Jul 17 - 23, 2000
Abdul Khalique Jafrani, is a prominent businessman of Karachi. He is
known as a friend of China in the business circles specially his agile efforts for
promotion of trade between China and Pakistan. He was chosen as the member of the
governor's task force due to his special interest in the promotion of education.
Currently, he holds the office of the Chairman of Pakistan Electrical & Electronics
Merchants Association. He carries various distinctions to his business career. He has been
given the life membership of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry.
He was member of the Managing Committee of the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry
(KCCI). He was vice chairman of Customs and Port Committee of the KCCI. He was also the
director of the Pakistan's pavilion at Trade Exhibition of Casablanca. Since he acquired
his entire education right from primary to the graduation level from Karachi, and being a
member of the task force on education, he keens for improvement of education standards in
PAGE: How would you compare the growth of education in
the province of Sindh when compared with other provinces of the country.
JAFRANI: It is unfortunate that the education sector
in the province of Sindh suffered a serious setback due to unabated law and order
situation which polluted the education environment almost for a decade particularly in the
urban areas of the province. The disturbed conditions however have settled down to a great
extent and one hopes that things will further improve with the strengthening of
socio-economic and political stability in the province. Although the disturbed conditions
have caused a great loss to the education, yet the situation was never stagnant in Karachi
as those willing to get education never distracted of their aim. Things are hopefully on
the right track, Jafrani said.
PAGE: Are you satisfied with the budgetary allocations
made by the Federal as well as the provincial governments for education sector.
JAFRANI: The government of Sindh has allocated a
nominal allocation of Rs470 million for education in Sindh. The figure is self-explanatory
to the government of Sindh's interest in the field of education. Being a member of the
task force Jafrani has strongly opposed and have urged the government to increase this
amount since education is the only way of survival of the coming generations. Everybody
realizes the importance of education for economic prosperity and improvement of life in
Pakistan, however the budgetary allocations either at the federal level or at the
provincial level do not translate the importance the education sector deserves. He
expressed his fears that if concrete and practical steps were not taken accordingly, the
education would become a product purchaseable by the rich of the society alone.
PAGE: Would you like to comment on the role of private
sector in the field of education in Pakistan.
JAFRANI: The involvement of the private sector in the
field of education has played a noticeable role but not free from negative and positive
aspects. The private sector has entered at a massive scale in the education sector. It is
however unfortunate that they are treating this noble sector as a pure commercial venture.
Large number of foreign institutions have also arrived in Pakistan but
again purely with commercial interests and not to spread the light of knowledge at the
grass root level. A large segment of the society despite having great talents is deprived
of acquiring higher education. They simply cannot afford the high prices of the modern
education such as Informational Technology. They also unable to send their children to the
local business schools and university because the amount required completing these courses
are beyond the reach. Under this situation, a strong and effective regulatory body is
required to keep the private sector within bounds.
PAGE: What steps would you like to suggest to spread
the modern education up to the poor strata of the society.
JAFRANI: It is a matter of great concern that
education at primary level has been completly ignored, especially in the public sector
schools. Everybody knows about the importance of the primary education but this is the
most neglected sector in our public organizations. The situation demands for immediate and
effective steps to be taken at the primary stage to lay a strong foundation of education
for the generations to come. Whatever the cost may come, Computer and English education
should be declared as a must right from the primary level to make the primary education
more productive in the years to come. In fact, the importance of primary education calls
for radical changes in the syllabus. Currently, the innocent children are forced to go
through a number of subjects who are by no means helpful to them at the secondary level of
education. Our children are the future leaders of this country. We owe to give them a
better education enabling them to live and earn respectably. It has been proved all over
the world that the investment in human resource development is the best investment which
pays back more than any other sector of investment, Jafrani remarked.