Revisiting the education system in Pakistan – OpEd – Eurasia Review

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Education is a prerequisite for the progress and development of any state. The progress of each country depends on the level of literacy of its population and the quality of the education provided to it. The current structure of the education system in Pakistan, which is a legacy of the British colonial era, is extremely outdated and in many cases fails to meet the needs of today’s academic demands. A decade after the 18e amendment, there have still been few changes in the structure of the Pakistani education system. Pakistan currently ranks 113e among 120 countries on literacy, which paints a hopeless picture to say the least. Our collective literacy rate is 58%, which means that more than 60 million people are excluded from the education system.

According to the 1973 constitution, the federal government is responsible for planning, formulating policies and promoting educational institutions in the provinces. The federal governments have taken initiatives to eliminate the shortcomings of the educational structure of the country, for this reason, they have convened several conferences to address the shortcomings of the education sector. The very first national education conference was convened in 1947 in the presence of the nation’s founder, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah. The Quaid was quoted as saying, “The importance of education and the type of education cannot be overstated. There is no doubt that the future of our state will and must greatly depend on the kind of education we give our children and how we bring them up as future citizens of Pakistan. We must not forget that we have to compete with the world which is moving very quickly in this direction”. This was followed by several other education policy conferences.

Yet after all these years and many conferences, plans, initiatives and programs, Pakistan still looms in the obscurity of low literacy among the general masses. We have big plans, but we certainly have a poor sense of implementation and most of our initiatives die out after the initial stage of speeches and deliberations. Many of the problems we face in education are compounded when it comes to rural areas such as one-teacher schools and one-room schools without furniture and basic teaching equipment for both the personal as well as for students. Predominance of untrained teachers, lack of student motivation resulting in many cases of school dropouts and lack of sports facilities. There are multiple obstacles to the achievement of free and universal primary education, such as the low priority given to the primary sub-sector in the allocation of financial resources, unrealistic plans and their targets, an unattractive school environment and an atmosphere unstimulating teaching and learning indoors. the classrooms.

Secondary education has also suffered in the country, as those provided by government institutions have done little or nothing to improve the level of education in the country. Many of these public schools lack the component of imparting leadership qualities to students so that they can become responsible actors in the future. The absence of this has encouraged the creation of private institutions which, to some extent, focus on the social skills of students. However, this comes at a higher cost in the form of fees that are beyond the reach of a common man, making them exclusive to elites only. The balance between curricular and extracurricular activities is virtually non-existent in public schools and therefore students suffer from character building, balanced personality development, confidence and leadership qualities. Although “comprehensive schools” were created to solve this problem, they were later discontinued for unknown reasons.

The upper secondary education sector faces an even greater problem, namely the lack of diversified educational fields that are limited to a few disciplines such as medicine, engineering and ICS. These are extremely limited options for the millions of students entering upper secondary with a thousand different interests that may not match the current fields of study offered at middle level in Pakistan’s colleges. There is an urgent need to diversify college disciplines and increase the number of disciplines to match the educational resources provided with the needs and desires of students. A student who does not like math, biology or physics should not be taught these strength subjects. If students begin to lose interest in studies, which they often do if the subjects do not interest them, then this triggers a destructive domino effect that will accompany them throughout their journey to higher education.

Higher education in Pakistan, on the other hand, suffers from insufficient resources, the politicization of students (religious and ethnic) and their involvement in generally unconstructive political discourse. Balochistan University in the provincial capital of Quetta is torn between student associations, political unions and parties that do not act as a source of cohesion among those attending the university. Instead, they draw dividing lines and are a major source of infighting. Another case study is the death of a university student at the International Islamic University in Islamabad, following infighting between student associations and political unions. University academic and administrative staff paint a picture of despair. They may certainly possess the qualifications that make them eligible for the office they occupy, but many lack the standard behavioral approach that makes an excellent administrator or teacher. Most staff members are stuck in a deep sense of superiority complex and view all questions, even those asked in good faith, as a challenge to their self-constructed authority. Students at universities should be able to focus as much on the development of their character and personality as on their academic and mental abilities, which the university leadership should provide the atmosphere for, since all students coming out of the university will apply for different job opportunities that require certain skills in addition to being academically brilliant. However, apart from a few private institutions, the rest of the universities, both public and private, do not focus on this important factor. The myriad of bureaucratic and administrative hurdles with university management bodies only acts as a discouraging factor for those who want to introduce positive programs.

Overall, there is a lack of supportive and enabling environment in universities and students are treated more like subjects rather than equals who have overflowing potential within. Another dilemma faced by the educational system is that students, from the start of education, are taught in a “reactive” environment, that is, the student will do nothing until the teacher will not give instructions or ask for anything to be read or written. . We need to move from a “reactive” mode of teaching to a “proactive” mode of teaching where the student exercises his own will to study, what he wants to study and how he wants it, but it is a long way and much more work needs to be done to nurture such an environment that will make these initiatives sustainable and manageable. We only spend 2.1% of our GDP on education. This cannot last long if Pakistan is to prosper.

Ali Changezi is a research assistant at Balochistan Think Tank Network

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