Exploring the capacity of rural Pakistanis to identify the unmet educational needs and to plan educational initiatives to address those needs

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Tahir, Adnan
Pakistan has failed to provide education to the majority of its children. Educational reforms undertaken by the government and other organizations (both domestic and international) have failed to raise literacy in Pakistan, especially in rural areas. Learning in rural communities takes place for basic survival only. As a result, illiterate children are unintentionally suffering, and as they grow up to be adults, they are unable to participate actively as citizens. Even though all of Pakistan is in desperate need of educational reform, the focus of this research was on the educational needs of people living in rural areas. Furthermore, the intent of this research was to approach educational improvement in the community-based, problem-solving manner articulated and utilized by Wheatley, Frieze, and members of the Berkana Institute. An instrumental case study approach was used to answer the following questions: What do the children and adults in rural Pakistan perceive as their unmet educational needs? What educational developments (initiatives) can emerge from the grass-root efforts of rural Pakistani citizens? The results of this research demonstrate that rural Pakistanis have a desire to become educated, a sense of responsibility for educating themselves and others, and a capacity for local change. Participants identified local learning needs and proposed a number of local solutions. The multi-layered issues in education can be mediated by focusing on technical and practical education, not just for children but also adults.