ISLAMABAD: Unfortunately, our past governments and even the incumbent federal and provincial governments do not regard education as the key to unlocking human potential. Currently, the whole education system requires extensive review. Primary and secondary education is characterised by low enrolment levels and poor educational standards, particularly in Sindh and Balochistan.
The people of Pakistan today have lost their confidence in their local education system to the extent that a vast majority of parents are now sending their children to private schools, even from rural areas, that charge exorbitant fees.
Our universities, colleges and schools do not only have dilapidated infrastructure but are also faced with an acute shortage of staff, appropriate faculty and learning equipment. Nothing practical has been done to increase school enrolment and improve access, quality and relevance of academic education through curriculum review.
Like many other Pakistanis, a few questions always agitate in my mind. Firstly, why does our government not provide facilities for basic childhood education, earnestly enforce primary and secondary education, establish more universities and technical colleges in every province and rehabilitate existing ones which are in a deplorable condition, instead of spending huge sums of money on foreign trips and other non-productive activities?
Secondly, why does our government not prioritise information and communication technology related education from as early as primary school and enhance tertiary education to ensure that our graduates are able to compete with those from international institutions?
Indeed, we have a country which has been made rich and beautiful by Mother Nature and diligent human labour but, unfortunately, our country has been made ‘non-governable’, kept ‘illiterate’ and ‘uneducated’ by an inefficient ruling elite. However, the ruling elite is requested to try to learn from their past mistakes and make every genuine effort to promote literacy and education in the real sense in the country.
It is apt to quote here the golden words of Nelson Mandela who once said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”. Our rulers must keep in mind that if they want a tolerant, democratic and peaceful Pakistan, there needs to be strict focus on education.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 11th, 2014.