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How education helps to improve sustainable development

Updated: Apr 16, 2023

By Malik Amjad Saeed

Multan, Pakistan

World population is increasing rapidly and now it leads to more than 7 billion human’s population of the whole world. Increase in the population leads to many problems related to economic, social and environmental development. These issues include, lack of natural resources, biodiversity, climate change, pollution, poverty, poor economic growth, many health problems, inequality and poor social interaction etc. These problems cause unsustainability to the environment. Therefore, it is necessary to keep the natural resources in a balanced form to meet the needs of both present and future generations.

Education plays a vital role in sustainable development. It develops knowledge, values, skills, and attitude through which people change their perspective towards quality of life. Each human in this planet is responsible to participate in the social activities and should give services through getting knowledge and skills by education. Following are the factors to improve sustainable development through education.

  • Education helps to keep balance in output and input ratio of production of goods to improve economic growth by providing trained workers or labors to the industries which enhance the quality work.

  • Education helps in making modern technologies to cure disease and to improve health.

  • Education gives awareness to the people about importance of natural resources and their effective use for sustainability.

  • Education helps in making new techniques for energy conservation which is used for electricity and transport.

  • It Introduce technologies to improve agricultural production and effective use of fertilizers to reduce pollution.

  • It helps in making forest rehabilitation techniques.

  • It improves the social behavior and interaction at local, national and international level.

These all above factor could be accomplished and improved through well-organized education system. Therefore, it is important to analyze the problems related to current education system and should find the ways to overcome educational problems.

There are basically three types of education system which includes:

  • Formal education

  • Non-formal education

  • Informal education

Formal education consists of structured and planned curriculum by the government. Students get education by trained teachers. It involves basic subjects related to science, arts and commerce which at higher study divided into engineering and medical sciences. Formal education systems are very slow to change and their reorientation may take a long time to give results.

Non-formal education system consists on flexible curriculum. There is no need for proper attendance of the students and interaction among students and teachers is not necessary. It consists of student’s interest and most of the activities takes place outside the institution.

Informal education is not specifically structured and organized. It involves skills or knowledge through observation and experiences. Informal education system also includes learning from radio, television, internet, incidents etc. All forms of education system are important for the sustainable development but non-formal and informal education system help more to adopt better social and environmental interactions.

Causes of flaws in education in developing countries:

Education is a pillar for sustainable development in the whole world. The main reason of difference between developing and under developing countries is education system. Developing countries like Pakistan have main issue of poor education system. Pakistan is known as 6th populous country of the world. The current population rate of Pakistan is 220.9 million and the birth rate is 28.5/1000. But it has 58% literacy rate which is very low. Children who are not going to school are 6.7million in which 67% are girls.

Pakistan’s education system consists on primary, middle, secondary, intermediate and university levels. It includes government and private schools, colleges and universities.

Following are the main problems related to the education in Pakistan.

Pakistan’s vocational education and training (TVET) system is facing multiple challenges including access, quality, equity and relevance to industry. Even the graduates of the institutes find it hard to get jobs because of poor training system and the low quality of education. It adversely impacts on youth who are seeking meaningful employment.

The distribution of funds for education is very low in contrast to other countries. It ranges 1.5 to 2.5% of the total GDP. There are many agencies and policies at national and international level for education but due to lack of implementation on policies and strategies leads to poor education system in Pakistan.

There is lack of professional and trained teachers and also poor communication among students and teachers.

Limited field are offered in the curriculum and mostly students cannot choose their field according to their interest.

There is no unity in the curriculum in all institution due to financial difference. Nation Education System includes matriculation and intermediate while many other institutions have British Education System which includes O level and A level. This problem leads to the confusion in overall education system.

Education considered as a business in Pakistan. Students have poor perception towards education. They just pass their exams to get degree for the job but do not become active participate in the society. The syllabus is not updated according to the new technologies and techniques introducing in the world.

There is lack of practical work due to lack of laboratories and other minimum resources for experiments. Therefore, students cannot get skillful and quality education.

Poverty also is a major issue in Pakistan. It is difficult to access the education for poor people.

Sustainable development can improve through the quality of education by considering the components of sustainability which include economic, social and environmental factors. Practical work should be added in the syllabus at all levels of education. Teacher should be trained to convey authentic information to their students. In the primary education level teachers should practice their students about cleanliness of environment and its importance. It will develop effective behavior in them for future. There should be laboratories and training centers for practicing and to develop skills according to modern technologies for sustainable development.

There are many policies and strategies involved in promoting sustainable development. The United Nations Introduced 2030 agenda in 2015 with 193 members. There are 17 SDGs (sustainable Development Goals) included for the development of sustainability. Pakistan is also a member of this agenda. ESD (Education for Sustainable Development) is the fourth goal of SDG. It focuses on the access to quality education and lifetime learning opportunities. It also focuses on the attainment of basic and higher skills at all phases of education e.g. technical and vocational education and training which necessary for the development of the society and protection of the environment.

Thank you for reading!


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Dib, C. Z. (1988, October). Formal, non-formal and informal education: concepts/applicability. In AIP conference proceedings (Vol. 173, No. 1, pp. 300-315). American Institute of Physics.

Kioupi, V., & Voulvoulis, N. (2019). Education for sustainable development: A systemic framework for connecting the SDGs to educational outcomes. Sustainability, 11(21), 6104.

Ahmad, I. (2014). Critical Analysis of the Problems of Education in Pakistan: Possible Solutions. International Journal of Evaluation and Research in Education, 3(2), 79-84.

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