The overwhelming perception in Pakistan is that one should be educated for seeking a good remunerative job. In this endeavor parents sacrifice their wishes by spending bulk of their income on the education of their children. However, it is becoming a norm that the top priority of the children is to get job outside Pakistan and often old parents are left alone. At the best children living abroad send paltry amounts and show their faces in years. It is also common that they call their parents to live with them. While the physical faculties of parents are strong they keep on playing the role of ‘dignified maids’, but sooner than later they are sent to ‘old homes’.
While working on this story some time was spent with young CEOs, departmental heads, managers and even junior executives, all of them seem to suffer from one obsession, earning more no matter how. Their prime objectives are: 1) living in certain localities even in a rented house to show that they are part of a different orbit, 2) acquiring car on lease to show off, 3) carrying certain brands of mobile phones to show the level of their business and 4) spending evenings in clubs and parties for networking. In all these endeavors they also neglect their children. The situation is still better off if parents are surviving and living with them, else children are at their own or at the mercy of the servants. This is not only disintegration of the family but children showing the utter disregard to the norms of the society.
Talking to children also revealed some very interesting stories. One of the ‘A’ level students of a very prestigious school and driving the latest Toyota model has a strange narrative. “My father is a business tycoon and always say that you can take as much money as you like, go to the places you wish to see in Pakistan or abroad but don’t ask me or your mother to give you company. At one stage I loved photography and my parents were generous enough to give me about half a million rupees to buy the best and the latest equipment. I enjoyed this for a while but soon developed addiction for ‘Shesha’, started bunking classes and got pathetic results, but my parents didn’t pay any heed. However, they were kind to tell me to join any other college where I could feel more comfortable. They remain adamant at giving me as much money as I demand, but not ready to give me few minutes of their busy life”.
Some of the students of a leading business school told me a very interesting story, which shows the determination of the boy who belonged to a poor family but was keen in completing his MBA to lead a better life and secure bright future for his children. The parents of this boy could not afford to pay fees, therefore, he joined a prestigious fast food outlet, where he had to clean tables and even mop the floor. When some of the ‘filthy rich’ boys and girls came to know this, they started visiting the outlet, particularly to humiliate him. The ‘spoiled’ rich kids used to spill drinks on the floor and ask him to clean it. That was not enough; the story was spread throughout the campus to insult this hardworking student. The boy continued working to complete his studies. At the completion of his degree program the boy managed to get outstanding grades and left all those behind who used to humiliate him.
The conversation between two persons, a regular faculty member of a business school and a professional who wants to be a visiting faculty member also has some messages. The permanent faculty member said, “If you are serious in teaching please don’t join morning classes. Most of the students in morning classes belong to rich families and come in expensive cars. They have the least regard for the teacher who comes in an old car also wearing unbranded/old clothes. These students (both boys and girls) keep coming and outgoing and also texting on their cell phones while the teacher is teaching. Therefore, you should join executive program, where most of the students belong to ‘working class’ and pay more attention. The sole purpose of these students is to acquire a degree so that they could be promoted to higher cadre. However, the teacher has to be a little accommodative as some of them come to class late, as reaching in time is getting difficult due to the traffic jams.”
Moral of the story
At present it seems that seeking education is not for acquiring knowledge but to get a more remunerative job. In this regard the name of the institution also plays an important role. Some private schools and universities may be playing an important role in education, but many are pure ‘business entities’ with the sole objective of churning out money. It is the sole responsibility of the government to oversee the performance of private schools, colleges and universities. However, part of the blame should go to the parents who are willing to pay handsome fees but never bother to look at the credentials of these institutions.