Education is an undeniable tool for nation building. It is a process of orderly instruction and training to pass on knowledge, attitudes and aptitudes to people intended at nurturing them to play proactive roles in the development of their nation. But in Pakistan the condition of education is unsatisfactory. According to Secretary of State for International Development, Andrew Mitchell, ‘Pakistan is facing an education emergency.
The facts are shocking. Half the adult population and two thirds of the [female] population is illiterate’ (Mitchell, 2012). Pakistan is significantly off track on MDG 2, achieving universal primary education by 2015. Furthermore, almost half of children enrolled do not complete their primary education this is an alarming figure. Similarly the literacy rate of Khyber Pakhtoon khwa (KPK) is very low it is 50%. For females, it is 30 % females while for males it is 70 %. It is a huge gender disparity where an important part of the society has such a low literacy rate.
In 2010-11, 45% students have been dropped out at government primary schools level over a complete circle of 6 years. It includes 39% boys and 53% girls. Apart from economic and cultural factors the other reason for high dropout rate is that most of the students don’t academically score well in primary schools and hence fail to promote to higher classes. There base is not strong so there is a dire need to familiarize children of the age of 3 to 5 years with education which is done through Pre schooling, instead of directly enrolling them to primary schools Government of KPK, 2010.
So the seed of education is sown by pre schooling. Pre schooling is a stepping stone and foundation for all the succeeding phases of further education. It is a tool which helps to acquaint and prepare children with schooling. A substantial body of research establishes that preschool education can improve the learning and cognitive development of young children. There is a positive impact of pre schooling on the cognitive and social development of a child this is discussed in detail by many researchers like Shonkoff and Philips (2000) and Gormley (2005).
Furthermore it’s concluded that the academic performance of a child in primary schools is enhanced by enrollment in pre schools which includes their reading, mathematical performance and adjustment issues in primary schools. (Currie, 2002), Katherine et al. , 2006 and Entwisle, 2012). Parents play an important role in academic learning of children and in sending their children to preschools; this includes the education level of the parents, their perception of education and their income level which in other words drive them to send their children to preschools Fagbeminiyi (2011).
In case of Pakistan there is little body of research available on pre schooling, which is on rudimentary basis and not very detailed, a lot of areas are still untouched as the concept is still new for Pakistan. Studies have been conducted but still there is a lot needed to be done. This turned out to be the focus of our study which is clearly discussed in the problem statement, i. e what are different forms of pre schooling and their impact on Primary school performance and enrollment. When broadly divided there are basically two types of pre schooling, Formal pre schooling and Informal pre schooling.
Studies have been conducted on just formal pre schooling and its impact but partial or almost none of them are about informal pre schooling and its impact on enrollment and academic performance. As both are substantially different from each other. Informal pre schooling is learning that takes place informally at home mostly by Primary Group. A primary group is a typically small social group whose members share close, personal, enduring relationships and this includes, immediate family parents and siblings and relatives. In informal pre schooling learning aims are not pre-fixed.
Medium used for education is also informal mostly done through tools like games, stories, rhymes. No specific scheduling is done or a specific syllabus is followed. Individual attention is given to the child its good but there is no spirit of competition and social skills of kids cannot be developed extensively. Whereas, Formal pre schooling is done in schools or madarassas, these are formal institutions. It is carried about by secondary group which interact on a less personal level then primary group and their contact is temporary. In formal pre chooling children belonging to same age group attend formalized classes, different books are followed, and they have rules, regulations and objectives. Students gain knowledge, skills and appropriate behavior by being in lessons of various subjects. Teachers follow schedule and lesson plan. Students are involved in various activities curricular and co-curricular, and from these activities their performance is assessed. Students performing to an expected level are promoted to next higher level grades. Medium of instruction and environment in both types of pre schooling is different hence their impact should be different as well.
Because of which research will be conducted in KPK area to measure the academic performances and enrollment rate of the children who attended formal pre schooling and those who attended informal pre schooling. This will be done on the basis of in depth interviews and questionnaire survey of the primary teachers.