Structure of the System
Education is organized into five levels: primary (grades one
through five); middle (grades six through eight); high (grades
nine and ten, culminating in matriculation); intermediate (grades
eleven and twelve, leading to an F.A. diploma in arts or F.S.
science; and university programs leading to undergraduate and
advanced degrees. Preparatory classes (kachi, or nursery)
were formally incorporated into the system in 1988 with the Seventh
Academic and technical education institutions are the responsibility
of the federal Ministry of Education, which coordinates instruction
through the intermediate level. Above that level, a designated
university in each province is responsible for coordination of
instruction and examinations. In certain cases, a different ministry
may oversee specialized programs. Universities enjoy limited autonomy;
their finances are overseen by a University Grants Commission,
as in Britain.
Teacher-training workshops are overseen by the respective provincial
education ministries in order to improve teaching skills. However,
incentives are severely lacking, and, perhaps because of the shortage
of financial support to education, few teachers participate. Rates
of absenteeism among teachers are high in general, inducing support
for community-coordinated efforts promoted in the Eighth Five-Year
In 1991 there were 87,545 primary schools, 189,200 primary school
teachers, and 7,768,000 students enrolled at the primary level,
with a student-to-teacher ratio of forty-one to one. Just over
one-third of all children of primary school age were enrolled
in a school in 1989. There were 11,978 secondary schools, 154,802
secondary school teachers, and 2,995,000 students enrolled at
the secondary level, with a student-to- teacher ratio of nineteen
Primary school dropout rates remained fairly consistent in the
1970s and 1980s, at just over 50 percent for boys and 60 percent
for girls. The middle school dropout rates for boys and girls
rose from 22 percent in 1976 to about 33 percent in 1983. However,
a noticeable shift occurred in the beginning of the 1980s regarding
the postprimary dropout rate: whereas boys and girls had relatively
equal rates (14 percent) in 1975, by 1979-- just as Zia initiated
his government's Islamization program--the dropout rate for boys
was 25 percent while for girls it was only 16 percent. By 1993
this trend had dramatically reversed, and boys had a dropout rate
of only 7 percent compared with the girls' rate of 15 percent.
The Seventh Five-Year Plan envisioned that every child five years
and above would have access to either a primary school or a comparable,
but less comprehensive, mosque school. However, because of financial
constraints, this goal was not achieved.
In drafting the Eighth Five-Year Plan in 1992, the government
therefore reiterated the need to mobilize a large share of national
resources to finance education. To improve access to schools,
especially at the primary level, the government sought to decentralize
and democratize the design and implemention of its education strategy.
To give parents a greater voice in running schools, it planned
to transfer control of primary and secondary schools to NGOs.
The government also intended to gradually make all high schools,
colleges, and universities autonomous, although no schedule was
specified for achieving this ambitious goal.
Data as of April 1994