EDUCATION FOR SALE?

"Though everybody nowadays seems to know the xyz of everything nobody knows the abc of anything." BERNARD SHAW

MAHVESH FAROOQI
Sep 10 - 16, 2007

Let us begin with some familiar phrases such as "We need a modern education for a modern world." We have to prepare our youth to live in a contemporary society and face its problems." Such sayings at instant hearing put heart into us. They seem to point straight to the curriculum we need. We feel convinced that we must educate our youth to face the problems of the modern world. But what is the exact meaning of 'modern?' In what sense is our own world modern? How far it is different from the world of a thousand or two thousand years ago. No doubt changes take place with the passage of time. But the basics of human nature change very little; otherwise Dante & Shakespeare would have ceased to have any meaning for us today. Human ideals change little. It is still thought that the aim of man should be to do as God wishes. The Greeks thought that it should be to achieve the excellence of human nature. After 2000 years we have not gone beyond these ideals. Techniques of study may either add new approaches to be learned, but the basic and deeper things do not alter much. The power of seeing the world and distinguishing the important from the unimportant still remains the core of our interest. We still give science its importance and meaning, as in the days when Ionian thinkers first set sails on its unknown sea or when Socrates discussed human life, the meaning of religion and irreligion , beauty and ugliness justice and injustice, rational and irrational, the state and the citizen. Because of these constants the deeper human problems remain the same.

Clearly, we must be careful about the word 'Modern' which has two different meanings. It may mean contemporary in time; in this sense Plato and Shakespeare are not modern. Modernity is a question not of date but of outlook and perception. It is after these cautionary remarks about the use of the word 'Modern' that we may consider that what education is needed to prepare us for the contemporary world.

It is lamentable that educational standards in this part of the world are declining. Over crowding in education means ill health. Consequently, the educational institutions have turned into intellectual slums. Life in these slums breeds a disease, which is common, serious and often overlooked. It does not convey to the pupil the meaning of knowledge.

"EDUCATION is the part and parcel of life." We have no doubt imparted this concept in our lives but have for sure adopted a wrong line of action in this regard. We are ignorant of the difference between 'QUALITY' and 'QUANTITY'. In fact, we do not want to make ourselves conversant of this fact deliberately. We are standing in our own light. For the sake of quantity we are losing the quality of our education. We have forgotten that, "Quality precedes quantity."

Education has now become a well-established business. The educational institutions for the sake of their fake standard are providing sub-standard education. There are two popular categories: the private (i.e. the second class) and the government (i.e. the third class) institutions. This is the first major drawback of our system and the root cause of prejudice inflicted education. This state of affairs is prevalent from top to bottom. Why don't we have a uniform standard for all?

Furthermore, the admission in a reputable private institution is not as simple as one plus one equals two. The admission fees (conveyance fee, course fee, entertainment fee, tuition fee etc) is quite handsome which is obviously beyond the reach of both, the upper and lower middle class as well as the poor. It is for this reason that the literacy rate of Pakistan is also unsatisfactory as it stands at a crumbling 54%.

The private schools charge too high making it unaffordable for those who are already finding it difficult to make their both ends meet. So, for the lower middle class studying at these private schools is totally out of question. As for the government schools and colleges the fee structure may not be too high but you hardly find any teacher available as they are already busy in minting money privately. At the same time we have private colleges who are asking too much just like the private schools. The governmental universities may not be putting pressure on our pockets yet there's no standard at all. Students collaborate to educate themselves and if you peep inside the universities students roam about like free birds.

Now lets have a look at the professional colleges, when it comes to the government ones they portray a very pitiable picture as the students are depending on themselves. As for the fees of private medical colleges and universities sky is the limit. Thus the entire education system has been in doldrums.

ALL PAKISTAN RANKING OF DISTRICTS BY LITERACY RATES AND ILLITERATES (BY 1O+ AND 15+ AGE GROUPS)

SR. NO.

DISTRICT

LITERACY RATE 10+ (%)

ILLITERATES 10+ POP

SR. NO.

