Education is a process which brings positive change in oneself. Acquiring a degree does not make a person educated until he is improved with positive change. Unfortunately, we have kept aside ourselves from this change. We have succeeded in the field of nuclear weapons and proudly claim to have the Islamic Bomb but still are not adequately armed with the optimum level of education. It is worth mentioning that Malaysia, without nuclear status, is called the “Asian Tiger” due to advancement in education. Worthy Prime Minister of Malaysia, Mahatheer Mohammad, was asked about the secret of rapid developmental in his country. He replied, “Education”. Again he was asked, he replied, “education”. And the third time his answer was the same.
Turkey, modern Islamic state with Secular policies, unrivalled within the Islamic world, its focus and priority has been its adaptive and modern policy on education. Her development, prosperity and accelerated progress are evident to everyone. The only edge that developed nations have is education. Our failure to develop in education has also led perhaps to a lack of tolerance, patience, peace, progress and stability.
Sadly our society is divided into class system; most people wish to educate their children in private schools to be able to improve their social mobility. Ironically, education in Pakistan has become private enterprise to earn profit rather than to promote knowledge and wisdom. Education has sadly become a booming business here, which is deplorable to say the least. Although an Educational emergency has been announced, but no effective outcome is yet to show any visible signs of improvement. I am not here to support the idea to end private schools, but like every citizen of this country would like to see a tangible change that will guarantee in achieving the same level and curriculum across the board to ensure quality education to every child which is also a fundamental right. I will suggest bringing both to equal levels in terms of improving quality and provide opportunities to poor students that will make them competent enough to compete with their cohorts. Entering in competition for a poor farmer’s son is an uphill task and, sadly, some surveys suggest that there are 25 million children who are not enrolled in schools across the country.
Article 25-A of Constitution of Pakistan which ensures free education to every citizen of Pakistan up to secondary school level is far from implementation. This shows indifferent behavior of state towards education. Education for all is merely a slogan which we have been hearing from many years. Since the inception of Pakistan education could not get its deserved status in state policy. During financial year 2013-14, budget allocation for education is 2.4% at federal level. It’s a dilemma that half of the population is already living under poverty line then how can a poor think of educating his children?
It is worth appreciating that Balochistan, the most under developed province, has raised its budget for education to 26%. The Chief Minister, Dr, Abdul Malik Baloch, is much inclined to bring about educational reforms in province but allocating a large sum of funds does not resolve the problem which education system is facing currently. Along with budget allocations more serious strides need to be taken for the betterment of education.
Times of theories have gone. Now the new generation is in dire need of practical measures for Education. Without wasting time, State must impose educational emergency, not only in theories or through announcements. But Practical moves should also be taken. Nearly 7000 ghost schools have been reported in Pakistan through different surveys. These ghost schools must come to an end. China with a mammoth population got independence in the mid of twentieth century, owns the educational responsibilities and plays her role in sincere manners.
Civic education is as essential as food for the body. In this modern era we are in dire need of civic education to get awareness about our prime responsibilities and fundamental rights. What are the duties which a citizen needs to perform for the betterment of his country, and what are his rights in state. By sowing the seeds of civic education in a nation, one can harvest a civilized nation, indeed.
Israel with a small population has won twelve Nobel prizes; entire credit goes to her education with the literacy rate of 98%. On the other hand, we have only two legends. Sadly, one has spent his life in exile and the second, Malala, who has threats to face.
Furthermore, creativity, the most important element, must be instilled in new generations; telling them how to think rather than what to think. Thoughts are not to be given to students but to be awakened in them. Where thinking is awakened, the mind is always young. Where the mind is young life is a prevailing challenge.
Author is affiliated with Center for Civic Education. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Published in The Balochistan Point on June 6, 2015
Disclaimer: Views expressed in this article are those of the author and The Balochistan Point not necessarily agrees with them.