Exposing the dichotomy: Separate education from politics: Dr Abdul Qayyum

Says great politicians were not great educationists

Asad Zia September 29, 2015
Says great politicians were not great educationists.


The youngest man in his time to receive a doctorate degree from Swat, Dr Sayed Abdul Qayyum Khan emphasised on the segregation of education from politics. “Political interference in the realm of education has lowered the standard and quality of education in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa,” said Khan, who is a renowned education expert. Now 70, Khan has served as the principal in around 15 colleges across the province.

“The interference by the K-P government in the education sector of the province has had a detrimental effect on standards.” He demanded Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf-led government in K-P separate politics from education.

Need to bifurcate

According to Khan, there is an urgent need to segregate both domains. “It is the responsibility of educationists and not political leaders to form policies regarding education,” said Khan. He added governments in K-P make changes to curriculums and teaching methods according to the policies of the regime in place. However, Khan said, governments fail to realise that the true purpose of education is lost in those political transactions. “The influence of lawmakers in the education sector negatively impacts students who are divided between ideologies and mainstream narratives.”

Using your assets

He said K-P has rich educational assets but unfortunately they are not used to their potential. “In countries abroad, educationists play a positive role in the development of education but in Pakistan, the situation is very different,” lamented Khan. He added after retirement, educationists in the country were treated like a burden on the economy and nation.

“Great politicians were not great educationists and the former can never understand the technique of education more than experts,” he said. He suggested the K-P government involve educationists in this sector’s policymaking.

Beyond orthodox systems

Khan said education encompasses the evolutionary process of every generation. He believed with the onset of modernisation and technological revolutions, the sector has also made headway. It has incorporated newer and more innovative disciplines into its system.

Choosing your path

He suggested parents give their children a freer hand in choosing subjects to study and careers
to pursue.

“Parents should give their children confidence and free rein to choose subjects and fields that appeal to them,” Khan said. “In my vast experience of teaching, I have observed some parents want their sons and daughters become either doctors or engineers but since their children are not interested in either fields, they perform poorly and live confused lives.”

From govt school to youngest PhD

Khan belongs to Dheri Alpuri area of Swat where he received his initial education from Government Hodoodi High School in Saidu Sharif. He attended Jehanzaib College Swat and graduated with a master’s degree in Persian from University of Peshawar. He received his PhD degree in Persian from Tehran University, Iran at the age of 29 and also taught Pashto for three years at the
same university.

In 1968, Khan joined Jehanzaib College Swat as a principal. Khan also served as a principal at Government College Thana Malkand and various other colleges in Parachinar, Karak, Bajaur, Khairabad Mardan, Nowshera and Hazara.

He also remained chairman at the Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education Peshawar for three years.

Khan has written several books and published around 130 articles in different languages.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 29th, 2015.


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