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Comparison between Pakistan and UK Education System

“Education is the sharing of Skill, knowledge, Attitude, and information from teachers to students”.

The significance of Education in Islam:

  • Are those Equal, those who know and those who do not know? (Al-Zumr 09).
  • According to the saying of Last Prophet (P.B.U.H) for the sake of knowledge you can travel to the longest distance like Arabia from China. (Al-Hadith).


Education plays a very important role in the development of a country in every field. It plays a model role in the social and economic development of a country. The differences in the education system and the structure of countries have to lead to different economic growth rates and also affected the social-cultural structure. To maintain the pillar of development in the specific country, there is a need to standardize the education system among different countries. (Lindley, J., 2009).

There is a need for continued effort and human resources equipped with adequate manpower to transform the economy of the country. For example, Pakistan and U.K have adopted various educational policies and plans for the improvement of their education systems. There are various differences among the education system of Pakistan and the United Kingdom. Comparison of education and training with other countries are of great importance to realize the latest innovations and developments in the education systems.

Here, we compare the education systems of Pakistan and UK in perspective of seven main dimensions that are:

  • Educational Objectives
  • Structure of Education Systems
  • Educational stakeholders and their Roles
  • Curriculum Formulation
  • Evaluation and Assessment
  • Educational Administration and supervision
  • Training and Education for teachers

Pakistan consists of four provinces Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan, and NWFP, while on the other hand, the UK consists of four countries England, Wales, North Ireland and Scotland.

Educational Objectives in the two countries:


  • To encourage the values that are connected with the intellectual pleasures of learning, creativity, and curiosity.
  • To promote the standards of written and spoken English for its citizens.
  • To develop and support the Anglophone culture, understanding and sustaining it by linking the past and the present (Lall, M., 2008).
  • To facilitate the social and moral developments among the students and citizens.
  • To enhance the mutual understanding and cohesiveness among the multicultural framework.
  • To produce more financial resources and manage them effectively to develop the educational system.
  • To promote co-curricular activities at all level of education.
  • To develop a good standard and acceptable instructional curriculum and implement it as one of the good practice in the educational system.
  • To guide the students in higher education and career selection.

United Kingdom (UK)

  • To encourage the self-development and the development of the country through the achievement of knowledge and skills (Lippi-Green, R., 1997).
  • To promote love and loyalty to the country.
  • To ensure the student’s holistic development.
  • To encourage the understanding of other cultures and guide students to identify their position in the society (Kuklick, H., 1991).
  • To support conducive environment for health practices and economic growth.
  • To promote the right attitude for the peaceful coexistence among the citizens.
  • To encourage the cooperation through understanding the interrelationship among other countries and appreciate them.

Educational Structure of Pakistan and United Kingdom (UK):

The education system of Pakistan mainly consists of three tiers meaning that they have an elementary level (for class 1 to 8), secondary level (for class 9 to 12) and a higher education level (after grade 12). The elementary level of education is further divided into two sublevels that are primary level (Grade 1 to 5) and middle elementary level (6 to 8 class). Education is not compulsory in Pakistan even at the primary level; hence that is the reason that Pakistan faces a very low literacy rate. Almost 5.5 million children of age 5 to 9 are seen out of school (Memon, G.R., 2007).

Primary and Elementary Education:

The main difference in the education structure of Pakistan and UK is that children in Pakistan are usually enrolled in primary or elementary school at the age of five or six, while this is not the case in the UK. In England, the enrollment of 5-year-old children in elementary school is not statutory as well as in Scotland.

In the rural areas sometimes children enroll in primary school at the age of five or even more. On the other hand in some countries of UK primary level is splits in key stage 1 (year 5-6) and key stage 2 (7-11 year).

Primary education in Scotland takes seven years and Matheson (2007) even supports that there are no middle schools for Scots and the primary takes seven years. In comparison to Scotland, England has six years of primary with an additional middle school in the educational structure.

Secondary Education:

In Pakistan, duration of secondary education is four years that start from grade 9 to grade 12 (Khalid, S. M., & Khan, M. F., 2006). It is catered in government secondary schools and secondary education centers. The same type of school and colleges exist in all provinces to cater the secondary classes. While in the United Kingdom, secondary schools cater to the education of age groups 12-16 or sometimes it is 12-17, Whereas at the age of 18 students join A-levels.

In the Northern Ireland country, different religious parties and communities bring the educational differences. The schools and education basically managed by three groups (Lindley, J., 2009); that are:

  • Catholic
  • Protestants
  • Community supported schools or parent-community integrated schools.

Dunn (2000) stated that The “Segregation” by religion basis is the only distinguishing characteristic of the education system of Northern Ireland, which is not seen in the other countries of the UK. While some schools in Northern Ireland have adopted the English education system where children of Jewish, Muslims, Roman Catholic and Anglican are allowed to study. The private sector schools of Pakistan and Wales have little diversity and more similarities. In Pakistan, all the state schools are generally primary, elementary, secondary or higher secondary. There are few comprehensive pilots and secondary school in Pakistan but they are in little proportion as compared to state schools just like in Wales. In fact, the proportion of these schools is approximately 1% in Pakistan and Wales, while in England they consist of 4% (Halpin et al, 1997).

The United Kingdom has a compulsory education for 14-16 years, while Pakistan has not any compulsory years of education at any level.

One more prominent difference between Pakistan and the UK education system can be seen in regard to resources in state schools. Pakistan has very few teaching resources in the state school in contrast with the UK. (Malik, S., & Courtney, K., 2011).

Pakistani educational system has a lack of trained teachers, handful teaching and physical resources as compared to UK educational institutions.

Higher Education:

The Higher education in Pakistan has started after the successful completion of grade 12 education. It is catered in colleges and universities. The universities and awarding degree colleges are very autonomous. They are characterized by provincial governments and Higher Education Commission in Pakistan.

Similarly, in the UK, students can join the higher institutions after the achievement of secondary education. Some students join professional colleges while other joins universities for the attainment of higher education.

The duration of degree program varies in Higher education institutions depending upon the country of study and the type of the program. For example in England, the duration of three years is required to complete a degree program on a full-time basis (Van Ark, B., 2008). While the part-time students might take five years to complete their first degree. Scotland takes four years of duration to complete an Honor’s degree program.

According to the conventional system in Pakistan, Higher education has a duration of two years but now this conventional system has been replaced and the span of the degree becomes four years. In addition, medicine program and pharmacy have five-year span, while agriculture engineering has four or five years span depending on the university.
Master degree in Pakistan takes two years, while in the UK it is a one year program. The Duration of the Ph.D. program is at least three years in both Pakistan and UK.

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