Educational Reforms badly needed in Pakistan

by Shah N. Khan..

Pakistan is one of those 12 world countries that spends less than 2% of its GNP on education. The World Bank reports that the average Pakistani boy receives only five years of schooling; the average girl just 2.5 years.

Pathetic conditions of Government schools and poor standards of instructions compel people in middle classes to send their children to private schools who have started charging so high fees that parents can barely afford for more than one or two children.

National and Provincial Educational Budget must at least be tripled and steps taken to improve teaching standards and conditions of government schools.

The 12th convocation ceremony of Pakistan Air Force ? Karachi Institute of Economics & Technology was held in 2015.

Adult Education progrms need to be encouraged with incentives.

In order to ensure the child is actively disciplined, the task of the educator lies in showing the difference between good and evil and seeing that the child does not confound good with immobility, and evil with activity.

Teaching should be such that what is offered is perceived as a valuable gift and not as a hard duty.
_Albert Einstein

The U.S. Agency for International Development claims that only two-thirds of Pakistani children aged 5-9 are ever enrolled in school and only one-third will complete the fifth grade. Pakistan's adult literacy rate is about 40% and is much lower among females. The U.N. Development Programme's 2004 Human Development Report assigned Pakistan the lowest education indexof any country outside Africa.

When our leaders talk about modernizing education they look towards West where serious thinkers themselves are not satisfied with their own methods and are constantly looking for improvements. Generally people in the West educate their children as they build their houses, according to some plan they think beautiful, according to their own cultural values and background which may not be considered suitable for our children except in the advanced studies of science and technology.

Problems in Pakistan

1Problems in Pakistan are different: Nearly 50% of our boys and 70% of girls do not go to schools even though education has been made free.

2 We have several types of educational systems from Madarssahs to British courses. Syllabus in different provinces differ vastly.

3There is general impression out side Pakistan that 'madarsahs' brainwash children to become jihadis and militants. With a few exceptions the overwhelming majority of such madaris are doing a great social service. Let us hope that this misunderstanding and bad elements are removed. The Madarssah preaching militancy and hate have been banned.

4Teaching Quran Nazirah (reading only) needs to be supplemented with primary "Deenyat course" in mother tongue compiled by the Central Text book board. Experts opine that the first idea that the child must acquire, in order to be actively disciplined, is that of the difference between good and evil; and the task of the educator lies in seeing that the child does not confound good with immobility, and evil with activity.

5 Pathetic condition of Government schools which are ill equipped. Many teachers at village schools do not show regular attendance. That forces middle class and affluent people to send their children to private schools who charge exorbitant fee and good education is thus becoming out of reach of middle class. Thus society is being fragmented with class discrimination. In most Western countries 99% children to go to the same public schools.

6National and Provincial Educational Budget must be at least tripled. Pakistan is one of only 12 world countries that spends less than 2% of its GNP on education.

7Copy culture is rampant and attempt to stop cheating at examinations must continue and efforts redoubled.

8Corruption in Educational institutions and issue of fake degrees must be punished more severely.

9Syllabus for different schools in different provinces need to be standardized and greater attention on Teachers Training must be given. Untrained teachers are not able to evoke interest of children in learning and most of them feel it as a hard duty.

10. It is also noted that nothing in our education is so astonishing is the amount of ignorance it accumulates in the form of inert facts. Some of our graduates know more about American Presidents than what they know about Khulfa e Rashidin. They can't tell the difference between ghazwa and war. They know more about Sahkespear than Imam Ghazali's Ahiya e Uloom. Similary a Hafiz e Quran who comes to lead trawih prayers in Ramzan cannot tell the meaning of most of the verses he recites or how many verses there are about justice.

11. It is also felt that Education in our times must try to find whatever there is in students that might yearn for completion, and to reconstruct the learning that would enable them autonomously to seek that completion and thus become a good citizen fully aware with Huqooq Allah and Huqooqul Ibad. Not only Ulemas and our educational experts but pscychologists must help in modernizing our education.

12. A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops. But it is so distressing to find that corruption and copy-culture has crept in many educational instituitions in Sind as well as other remote areas. In interior Sind hate and prjudices are damaging not only the national unity but also standard of education. I find many first class MA and MBA are not able to write correct English and fail miserably in test or interviews for jobs in good commercial concerns.

13. Some time ago daily Dawn had editorially commented: "The news that the Higher Education Commission has recruited 67 foreign-based teachers - mostly overseas Pakistanis - and inducted them in some local universities is welcome. It is expected that those hired will help in raising teaching standards in our universities.

14. Equally important, if not more, is the need for reforms in teaching methods and standards at primary and school level. Government schools are so poorly maintained that one feels ashamed. Meager budget allocations for education hampers social development,

15. Pathetic conditions of Government schools and poor standards of instruction have been one of the major complaints from students in recent times. Some students say that the mode of instruction is outdated and needs to be changed along with the curricula in a number of disciplines.

16. There are also complaints from students who go abroad for higher studies that they find it difficult to cope with the level of studies at foreign universities. These are areas where the newly inducted teachers could make a vital contribution.

17. Another area of concern isacademic research which has long been neglected. If at least a beginning is made in addressing these problems, the worth of Pakistani university degrees abroad would rise.

18. An important aspect of the induction of foreign academics would be the interaction between them and the students and teachers in Pakistan. That should prove helpful in bringing new ideas and approaches at the level of higher education. It would also raise the level of academic discourse at our universities which is lacking at the moment.

19. Despite its obvious advantages, there are some factors that the government would have to take into account to make this scheme a success. For one, the HEC should ensure that academics of equivalent qualification, whether working in Pakistan or abroad, should be offered similar remuneration packages.

20. Also, the mode of selection of these academics needs to be impartial and transparent. This would make the best and the brightest of them to want to come to Pakistan. The government should also be aware of the resentment the arrival of foreign teachers may generate amongst local academics. This issue needs to be tactfully handled for the program to be successful.

21. Our high schools and colleges must have Personality Development courses with a focus on ways to make the students highly articulate, confident and commanding in their career and to give the students that extra edge which increases their chance of success in the practical life.

22. The high school and college programs must cover various aspects of Body Language, Effective Communication, Rules of Communication, Pre- placement information, Group Discussions etc.besides the courses that lay more emphasis on developing professional skills in chosen field of management.

23. Finally, these should be part of a larger program to address the problem of the decline in the standards and quality of higher education in Pakistan.

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