KARACHI: To explain how important diversified education is, former president of the American University in Cairo, Dr Lisa Anderson, delivered a lecture, titled 'Liberal Arts Confront Globalization', at the Aga Khan University (AKU) auditorium on Tuesday.
The problem is that we do not understand what quality education is, said Anderson, while addressing an audience that comprised of students and teachers. There are problems in education on the primary and secondary levels, she added.
"We prepare our children for the jobs they will do as soon as they finish their studies, rather we should be preparing them for jobs they will do after 40 years," she said, while explaining how fast the standard of education and curriculum has been changing.
Students decide their final professional subjects at the age of 17 or 18, which is too early, she believed.
Sharing one of the surveys about global confrontation, she said that Pakistan spends a little more than 2% of its total gross domestic product (GDP) on education but it is good to know that Pakistan has moved towards knowledge-based learning. "Pakistan is moving towards the investment of at least 4% of its GDP on education by 2018, which is higher than that of its regional neighbours," she informed.
Talking about the standards of professional education and how much importance is given in Pakistan, Anderson said that there were 59 universities in Pakistan in 2000 and now, the number of universities has risen to 177, out of which 103 are public sector institutes.
Anderson also spoke about the significance of need to prepare the younger generation in a manner that allows acceptance of diversity. "All people are different from one another," she said. "My identity, language, environment and people I live with define me." She added that different people opt for different subjects and have differing intellectual levels.
Explaining how the educational system varies in every structure or institution, she said that one cannot make a model and implement it every year. "The same model can work for one country or organisation, but may not for another," she said.
Meanwhile, AKU president Firoz Rasul said that the idea to start a faculty of arts and science has been there since 12 years, while answering a question as to when AKU will be introducing liberal arts as a subject. "We are in contact with the Sindh government about the idea relating to issues such as, land, governance and infrastructure."
Published in The Express Tribune, November 9th, 2016.