DISTRICT

LITERACY RATE 15+ (%)

ILLITERATES 15+ POP

1

Islamabad

72.38

166,708

1

Islamabad

70.2

149,027

2

Rawalpindi

70.45

740,625

2

Rawalpindi

67.5

670,956

3

Karachi

65.26

2,405,915

3

Karachi

63.58

2,093,633

4

Lahore

64.66

1,650,853

4

Lahore

62.98

1,421,602

5

Jhelum

63.92

247,880

5

Jhelum

60

225,975

6

Gujrat

62.18

562,450

6

Gujrat

57.87

513,255

7

Sialkot

58.92

799,630

7

Sialkot

55.72

703,653

8

Quetta

57.07

231,116

8

Quetta

54.56

200,362

9

Chakwal

56.72

346.276

9

Gujranwala

53.67

906,008

10

Abbottabad

56.61

273,570

10

Chakwal

51.57

319,963

11

Gujranwala

56.55

1,049,510

11

Abbottabad

51.41

245,001

12

Haripur

53.72

230,737

12

Faislabad

49.15

1,634,920

13

Narowal

52.65

416,642

13

Haripur

48.07

209,065

14

Faislabad

51.94

1,880,742

14

Narowal

47.26

371,339

15

Toba Tek Singh

50.5

575,767

15

Toba Tek Singh

46.95

504,959

16

Attock

49.27

474,779

16

Attock

44.65

426,784

17

Mandi Bahauddin

47.44

438,461

17

Sukkur

44.54

281,933

18

Sukkur

46.62

330,593

18

Mandi Bahauddin

42.93

391,738

19

Sargodha

46.3

1,023,488

19

Sargodha

42.81

893,353

20

Hyderabad

44.25

1,134,367

20

Hyderabad

42.15

967,317

21

Kohat

44.06

214,258

21

Multan

41.66

1,024,972

22

Sahiwal

43.9

740,641

22

Sahiwal

41.18

639,863

23

Shekhupura

43.78

1,309,213

23

Shekhupura

40.72

1,122,309

24

Multan

43.38

1,229,392

24

Kohat

40.1

180,929

25

Mian wali

42.76

421,329

25

Peshawar

39.43

662,160

26

Noshera

42.5

347,518

26

Noshera

39.32

293,339

27

Karak

41.92

159,831

27

Mianwali

38.69

365,175

28

Peshawar

41.75

801,665

28

Karak

37.51

133,682

29

Hafizabad

40.74

351,799

29

Khanewal

37.21

739,689

30

Khushab

40.5

386,715

30

Hafizabad

37.2

307,560

31

Chitral

40.3

13,031

31

Khushab

36.51

340,707

32

Khanewal

39.94

868,572

32

Naushahro Feroze

36.16

377,487

33

Malakand P.A

39.14

440.045

33

Layyah

35.83

387,632

34

Naushahro Feroze

39.14

440,045

34

Okara

35.12

836,240

35

Layyah

38.68

440,045

35

Malakand P.A

34,67

150,349

36

Okara

37.79

975,309

36

Jhang

34.28

1,085,460

37

Jhang

37.12

1,261,071

37

Vehari

34.1

781,575

38

Vehari

36.79

922,771

38

Chitral

33.8

109,955

39

Mardan

36.45

621,769

39

Kasur

33.57

875,298

40

Mansehra

36.32

506,766

40

Dadu

33.53

631,741

41

Kasur

36.21

1,044,193

41

Bahawalpur

33.35

901,908

42

Swabi

36.03

442,268

42

Bahawalnagar

32.68

794,054

43

Dadu

35.56

739,667

43

Khairpur

32.42

559,167

44

Khairpur

35.5

653,975

44

Mardan

32.29

523,256

45

Bahawalnagar

35.07

936,819

45

Larkana

32.03

698,785

46

Bahawalpur

35.03

1,084,887

46

Pakpattan

31.8

502,471

47

Larkana

34.95

814,889

47

Nawabshah

31.79

401,651

48

Pakpattan

34.7

588,309

48

Mansehra

31.76

428,816

49

Ziarat

34.34

14,293

49

Ziarat

31.71

11,965

50

Bhakkar

34.17

477,011

50

Swabi

31.27

378,604

51

