No nation can think of attaining prosperity without having an inclusive education system. Those that realised the significance of education have achieved unprecedented success while those that continue to undermine its importance have been handicapped by wicked problems such as corruption and nepotism.
Like many other postcolonial societies, the crisis of education in Pakistan is acute and chronic. In this regard, the abysmally low passing ratio in the JEST test — a test conducted for recruiting junior elementary school teacher — should come as no surprise to the policy-makers of Sindh. Pervasive poverty, rising rate of early dropouts, existence of ghost schools and teachers, and sheer negligence are just some of the factors that lie at the heart of the education crisis in Sindh. Moreover, the latest Annual Status of Education report has put the education system of Sindh at the very bottom due to underlying structural flaws. To begin with, it illustrates that 56.2% of children in grade 5 cannot read a story in any national language while 69.5% cannot solve basic mathematics problems. However, what is most worrisome is the fact that a staggering 6.5 million children are currently out of school in the province. Owing to corruption, the biometric mechanism introduced by Sindh government proved to be a counterproductive and failed to compel ghost teachers to be punctual in schools.
Without an efficient, vibrant and impartial system of accountability, educational anomalies cannot be solved and good results cannot be achieved. The government must take prudent measures to improve the overall system. It is true that the crisis of education has further been exacerbated by the pandemic, but the province can overcome the crisis by taking serious efforts and introducing meaningful reforms.
Abdul Wahab Magsi
Published in The Express Tribune, November 5th, 2021.