QUAID'S VISION OF EDUCATION

PROF. DR. KHAWAJA AMJAD SAEED,
PROF. DR. FAUZIA NAHEED KHAWAJA
(feedback@pgeconomist.com)

May 16 - 22, 2011

Due to forward looking and transformational leadership provided by Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah and earlier backed up by the thinker of Pakistan Allama Muhammad Iqbal and massive struggle launched by Muslims of the then British sub-continent, Pakistan emerged as a sovereign independent state on the political map of the world on August 14, 1947. Quaid had a great vision for Pakistan on many fronts.

This piece looks at his basic vision regarding educational system, which should have been developed in our country. The intention is to give a wake up call for all of us as stakeholders so that we can revisit our total education system, reform it, and reap the benefits of his guidance provided by him through his various speeches.

EDUCATION AS AN ECONOMIC DRIVER

There is a positive relationship between education and economic development. Acknowledged fact is that education and training are considered as strategic variables in planning economic development. An elementary education for the mass of the people in society leads to great economic gains. Scientific knowledge is a basis for improvement of techniques of production in various industries. According to famous educationist Mr. Benson: "A sharp rise in quality of education produces economic returns even when it is not possible to specify what skills and attributes be created or precisely how they would be used".

A tested hypothesis has emerged from study of World Development Report 2010, which shows that countries with high literacy rates have high per capita income. It is apparent that a sound educational system serves as an economic driver in a country.

LITERATURE REVIEW

For seeing Quaid's vision of educational system in Pakistan, we have carried out an in-depth study of selected speeches delivered by him from time to time relating to his vision of education in Pakistan. Accordingly, some aspects are reviewed below:

PURPOSE OF EDUCATION

Several countries of the world have achieved socioeconomic development by using education as an economic driver. Quaid's vision in respect of using education as an economic driver was contained in his several speeches. However, we have selected his two speeches. The first one has been extracted from his message to All Pakistan Educational Conference, Karachi on November 27, 1947. He emphasized on the purpose of education and stressed on technical and vocational education and on character building.

"We must earnestly bring our educational policy and program on the lines suited to the genius of our people, consonant with our history and culture, and having regard to the modern conditions and vast developments that have taken place all over the world. There is an immediate and urgent need for training our people in the scientific and technical education in order to build up our future economic life and we should see that our people undertake science, commerce, trade, and particularly well-planned industries. But, do not forget that we have to compete with the world which is moving very fast in this direction. Also we must emphasize that greater attention should be paid to technical and vocational education. In short, we have to build up the character of our future generations which means highest sense of honour, integrity, selfless service to the nation and sense of reasonability and we have to see that they are fully qualified or equipped to play their part in various branches of economic life in a manner which will do honour to Pakistan".

EMPHASIS ON SPECIALIZED EDUCATION

On April 18, 1948, he emphasized on specialized education. An extract from his reply to the address of welcome at Edwards College, Peshawar is quoted below:

"That instead of turning more clerks and government servants, your college is now offering suitable subjects for students, which would enable them to take their place in commerce, trade, industry, banking, and insurance business. It should be the aim of our colleges to produce first class experts in Agriculture, Zoology, Engineering, Medicine, and other specialized subjects. Only thus shall we be able to come to grip with the problems that are now facing us in the task of raising the standard of living, especially of the common man".

HUMAN RESOURCES FOR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

Human resource (HR) development is considered as a prerequisite for economic development. It is firmly believed that man behind the machine is very important. Nations who invest in HR continue to develop and exploit the resource to their advantage. Human Capital has emerged as a driver for economic development. Quaid had visualized these aspects. Extracts from his speech delivered on September 26, 1947 quoted from "Glimpses of Quaid-e-AzamÓ Page 99) are stated below:

"Funds are, no doubt, necessary for development but, at the same time national growth and re-generation do not depend on funds alone. It is human toil that makes for the prosperity of a people and I have, no doubt, that we have in Pakistan a nation of industrious and determined people whose past traditions have already distinguished them in the field of human achievement".

Quaid's vision on HR was absolutely clear. He had visualized use of HR for increase in prosperity of the people. Events which globally followed showed that the world famous scholars namely, Harbison and Meyers, acknowledged and celebrated educationist and economists, declared human capital during 1970s as vital for economic development. Later this term "Human Capital" got into big currency.

ADVICE TO STUDENTS

Education system has a dominating emphasis in development of students so that their qualities of head and heart are developed for utilizing the same for socioeconomic and cultural development of a country. In his address, delivered in a public meeting in Dhaka on March 21, 1948 he delivered the following advice to students:

"My young friends, students who are present here, let me tell love and affection for you, who has served you for ten years faithfully and loyally, let me give you this word of warning: if you allow yourself to be exploited by one political party or another, your main occupation should be in fairness to yourself, in fairness to your parents, in fairness to the State to devote your attention to your studies".

QURAN: A GENERAL CODE FOR THE MUSLIMS

In his Eid message delivered in September 1945, Quaid urged upon Muslims to adopt Quran as a general code of life for Muslims. In our opinion, this is a basis for development for positive role of all stakeholders in general and younger generation in particular to study Quran, to follow its principles and be the beneficiaries out of it. In this respect, an excerpt from his above message is quoted below:

"Everyone, except those who are ignorant, knows that the Quran is the general code of the Muslims. A religious, social, civil, commercial, military, judicial, criminal, penal code, it regulates everything from the ceremonies of religion to those of daily life; from the salvation of the soul to the health of the body; from the rights of all to those of each individual; from morality to crime, from punishment here to that in the life to come, and our Prophet (PBUH) has enjoined on us that every Musulman should possess a copy of the Quran and be his own priest. Therefore, Islam is not merely confined to the spiritual tenets and doctrines or rituals and ceremonies. It is a complete code regulating the whole Muslim society, every department of life, collective (ly) and individually".

WAY FORWARD

The crying need of today is to study the foregoing advice given by the Quaid and reform our educational system, which eventually will result in widespread prosperity across the board in Pakistan. As the democratic government of Pakistan may be developing productive thoughts at the federal level and at the provincial levels, this piece can give to the point and crisp guidelines for re-orientating our educational system to our advantage. Let us be committed to accomplish this mission and revisit our educational system and reform it in the light of his guidance as explained above.

Dr. Khawaja Amjad Saeed is Professor Emeritus and Principal Hailey College of Banking & Finance, University of the Punjab, Allama Iqbal Campus, Lahore. kamjadsaeed@yahoo.com

Dr. Fauzia Naheed Khawaja is the former Chairperson Elementary Department, Institute of Education & Research, University of the Punjab, Lahore.