More than a third of out-of-school children of the world live in South Asia. The promise of universal quality education for all children of this region has so far been elusive. The crises in education faced by different countries of the region differ in their nature as well as import. Notwithstanding the differences, there are also some common denominators, such as the burgeoning population and growth of private sector in mass education.
Along with the growing list of problems that South Asian countries must resolve, the pressure for delivering better quality education for all in the region is escalating, in line with the imperatives of a global knowledge economy. But reforming education is not just a technical issue. In order for education reforms to gain momentum, the media, the general populace, and members of the policy-making community need to be more informed about the various dimensions of the educational challenges faced by South Asian societies.
The book is a modest attempt to respond to this need. The contributions in this volume are research-based and strive at providing a deeper understanding of the various dimensions of the education crises as well as responses to them. Among the aims of this book are also to reach out to an audience outside of the academy. While it seeks to provide insights into country-specific initiatives, readers of this volume will also be able to help those concerned with and about education to think more clearly about the challenges of education reform in their own particular context.
Abbas Rashid has been engaged in education policy analysis for many years and is currently the executive director of the Society for the Advancement of Education (SAHE), a Lahore-based institution which has been active in the field of education research and advocacy for over 30 years. He is also the convener of the Campaign for Quality Education (CQE). He has a particular interest in the areas of language and learning, privatization of education and education for citizenship, especially in the context of Pakistan. His work on these issues has been published at home and abroad. He also contributes frequently on matters relating to education quality and equity in the media.
Irfan Muzaffar’s work has expanded to embrace teacher education, education research, education policy analysis, programme design, and evaluation in a variety of cultural contexts that include Africa, South Asia, and the United States. As a teacher-educator, Irfan has conducted mathematics education courses at the Ali Institute of Education, Lahore, and Michigan State University, USA. His current research interests centre on the history and philosophy of education reforms in general, and citizenship education in Muslim countries in particular. He regularly offers seminars on research methods and connections between research and policy. Irfan’s academic contributions on education policy issues related to public-private education debates have been widely published.