Investigation into the educational and career pursuits of students: (A case study of model higher secondary school in KP)

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Education (M. Ed.)

First Supervisor/Advisor

Dr. Takbir Ali


Institute for Educational Development, Karachi


A network of private (non-for profit) higher secondary schools is popular in the northern and southern regions of Pakistan for preparing its alumni for undertaking advance studies in well-reputed universities and professional educational institutions. Both parents and children are highly ambitious about the educational and career opportunities provided by the school. General observation suggests that relatively a small portion of the alumni of these schools are successful in pursuing their academic and career dreams. This study was conducted using mixed methodology and it explores the academic and career pursuits of the alumni of a model higher secondary school in a district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan. The participants of the study include the alumni of the institute, school management and parents of the alumni. The sample size of the study was 238. Data was collected through a triangulation of tools including questionnaire for quantitative data from 225 alumni, FGD from six alumni and in-depth interviews of the principal of the school and six parents. The quantitative data is analyzed through SPSS and MS Excel while qualitative data is analyzed thematically. The study finds that the model higher secondary school is the most popular school throughout the district and a considerable hype exists among the students, parents and teacher regarding the reputation of the school for its ability to send its alumni in well reputed universities, professional institutes (medical and engineering universities), winning foreign scholarships and hunting jobs in top level organizations. The school management propagates this claim as the part of its vision and the alumni dream it as their major career pursuits. The data shows that 97% of the alumni appeared in the entry tests of reputed universities which include 34 % MDCAT, 23% UET, 11% ISSB and 7% LUMS, however, the success rate in these tests were 16%, 55%, 36% and 33% respectively. 32% of the alumni appeared more than once for these entry tests. The data further shows that 22% of the alumni are jobless and majority (66%) of those employed are earning less than one lac rupees a month. Furthermore, 8% of the alumni are studying or employed abroad. 54% of alumni are unsure if they had successfully achieved their aspirations and 17% think they have failed in it. The findings are important considering the fact that the institute recruits only talented students for admission and that the findings contradict the claims of the institute and the hype associated with the success rate of the institute. Although most of the alumni 88% acknowledged the role of the institute in their academic and career development yet an equal portion 81% associated their success with personal motivation and efforts and that they could have achieved somewhat same level of success if they had been in other institutes. In addition to this, the study finds some of the alumni are critical of the school management regarding their role in suppressing academic liberty, imposing strict discipline, and over-religiosity and making academic environment management centered instead of being teacher centered. The views of the alumni contradict the claims of the institute and the management that they provide the best teaching-learning environment synchronized with 21st century demands which no other institute can provide. The study further explains that the alumni remain under pressure to pursue their aspirations, parents’, teachers’ and societal expectations. Those who fail or remain underachievers suffer from anxiety and depression. Likewise, underachieving also leads to disappointment among the parents who invest on their children with high dreams. The study finds the introduction of career counselor had led to positive motivation among the alumni regarding their academic and career guidance.

This document is available in the relevant AKU library