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Making education affordable

Imparting education is the sole responsibility of the government. Ironically, in Pakistan the successive governments have failed in discharging this responsibility. Education comes very low on priority, which is evident from paltry allocation on education in the annual budget. On top of all it remain who is responsible for education, federal or provincial government. After the 18th Amendment in Pakistan’s Constitution, through devolution of power, many responsibilities have been transfer to the provinces, which has neither the will nor the capacity. The worst embezzlements could be found in education, which includes schools constructed on papers only, ghost teachers, school building used for keeping animals and children being taught in open, harsh climate.

First of all, one needs to explore reasons for education being so low on priority. In a country where policies are made by the tribal chiefs, feudal lords and business tycoons, keeping people uneducated is a must. The poor, living in subhuman conditions and solely dependent on clan chiefs, just can’t demand their rights. Bonded labor is common, child labor is prevalent and education for girls is forbidden.

Female constitute over half of the population of the country, but all the measures are in force to keep them away from education. The number of schools/colleges for girls is conspicuous by their absence, harassment is common on streets as well as institutions and the common perception is that they don’t have to work. In the rural areas, girls going to schools are looked down and not allowed to attend coeducation institutions. Teachers making attempts to bring girls to schools have to face serious consequences, including loss of life.

Interestingly whatever paltry allocations are made in the budget are also not utilized. Around the world elected representatives are accountable to their vote banks, but the contrary is in Pakistan. Elected representatives not only embezzle the amount, but also could not be brought to the court of law. The entire system is subservient to clan chiefs, who are also said to be the public representatives. On top of all through ‘bargain plea’ one can get clean chit, simply by paying a nominal percentage of the embezzled/looted amount. The regularly announced ‘money whitening’ schemes also proliferate corruption.

Nearly one-third of country’s population lives in rural areas and has to ensure a system. The situation is different in urban areas, especially large cities. Though, government schools/colleges are present, but are highly inadequate to cater to the needs of public at large. To overcome this, many communities have established educational institutions, in which a limited number of students not belonging to the community are also admitted. The fees charged are relatively low and education standard is also good. However, lately these institutions have started charging handsome fees by offering ‘Cambridge System’. Another point worth mentioning is that teachers are still paid paltry salaries. It may not be wrong to say that these schools have become business enterprises.

Without naming a few institutions it may be said that they receive handsome grants from outside for imparting education to the poor. To deceive the system, the owners have established these institutions close to slums, within a radius of a few kilometers but cater to the needs of elites of the elite. The students come to these schools in the most expensive cars and the streets face the worst traffic jams in the mornings and afternoons. Many of the schools use their premises for weddings etc. and change very handsome rentals. Repeatedly, the civic authorities demolish such structure but soon these reappear. It is believed that the business goes on as usual with the connivance of the civic authorities, which keep their eyes closed for certain period only.

 

Ihsan Trust

Ihsan TrustIn many countries education is also expensive, but there are entities which offer scholarships or soft term loans. In Pakistan lately one such institution has emerged and its services have been recognized internationally. Ihsan Trust has received the “Islamic Economy Award 2017” in the category of “Waqf and Endowment” in Dubai in November last year. It is an honor that an organization from Pakistan was selected and awarded at the global level. Of all the nine (09) categories of awards, Ihsan Trust was the only Organization from Pakistan which won the award in any category. Mr. Ahmed Ali Siddiqui, Treasurer, Ihsan Trust received the award from Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council. This award is a symbol of appreciation, honor, a testimonial of recognition of Ihsan Trust’s services, increasing our credibility, reputation and top of it acknowledgement of our selfless services and efforts to help and assist the poor and needy and reinvigorate the concept of “Waqf” in Islamic world. This will definitely help us in achieving global recognition (as the largest Qarz –e-Hasna (Interest free loan) provider for Higher Education in Pakistan) and our desired goals and objectives. To date, Ihsan Trust has provided Qarz-e-Hasna facility to around 2,000 students pursuing Higher Education in more than 110 universities and professional bodies across Pakistan. The Trust also provides regular support and funding for Institute of Business Administration’s (IBA) National Talent Hunt Program and to date has sponsored over 180 students pursuing their Bachelors from IBA. Ihsan Trust is aiming to provide Qarz-e-Hasna facility to more than 10,000 students across Pakistan by the year 2020, its mission is to enable Pakistani youth taking need blind admissions in their choice of universities/professional bodies by knowing the fact that Ihsan Trust is there to support and assist them.

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