Nawabshah

34.13

474,088

51

Bhakkar

31.03

401,935

52

Rahim Yar Khan

33.09

1,398,416

52

Rahim Yar Khan

30.93

1,170,401

53

Bannu

32.11

294,486

53

Shikarpur

29.85

334,356

54

Shikarpur

31.94

393,354

54

Pishin

29.62

123,272

55

Panjgur

31.35

95,140

55

Bannu

29.29

248,697

56

D.I. Khan

31.28

389,067

56

D.I. Khan

29.27

321,442

57

Pishin

31.14

157,231

57

Sanghar

28.93

564,260

58

Charsada

31.11

469,586

58

Panjgur

28.93

75,883

59

Sanghar

30.87

675,226

59

D.G Khan

28.71

596,503

60

D.G Khan

30.61

733,913

60

Mirpurkhas

28.57

599,216

61

Hangu

30.5

141,462

61

Lodhran

27.8

456,958

62

Mirpurkhas

30.4

722,547

62

Hangu

27.7

113,982

63

Lodhran

29.9

552,644

63

Charsada

27.34

394,596

64

Lower-Dir

29.9

313,515

64

Ghotki

27.26

376,149

65

Lakki Marwat

29.71

217,398

65

Muzaffargarh

26.92

994,168

66

Ghotki

29.01

450,081

66

Swat

26.58

472.079

67

Swat

28.75

588,304

67

Lower-Dir

26.4

254,530

68

Muzaffargarh

28.45

1,226,326

68

Lakki Marwat

25.86

183,644

69

Mastung

27.58

79,840

69

Mastung

25.26

67,761

70

Kech

27.51

194,428

70

Changhi

24.38

79,440

71

Chiaghi

26.99

96,575

71

Kech

24.36

165,303

72

Tank

26.25

113,459

72

Tank

23.95

93,182

73

Sibi

25.47

93,838

73

Sibi

23.82

79,172

74

Gawadar

25.47

92.828

74

Badin

23.09

480,463

75

Badin

24.63

572,742

75

Gawadar

22.4

78,118

76

Jacobabad

23.66

705,112

76

Jacobabad

22.03

597,147

77

Buner

22.62

252,534

77

Thatta

21.52

490,587

78

Lasbela

22.3

167,775

78

Loralai

19.99

133,680

79

Thatta

22.14

586,524

79

Lasbela

19.98

141,102

80

Upper Dir

22.21

285,151

80

Buner

19.55

207,032

81

Rajanpur

20.73

559,510

81

Rajanpur

19.35

460,327

82

Loralai

20.47

162,114

82

Upper Dir

19.03

223,786

83

Kalat

19.86

123,145

83

Tharparkar

17.57

374,684

84

Jafarabad

18.51

232,626

84

Kalat

17.53

101,245

85

Tharparkar

18.32

474,908

85

Batagram

17.34

132,329

86

Batagram

18.31

166,203

86

Jafarabad

16.53

199,687

87

Killa Saifullah

17.55

100,032

87

Killa Saifullah

16.45

78,909

88

Khuzdar

17.46

226,817

88

Zhob

16.27

110,402

89

Zhob

16.78

143,187

89

Khuzdar

15.93

187,275

90

Killa Abdullah

16.1

198,708

90

Killa Abdullah

15.53

157,385

91

Bolan

15.78

163,587

91

Bolan

14.55

135,863

92

Barkhan

15.67

58,290

92

Barkhan

14.07

49,060

93

Kharan

15.05

114,855

93

Kharan

13.98

93,238

94

Awaran

14.79

66,148

94

Shangle

13.87

192,427

95

Shangle

14.73

241,701

95

Awaran

12.57

55,101

96

Naseerabad

12.69

141,469

96

Jhal Magsi

11.57

52,350

97

Jhal Magsi

12.28

63,556

97

Kohlu

11.47

51,753

98

Kohlu

12.15

60,858

98

Naseerabad

11.45

120,665

99

Dera Bughti

11.73

101,919

99

Dera Bughti

11.36

84,232

100

Kohistan

11.08

274,919

100

Kohistan

10.5

213,399

101

Musa Khel

10.37

76,265

101

Musa Khel

10.24

58,482

Source: Ministry of Education, Islamabad.