The Pakistani Constitution promises “free and compulsory” education for all, but 20 million children are not in school. Many who are enrolled receive poor-quality education: surveys show Pakistani students ranking among the lowest achievers in the world. This has led families in all but the lowest income groups to seek private alternatives for their children, weakening the constituency for improved public schools. Under Prime Minister Imran Khan, the government has pushed for a Single National Curriculum. Critics contend that it will not address lack of access or the poor quality of education, but that it could lead to restrictions on school choice, provincial autonomy, and linguistic diversity, while imposing a narrow vision of national identity.

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