In Pakistan, the education system adopted from colonial authorities has been described as one of the most underdeveloped in the world. Barely 60% of children complete grades 1 to 5 at primary school, despite three years of play group, nursery and kindergarten pre-school to prepare them.
Middle school follows with grades 6 to 8. Single-sex education is still preferred in rural areas. Subjects include Urdu, English, arts, Islamic studies, maths, science, social studies, and computer science where equipment is available.
Senior school covers grades 9 to 12 with annual examinations. On completion of grade 10, pupils may qualify for a secondary school certificate. If they wish to, they may proceed further to grade 12, following which they sit a final examination for their higher secondary school certificate. During this time, they opt for one of several streams that include pre-medical, pre-engineering, humanities / social sciences and commerce.
Vocational education is controlled by the Pakistani Technical Education and Vocational Training Authority. This body strives to re-engineer the process in line with national priorities, while raising tutoring and examination standards too.
Around 8% of Pakistanis have tertiary qualifications although the government would like to increase this to 20% by 2020. Entry is via a higher secondary school certificate that provides access to bachelor degrees in disciplines such as architecture, engineering, dentistry, medicine, pharmacy and nursing.
A pass requires just 2 years of study, and an honors degree 4. For the initial period the curriculum is a mixture of compulsory subjects and specializations. After that, students specialize completely. Thereafter, they may continue with more advanced study as they wish. Some institutions like Lahore Pakistan University are ancient. Others are modern.