The foundation of every state is the education of its youth and ours is a nation who’s national language (english) is understood buy less than 30% of its population because of poor education. Pakistan today faces many challenges but those challenges are of the short term like terrorism which will fade away with time, what will not fade away is our youth and with them the future of Pakistan if the education policy of this nation is not changed immediately. Our government has allocated 2% of the GDP to education, that is peanuts compared to what we are spending on our military which is some where close to 45% of GDP. For a nation who’s population is 60%under the age of 25 its disastrous to have a crumbling if not already failed education system.
|Typical Classroomof a Public School|
There are two parallel systems in Pakistan, Private and Public. For a fortunate few who are born in rich families the choice is a private school which is about 2% of the population and for the rest of 98% its Public education system. Schools and colleges that are run by the government are in shambles, to begin with the curriculum that is being tough is out date not just by a few years but by decades, no one really knows when it was reviewed last time, kids are being tough the same out dated things that are of no use to them ones they get into the job market. lack of political will is to be blamed, through out our history there has been no one who took this matter seriously so today we have two completely different systems which are producing two different types of societies.
Prevaiz Musharraf has been the only person who took this problem seriously, but missed the point completely when he decided to better the higher education system of Pakistan, he made a few universities but what he failed to understand was the importance of schools and colleges, and its not like he had build them they are there its all about the management and the quality of the education that these public schools and colleges are lacking throughout our country.
|CM Baluchistan, Aslam Raisani|
Corruption has penetrated most parts of life in Pakistan and education is no exception, fake degrees can be bought, teacher can be paid off to look the other way while students cheat, a few days before exams whole exam papers can be leaked and all these things happen and most recently all this happened during the Metric exams throughout the country. Competency of the teacher is questionable, as is of those who appoint them into place. Once Chief minister of Baluchistan was quoted as saying “degree is degree fake or real what difference does it make” when an elected official who is also in charge of one of the biggest province land-wise in Pakistan says this than we can only imagine their commitment to the education of the masses.
|View of a Private school’s classroom|
Businessmen and entrepreneurs saw the incompetency of the public education system and establish a parallel system which is linked with the British. Places like Roots School one can get a degree from London School of Economics and can do O and A levels without ever leaving the country. That is a great opportunity but it is limited. In my view private schools have also failed the poor, i am sure that for every ten students they can have one free student from not so well off back ground, private school systems and their owner should give some thing back to the community which has given them so much.
|Students at a Madrassa reciting Quran|
People who could afford moved their children to the Private schools but what happens to the millions who have no other choice, majority of them end up in madrassas. People who send there kids there are mostly from rural areas and extremely poor, they prefer religious education for their kids and send them to madrassas, these madrassas not only teach the kids how to read Quran but also feed and bed them which is the driving force behind poor parents deciding on education, and madrassas offer all of this for free. Madrassas are not regulated at all, they are practically in every mosque and every community around the country, where madrassas go wrong is that they don’t teach arabic itself to all of the children only those adults who opt for it, all their childhood these kids are taught arabic which they don’t understand, that in essence is no education. Most of the kids who go to madrassas have no future in the modern world, cases have come up where we have seen that imams of these madrassas have sexually assaulted many young kids and these kind of things happen across Pakistan. Madrassas do not only show that the public education system has fallen apart but they also point to a hidden factor, welfare, Pakistan is not a welfare state but it should be so that its poorest could be supported by the taxes of the able, never again will parents send their kids to a madrassa just because it feeds them for free.
What is needed in Pakistan is a complete reform of the educational system. Curriculum should be re-written from scratch, students should be given more choice in subjects so that they could find the right one for them, all this can be done there is no shortage of money to do this in Pakistan. But its sad to see that in Punjab where more than 60% of the population lives the CM has embarked on a new project called “Danish Schools” instead of fixing the existing public schools they have started some thing completely new, which i think is a flop idea, CM Punjab should pay more attention on the schools that are already there and they should improve the way they hire teacher, teachers at least should be hired on merit, if our teachers are not competent then what are they going to teach.
Its about time that we as a nation start paying attention to the education problem of our country, a better education system is more important than our army, so army’s budget should be cut and money that is desperately needed to repair schools that were destroyed in Sawat, so that teachers pay could be raised so their living standard will improve that inturn will bring job satisfaction.
If a government is serious in implementing reforms than with one year all of these can be implemented and the results would be there in less than a decade. If we use private schools as models and invest in our public schools into making them that model then i don’t see why this situation can’t change in less than a decade.