Undoubtedly education is the most appropriate parameter on the basis of which we can predict the future of an individual, a society, a nation and ultimately a country. The mind boggling advancements we see all over the world are definitely due to advancement and progress in the education sector. If this sector, in any way, is hampered, the future of that country carries a big question mark. Unfortunately, Pakistan is one of those countries where education has always been neglected by every government. All the political parties make lofty claims about revolutionizing the education system during election campaign but after coming into the power they completely forget about it and this extremely important issue is placed at back burner. Even we allocate a very small amount of budget to this pressing need of the nation.
The existing government had also pledged to give education the first priority and its manifesto also has educational reforms as an integral part of it but after coming into the power it seems as if the government has altogether forgotten about it as the least attention is being paid to this important issue and no tangible measures have been taken towards transforming the present deteriorating educational system so far. No comprehensive and holistic roadmap has been designed to address the problems inflicting our educational system. Simply paying lip service is not sufficient, making comprehensive plan enshring reforms and implementing that plan is what is required urgently to place it on the right track.
However, there are several issues related to rotten education system which are to be addressed. For example trifurcated Education system existing in our country: Urdu medium schools, English medium schools and madrassahs. Or you can say public school system, private institutions and seminaries. These entirety different systems also represent different social classes. The elite class sends their children to very expensive private schools. Middle class or lower middle class usually study in government schools while the poor children are admitted to the madrassahs. The quality of education and facilities available for students are also in the same way. The environment provided in these discriminatory system is definitely discriminatory and this discrepancy is not just restricted to academy phase but this is visible in the practical life of newly entered professionals. How come a student graduating from a decayed academic system will be able to compete with a person having studied in a quality institute. So the opportunities for the two will not be on the same level. That’s why we see students having studied in private institutions excel in their respective fields where as the students of public or government universities lag behind in their practical lives. And I am just talking about majority cases, as exceptions are always there. So this divided system must be eradicated and similar syllabus should be introduced across the board so that everyone gets equal opportunity to excel.
Now coming to what we can do with academic perspective. Let’s start from the primary and secondary education as the sturdiness and robustness of a building is dependent on the foundation. If a student is not properly trained at initial level, it is impossible to make him successful in upper level. Our education system is such that promotes cramming and ratta system. Critical thinking is not ingrained in the minds of the students. They are not encouraged to ask questions about what they study. They are not trained to think out of box resulting in complete absence of creativity among the students. Examination system is designed in such a way that demands the reproduction of what has been memorized by the students and they regurgitate what they had crammed. Examination is in a way, a test of memorization instead of understanding of the concepts. The questions that are asked appraise the ability to memorize not the ability to think critically. So there is a dire need to revamp the curriculum and examination system to open a door to innovative ideas. That is why we don’t see any discovery or innovation in any scientific field in our country. We are not producing investigational minds which can contribute to the human beings in the larger context.
The training of the teachers is also imperative to improve our education record. Proper training sessions should be conducted periodically to make the teachers adapt to the modern teaching methodology so that they can guide the students in the best way. And the interaction between teacher and students can be enhanced making students capable of asking questions freely without any hesitation. Availabilities of latest laboratories and technologies in the institutions must be ensured. Provision of computers and IT related facilities is also indispensable to make our students compete with the world. Other facilities such as toilets, drinking water and proper class rooms are also unavailable in many schools. So there is a need to pay heed to this as well.
Last but not the least, more than twenty millions children are said to be out of the schools in the country and this is a big number indeed. As majority of our population belongs to youngsters and if a big portion of this class is not educated then it is absolutely a great problem for a country in a quest for developing. So enrolling this huge number of children in schools is definitely an uphill task for upcoming government. If education sector is not still given priority and education emergency is not imposed then there is a possibility that this God gifted human resource in the form of youth become burden for the nation. Before it happens we have to make education our first priority to work on otherwise our seemingly bright future may become dismal.