EDUCATION FOR ALL

MOHAMMED ARIFEEN 
(feedback@pgeconomist.com)

July 9 - 15, 20
12

Education is must for all human being to improve knowledge, get information, develop skills, help others, understand others, and create new technology. It is the base of all basic achievements in life. According to Aristotle, the roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet. Islam has emphasized a lot on the importance of education and according to the Ahadiths of the Holy Prophet (PBUH), the education is the most important component for individuals and society as well.

Pakistan was created in the name of Islam under the dynamic leadership of Quaid-i-Azam. The Quran placed great emphasis on education. The Quaid as quoted above also highlighted its importance for the new nation.

Universal primary education was the second millennium development goal, which Pakistan promised to the international community. Pakistan committed to raise its literacy rate to 88 percent by the year 2015 while ensuring 100 percent net primary enrolment ratio.

The Article 28 on the convention of the right of a child is of the view that primary education should be made compulsory. It must be free and approachable to every child at all ages. According to Section 15 of the child's right law, 'Every child has the right to free and universal primary education and it shall be the duty of the government, individuals, parents, and guardian to provide such education.'

The prosperity and economic growth of the country is linked in promoting education for all. Article 37 of the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan lays down the following parameters:

a) Promote with special care the educational and economic interests of backward classes.

b) Remove illiteracy and provide free and compulsory secondary level education within minimum possible period.

c) Make technical and professional education generally available and higher education accessible to all on the basis of merit.

According to UNDP data, the literacy in Christian world is over 90 percent whereas in the Muslim states at 40 percent. Almost 98 percent of Christian literates have completed primary education, those of Muslims stand only at 50 percent and 40 percent of the Christian literates attended university education, and that of the Muslims stand at a meager two percent.

The literacy level is low; the female literacy levels are among the lowest in the world and the lowest in the Muslim countries. Pakistan is still below that literacy rate. The alarming thing is that 60 million, over the age of 10 years, are illiterate. Currently Pakistan has a literacy rate of approximately 57 percent, which is one of the lowest in the World.

The expenditure on education in Pakistan is one of the lowest in the world and it is at two percent of the GDP most of the time. The maximum it has ever reached is 2.8 percent.

Pakistan does not have enough primary institutions in the country. They are being concentrated in the cities and urban areas. In the rural areas, there are few primary schools in their area.

Pakistan is fully capable of enforcing such a rule as there are enough primary schools in Pakistan to accommodate these children. The unfortunate part is that the primary schools are run by the government which is corrupt. Many schools are bogus where the local officials in charge claim their presence simply to take the funds for themselves.

The government must take steps to raise the standard of living of the downtrodden masses. Education is the right of every Pakistani. It is time to take all necessary steps in this direction. Pakistan is committed to raise its literacy rate to 88 percent by the year 2015 while ensuring 100 percent net primary enrolment ratio is only three years away and Pakistan is still falling back far behind its goal.

The government has launched various campaigns like universal primary education and universal secondary education. Still these campaigns are ineffective unless substantial finances are allocated for educational expenditures.

There are several areas of Pakistan where children cannot go to the schools, as no educational facilities are available there. Likewise, the standard and quality of education at government-run schools is deteriorating. Many ghost schools exist in government records and nobody takes stern action despite knowledge about this.

Girls are deprived of education in Pakistan. This is a huge problem too, but it is ignored by the government. The government has failed to adequately train and develop teachers for educating especially females.

In the context of the above-mentioned problems as well as the international commitments, the government must allocate a reasonable portion of budget towards educational development of the country.

If we neglect education and do not raise funds, we will never be able to progress. During the years 2009, 2010 and 2011, educational expenditures have decreased significantly. We must invest in the future of our children to turn them into great leaders, economists, scientists, and valuable citizens. If we continue to ignore the essential issue of education during resource allocation, we will never be able to advance.

The emphasis in our education system is still on a general and liberal type of BA or M A degree. The change towards scientific and technical education has still not taken place.

The teachers are not well paid, under-trained, and disheartened. The students are indifferent, as they see no relationship between education and higher earnings or status in the society.

In 1960s, the laudable work of Schultz and Becker working on the concept of investment in human capital proved that a high level of education is a requisite condition for economic growth and no country can make substantial economic and social progress if vast majority of its citizens are illiterate. The rapid progress of East Asian Countries is largely ascribed to their uniform excellent system of education.

About eight million children in Pakistan are out of school at the primary level and according to an estimate, the number of five to 16 years old out of school is 20 million. About 40 percent of the children, who joined school at the age of five, drop out during the first two years.

Pakistan, faced with problems created by provincialism, feudalism, sectarianism, tribalism, extremism and linguistic tendencies, must introduce a curriculum that could promote tolerance, unity, faith, discipline and moderation in the future generation of Pakistan.

We should learn from the experiences of the developed countries like USA and Britain that have developed uniform system of education and reached to pinnacles of glory.

In the Republic of Korea, there is a prescribed national curriculum and all its details are determined by the ministry of education (MOE). In Japan, the ministry of education, science and culture prescribe guidelines for curriculum and authorize textbooks in elementary and secondary schools.

Malaysia has also developed a common curriculum and system of education. All schools, whether private or public, have to stand by the contents and curriculum approved by the ministry of education.

In Sri Lanka too, there is a common national curriculum at least from class 1 to 11 and the school year lasts from January to December in the entire island.

In place of the present BA/ BSc/ BCom, a new scheme of four years of specialized education should be introduced after the intermediate for all other branches and subjects on the pattern of medical and engineering courses.