EDUCATION POLICY NEEDS RADICAL CHANGES
SHABBIR H. KAZMI
Oct 25 - 31, 2010
Examining the prevailing social, political, and economic conditions of the country forces one to draw the conclusion that the national has failed in cherishing the objectives for which Pakistan was created. Two-nation theory was demolished when East Pakistan became Bangladesh. In 2010, we are nothing but a cluster of groups having vested and often conflicting interests. Those still loving the country are being penalised by the armed groups assassinating people in the name of religion, language, and political affiliation.
Economic activities are being disrupted for creating unemployment and hunger to pave the way for anarchy and civil war. Though a lot is being said and written about the corruption of politicians, civil servants and 'holy cows' one also needs to put the education system under the microscope. The corruption is even more contentious in the education system of the country.
Future generations are being taught books which have least relevance to Pakistan, its social and cultural values, religion and economic realities. People responsible for nation-building are corrupt because they never let the universities know how many engineers, doctors, business managers, accountants, marketers, computer programmers, hardware engineers, economists, geologists, and chemist have to be produced every year.
Providing highly irrelevant education does help in conferring degrees to thousand of youth but they only add to the number of unemployed people. This creates frustration and rebellions, which enhance hatred against those slightly better off. The groups instead of doing some thing constructive become spoilers.
Education has become a billion dollar business in Pakistan. Both the public and private schools have their own problems. Government schools are often devoid of appropriate infrastructure, have ghost teachers and the relationship between the student and the teacher is missing. Instead of teaching, teachers dictate note, insist on additional tuition and in the examination halls students who do not take good care of teachers are allowed 'cheating'.
Colleges and universities are in the grip of political parties and their 'student outfits'. Private schools, colleges, and universities charge fabulous fees, also trying to maintain discipline but the objective of children coming to these institutions is not seeking education but degrees. There is a race to get admission in certain private universities. This is because these institutions are good at public relation and help their graduates in obtaining jobs. It may be another thing that most of graduates become 'dignified clerks'. However, once in the mainstream these graduates also learn 'rule of the game'.
Business schools produce good executive but focus is not on developing entrepreneurial skills. Once on job these executives do not work for the entities but only to maximise their salaries and perks. They are keen in carrying expensive cellular phones and driving expensive cars and often have little loyalty towards the institution they work for. Headhunters are also in search of children of well off and well connected families. Since the focus is on maximising salary and perks in the shortest possible time, there is often blatant violation of norms, social and cultural values and even the laws.
Since promotion in the career is on the basis of connections and networking, lesser weight is given to honesty, hard work and even professionalism. Though, corporate are required to follow code of good governance and also focus on corporate social responsibility the top and middle management spend more money on 'makeover' rather than initiating projects which could improve the condition of other stakeholders, particularly those living in the adjoining areas of manufacturing facilities.
The basic purpose of education is to change the mindset and teach the students to do thing in better ways, avoid repetition, avoid wastages, create synergies and protect the interest of all the stakeholders i.e. government, citizens, consumers, shareholders and also the employees. Previously, there was emphasis on offering career job but now both the employee and employer prefer contract jobs providing each other more opportunities to bid farewell to each other.
Though various committees and commissions have been created in more than six decades history of the country, experts have not been able to finalise medium of instruction. It seems that the two separate mediums of instruction are followed to develop two separate classes' commoners and elites. This was the rule of colonialism and it has prevailed because of presence of rich and poor. Less than two per cent of population owns, controls and manages total resources of Pakistan.
In agriculture, they are called feudal/absentee land lords, in the manufacturing and services sector they are called sponsors and in the politics the turncoats. The basic objectives of all of them in to maximise wealth, transfer it to other countries and get the loans written off. These classes send their children abroad for education and once they come, sons behaves like fathers and there is hardly any difference in the mindset of 'seth' of yesteryear and modern day entrepreneurs because both of them prove to be the worst exploiters.
Education also teaches giving due respect to others irrespective of the financial power. However, the rule has changed and only those who have wealth are respected irrespective of the fact how they have gathered the wealth. Moral and cultural values are dying fast because the sole objective of life has become accumulation of wealth by hook and crook. They call it a war and also say 'every thing is fair in love and war'.
If policy planners fail in changing the mindset the survival of Pakistan will be at stake. An education policy has to be developed to facilitate in achieving the national objectives. As long as the mad war continues Pakistan could not be pulled out of the quicksand.