Youth Development and Education in Pakistan: Exploring the Relationship


  • Dilshad Ashraf Aga Khan University, Pakistan
  • Takbir Ali Aga Khan University, Pakistan
  • Anya Hosain Aga Khan University, Pakistan



Pakistan, Youth, Social integration, Education policy


This paper provides a critical examination of the inter-linkages between youth education, development, empowerment, and engagement in Pakistan. Currently, the majority of the population falls within the youth age bracket of 15-24 years. The country stands at a critical juncture, where it can capitalize on this demographic dividend for transformational and sustainable socioeconomic growth. However, this paper argues that there is inadequate intersection and convergence between Pakistan’s national and provincial Education and Youth policy frameworks. An indepth overview of current trends in terms of quality of education and access to and participation in various forms of education programmes indicates that the current provision of educational services is deplorably inadequate in terms of quality and quantity. In order to address the challenges of educational and economic development, this paper asserts that education should be the lynchpin for broader and more inclusive socioeconomic development, and function as the interface between Youth and Education Policies. The failures of effective policy implementation and of fully integrating the interrelated issues relevant to the youth population produce unfavourable educational outcomes in terms of economic, political, and social engagement. Therefore, this paper proposes the use of the Capability Approach to inform education and youth policies, so that the country can harness the energy and potential of a bourgeoning youth population that currently constitutes about two-thirds of the Pakistani population.


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Author Biographies

Dilshad Ashraf, Aga Khan University, Pakistan

Dilshad Ashraf is the Amir Sultan Chinoy Assistant Professor and head of the Research and Policy Studies Unit at the Institute for Educational Development of the Aga Khan University, Pakistan. With a PhD in curriculum studies, Dilshad Ashraf’s research and scholarship work focuses on equity issues in educational governance and teaching and learning processes. For the past few years, she has worked closely with teachers, head teachers, teacher educators and education management staff to mainstream gender equality perspectives in the country’s rural and semi-urban schools.

Takbir Ali, Aga Khan University, Pakistan

Takbir Ali holds a PhD in education. He currently works as an assistant professor at the Aga Khan University-Institute for Educational Development (AKU-IED) where he has been teaching graduate and undergraduate-level academic courses. He coordinates the Strengthening Teacher Education in Pakistan (STEP) project at AKU-IED. Dr. Ali’s research interest lies in the area of science education, school improvement and teacher education.

Anya Hosain, Aga Khan University, Pakistan

Anya Kermani Hosain currently works with the Aga Khan University – Institute for Educational Development. She received her bachelor of arts in economics and a masters in Middle Eastern studies, both from the University of Chicago. She has worked in Tajikistan, and conducted field research across the provinces of Pakistan.