extremism and sectarian conflict. However, this narrow focus serves to overshadow other factors that contribute to the country’s educational system. For example, under-investment by the Pakistani government in basic education over the last 20 years has left the public education system in disarray—lacking the schools, teachers, and materials necessary to ensure that every child receives a quality basic education.
On November 10, the Center for Universal Education at Brookings hosted a discussion with leading Pakistani experts about the current status and future of the country’s education system. The discussion was moderated by the Center’s Co-Director and Fellow Rebecca Winthrop, and included Brookings’ Senior Fellow Stephen Cohen, former Pakistan government official Javed Hasan Aly, Quratulian Bakhteari of the Institute for Development Studies and Practices in Pakistan, and Rashid Bajwa of Pakistan’s National Rural Support Programme. More than 30 experts from the U.S. federal government, international nongovernmental organizations, and academic institutions participated in the event.