'Strike tomorrow, school’s closed!'

My maid has more sense than our education ministry! So much for the so-called "year of education".

Ayeza Zafar January 25, 2011
How many countries have more unofficial (read: unnecessary) holidays than official ones?

Now that 2011 has been announced as Pakistan’s year of education, we might want to start focusing less on who killed whom and more on keeping our schools open.

My high school years in Karachi were a blur of classes, canteen breaks, throwball, netball, and bonfires. Sounds like fun, I know. But it would have been a whole lot more productive had it not been interrupted by school closures thanks to random strikes and curfews. As a young’un, who really cares? After all, no school is usually good news.

Now that those years have passed, I look back and wonder how much of our regular course syllabus was actually covered if my school (mind you, a fairly well known O’ and A’ level institution in Karachi) was closed at least a couple of days every few weeks.

Every time my friends and I returned to class, most of what was not covered due to a strike was skipped completely. Now, that would have been great had all that not sneaked its way into every test and exam afterwards.  No wonder none of us never managed to truly grasp concepts that would have seemed relatively simple otherwise.

This can’t entirely be blamed on our teachers. They are about as helpless as the rest of us. Although I do think, at times, that the teacher’s salary should be just given to our brilliant and ever helpful ‘tuition walas’.

A lady that once worked in my household as a maid took her youngest son to school to talk to his teacher about his grades. She had never gone to school before, in fact, she had probably never even seen a school. The teacher sat across from her, knitting a sweater, and said four words to her:
“He should get tuition's.”

My maid replied:
“Are you getting paid to sit here and knit a sweater? Why am I wasting my hard earned salary on you?”

If a woman with no education can make sense of our country’s education system (or lack thereof), then why can’t Ivy-league educated higher ups? This so-called year of education is nothing more than a load of rubbish! Maybe then it can become a reality.

Getting our priorities straight

Co-chair of the Pakistan Education Task Force Sir Michael Barber’s article mentioned that people need to come to believe that it is possible for Pakistan to have a much more successful education system than it currently does.

Pakistan is probably one of the few countries where the national education budget seems to decrease as time goes by. I am all for defending our nation, but really, if money can be spent on defense and cadet colleges, then why not regular government and private institutions?
Ayeza Zafar Currently works with the University of Texas as a Communications Specialist in biomedical research. She holds a Bachelors degree in Communications and New Media from St Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas and a Masters degree in Organizational Communication and Information Architecture from the University of Texas at San Antonio.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


parvez | 13 years ago | Reply @Fizza: What about madrassas ?
Ali | 13 years ago | Reply Can't web based tuition/lectures be emplyed in places like Karachi?
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