Dec 15 - 21, 2003



IMAMUDDIN MANZAR is an expert of primary education and associated with the teaching profession for the last 16 years. Manzar, prior to his Masters degree in English literature from Dhaka University in 1970 was graduated in commerce from the University of Karachi. Before joining the teaching profession, he worked as a statistician in Saudi Arabia for over 16 years. On his return home, he decided to join the teaching profession especially the primary education, which provides the real foundation for human resource developed in the real sense. He also spent couple of years in Maldives in connection with his teaching profession. Currently, he is associated with Karachi Grammar School where he is giving his best to the children which he considered as the future leaders of this country.


PAGE: Are you satisfied with the current system of education especially at the primary level in Pakistan?

MANZAR: The unabated commercialization in the noble professions like health and education has badly injured the soul as well as body of these noblest professions. Perhaps it is practiced only in this sub-continent i.e. India, Bangladesh or Pakistan where the primary education has been subjected to high cost in the private sector organizations, in rest of the world the primary education is almost free or restricted to an affordable level, otherwise.

Contrary to that universal concept of imparting education at an affordable price for growth of literacy rate, the education sector seems to have been given a free hand to fleece the people in the name of education in Pakistan. This situation has deprived a good number of people from quality education as they cannot afford to pay huge demands of the private sector schools. It becomes a worst comes to worst situation that except a fewer number of private organizations, the majority of so-called English Medium schools charging exorbitant price but are running with unprofessional and poorly educated faculties if they can be described as faculty. This situation not only wastes money of the parents but also the valuable and precious time of the children.



PAGE: What would you suggest ways to improve the situation?

MANZAR: The concept of taxation or revenue collection was initiated by the civilized nations to provide basic needs of the citizens besides running the government affairs. When the people are given shelter and a supporting hand by the government during the rainy days, the people more willingly pay the taxes as religious and social obligations in the developed countries. The best utilization of the taxes and other revenues collected by any government is to allocate sufficient amount for education sector. Contrary to this concept, the budgetary allocations for the education sector have always been insignificant in Pakistan. Although the present government has raised budgetary allocations for education sector, yet there is a lot of room for improvement. Primary education should be highly subsidized to enable the youngsters to get quality education without any financial burden. The best investment is the human resource development which pays back more return than any other area of investment. Hence the policy makers would do a better job if they give more importance to the education sector in general in the larger national interest.

PAGE: There are parallel systems of imparting education which are in vogue. One is English medium while the other is the Urdu medium. Would you like to comment on this dual system?

MANZAR: It is not the question of medium which matters; in fact it is the syllabus which matters in developing children's brain on sound footings. There is a great need for restructuring the courses in accordance with the demands of the market as well as the society. For over the decades we are walking on the same old beaten path. Irrelevant subjects which the children are ought to go through give them nothing but to kill their valuable time. There is a need for reframing the syllabus which may help preparing the children to accept the changes around the world. The courses should be simple, to the point and market related.

PAGE: There is a mushroom growth of the English medium schools at every corner of the streets. In most of the cases, these schools are operating in small flats, two room houses. These schools have no provision for health activities of the children and have no play grounds. How these schools can produce healthy minds in unhealthy atmosphere. What is the remedy of this trend?

MANZAR: This is again an unfortunate situation, but what about those organizations who managed to get allotted huge amenity plots at a much concessionary rates on the pretext of developing schools or other educational institutions, but most of such lands are being used for making money. In majority of such cases these plots of lands are used for wedding halls or marriage gardens and a small portion of space has been reserved for the school to hoodwink the people. This trend needs to be discouraged without any consideration, in the interest of the future of this country. As far as the question of schools in the small flats or rooms, this is again one of the social ills which can only be addressed effectively when the society would realize the importance of education.