CAUSES OF EDUCATION DOWNFALL
PROFESSOR SAEED AHMAD SIDDIQUI
Nov 21 - 27, 2011
*Education cleans the mind.
*Education paves the way for development and prosperity.
*Education guarantees social, cultural, economic, and defense successes.
In the modern times, the nations planning for progress and prosperity spend huge amount on the development of education. Since education occupies the central position, all the developed nations enjoy high literacy rate. Perhaps, this is the reason that Islam, 1400 years back, imposed acquisition of education as 'Farz' on every Muslim man and woman.
STAGES OF EDUCATION
There are five stages of education system in Pakistan: Primary (from class 1st to Class 5th); Middle (class 6th to class 8th); Secondary (class 9th and 10th leading to secondary school leaving certificate- SSC); Intermediate (first year and second year leading to higher secondary school leaving certificate-HSC); and fifth university programs with graduation and post graduation (masters).
Literacy rate is 80 per cent in Islamabad and 20 per cent in Kuhlu (Balochistan). According to a survey, national rate of literacy of age group 55-64 years is 30 per cent, age group 45-54 40 per cent, age group 25-34 year 50 per cent and age group 15-24 years 60 per cent. These figures show that the literacy rate decreases 10 per cent as age rises. Pakistan produces 4,45,000 university graduates and 10,000 computer graduates every year. Despite this statistical information, Pakistan has highest illiteracy rate in the world.
The federal as well as provincial governments have never shown their serious concern towards the educational development in Pakistan. The federal government provides technical and financial assistance mostly in research programs.
CAUSES OF DOWNFALL OF EDUCATION
Apart from state negligence towards education, other various sociopolitical and economic factors dragging education sector down in Pakistan are mentioned hereunder:
1. ILLITERACY OF PARENTS: If parents are uneducated, they do not realize the importance of education in the life. Consequently, they do not encourage their children for acquiring education. Most of the parents withdraw their wards after primary or at the most secondary stage. Therefore, literacy rate goes down at older ages.
2. LOW STANDARD OF EDUCATION: Decline of education is geared also by low standard of education. Standard of education in Pakistan is lower than India and other regional countries. Certificate/degree holders have certification of education in their hands but their minds are generally empty or they fail to prove themselves worthy.
3. LOW RATE OF ENROLLMENT AT PRIMARY LEVEL: Enrollment at primary level is very low in Pakistan and most of the students, after passing primary classes, are dropped and adopt different low-grade jobs like electrician, plumber, motor mechanic etc. When these primary-pass students become parents, they do not realize the importance of education and hence, generation after generation does not cross the barrier of primary education.
4. DIFFERENT STANDARDS OF EDUCATION: Another factor responsible for decline of education in Pakistan is prevalence of different standards of education; high quality education (O and A levels) is reserved for rich people while majority of masses remains confine to matriculation, intermediate, B.A, B.Sc, etc. Consequently, privileged class of the society occupies key positions in service sector because of their command over English, as English is the language of ruling class.
5. LOW ALLOCATION OF DEVELOPMENT BUDGET: Education sector is allocated peanuts out of development budget of the government. Education sector receives only 1.2 per cent of total development budget. How education can be improved with this modicum of allocation?
6. POLITICAL INTERFERENCE: Constant undue political intervention in educational matters is also one of the causes of decline of education. Political leaders, ministers and government officials interfere in admission policy of engineering and medical colleges by getting sub-standard and low grade candidates admitted who, after acquiring degrees, do not prove to be good engineers and doctors.
7. SUB-STANDARD CURRICULUM: Curriculum of all the subjects at all the stages, as compared to other Asian countries, is sub-standard. Curriculums of art, science and commerce are still almost the same as they used to be 50 years back. The prescribed books written on the basis of outdated course lines obviously do no meet the modern requirements.
8. FAST POPULATION GROWTH: Population of Pakistan is growing fast due to which real per capita income of people decreases. Population of Pakistan has become double fold in 2011 over 1972. Consequently, demand for goods and services has enormously been increased but production is not keeping its pace with it. Therefore, real per capita income is decreasing due to rapid inflation. Having met the daily requirements of daily life of large families, residual income does not allow the people to provide good education to their children.
9. UNEMPLOYMENT: High real and disguised unemployment is there in Pakistan due to backward agricultural and industrial sectors. Two third of population of the county is living below poverty line. Hand to mouth people either do not think about to get their children admitted in schools and if so, not beyond primary level.
10. INCAPABLE AND INEFFICIENT TEACHERS: Most of the teachers, especially in schools and colleges, are not appointed on merit but under political pressures or through close contacts or bribing the appointing authorities. Such teachers are not capable to impart knowledge upon the students nor they have teaching aptitude. College results of 2010 show that not a single student passed in 20 colleges of Karachi. Moreover, teachers are assigned irrelevant duties having no concern with teaching. Consequently, they do not pay full attention to their main duty; teaching.
11. DEFECTIVE EXAMINATION SYSTEM: Examination consists upon paper setting, assessment of scripts and declaration of results. The examination system in Pakistan is also highly defective through which real knowledge of the students can't be judged. The examiners do not take pain for setting the exam papers but copy the questions out of last 5 years papers. At the time of assessing the exam scripts, co-examiners, specially during 'centralized assessment', loudly chat and discuss irrelevant matters like pay scale, promotion, posting, raise in pay etc. A professor of Urdu, many years back, assessed the civics scripts considering them scripts of Urdu. The height of irresponsibility and carelessness can easily be understood.
Political leaders and parties compel superintendent of exam center to arrange for special room at the exam centers for their recommended candidates where required books, notes, and other materials are provided. Extra than prescribed time is allowed. In some cases, invigilating teachers also help the examinees in solving the papers.
12. TV AND MOBILE: TV and mobile culture has been spreading day by day. Indian films and TV dramas full of glamour and violence inclines the students to threat invigilators in examination hall and the examiners to pass them. Cheating on gun point is common in college and university examinations. Political parties compel examination center superintendent to allocate special room at the exam center where required books, notes and other helping aids are provided.
13. FAKE DEGREES: Acquisition and use of fake degrees by government servants is common in Pakistan .Fake degrees of B.A, M.A, B.Com, M.Com, B.A, B.Sc., Msc, and PHD are not considered crime. Many high officials and ministers have been appointed and elected on the basis of these fake degrees. A minister, responding the question of a news man in a press conference said that, "what do you talk about degree? Degree is degree whether it is real or fake". Is it not the height of shamelessness? Those who have real degrees acquired after a great labor and sacrifice are roaming about unemployed due to these fake degree holders. Last year, 15 fake degree holders' inclusive high officials and ministers were fired by the court. Briefly speaking, nothing can be done right in a country if education system is wrong.