The Urgent Need To Reform Pakistan’s Education System
No matter how glorious a nation’s past is and how much wealthy it is in natural resources, if it has a defective education system, it cannot make progress. In the modern world, it is, undoubtedly, education that determines the prosperity of a nation as well as its power and position in the international community. Individuals having given quality education are the best source a state can rely on in the process of political and economic development. Developed countries have well-organized and advanced education systems, whereas most of the developing and underdeveloped countries -including Pakistan- are lagging in this sector.
The education system in Pakistan is based on different dimensions and types. There are Western model schools and madrassas (missionary). The students at missionaries are taught Islam, the Quran and Sunnah along with other Islamic teachings. The western type of education is taught in schools and colleges. These two types of education are essentially exclusive and distinct of each other.
Then there is further division in terms of the medium of instruction. Urdu vs English medium-Government and Private schools. Private schools up to grade eight have different curriculums whereas in government schools, different types of books are taught to the students. Moreover, Private schools can further be divided into two different categories based on social stratification, the upper-class and the lower-class schools. The latter are comparatively cheaper- and have low-quality education. The teachers in these schools are untrained, unqualified, and under paid.
This division in the education system leads to the division of the nation i.e. deepening of class differences. In addition, the quality of education is adversely affected as madrassa-certified students do not understand English. Owing to the provision of poor education, students do not understand even the basic English despite it being the primary language of the curriculum.
The examination system is also not without its problems in our country. Above the eight-grade, the Board examination is conducted across the country and based on the student’s performance, they are promoted to the next classes. However, the system is not that transparent as it sounds. There is only one teacher present in each hall or room at examination centers and his duty is almost over a hundred students. Students resort to illegal and unfair means while attempting their papers- a common practice. Furthermore, for checking and marking the papers, the answer sheets are sent to teachers who, most of the time, do not check these papers themselves. They hand out these papers to their students for checking. However, it is observed that when they check and mark papers, they might only consider the handwriting and not the whole texture of the answer-sheet. Thus, the intellectual performance is not evaluated in the examination system. The disgruntled students who often do not get rewarded in marks as per their actual performance, leave education forever or at least feel lesser motivated for further studies.
Another problem in the education system of Pakistan is the unqualified and untrained teaching staff. The teachers available at government as well as in the middle-class schools are not well-versed in the subjects they teach. There is no arrangement for the professional development of the teachers. These teachers are not trained and taught the techniques of teaching. As a result of which they beat students to death for trivial mistakes. Alongside, the drop-out rate in elementary school, especially of girls is so high and alarming. Instead of learning in school, students (mostly boys) are seen playing in the streets.
In education institutes, the curriculum is that basic tool through which the larger goal is achieved. Unfortunately, the curriculum in our education system is outdated. It does not meet the needs of the time. Most of the subjects are stagnated in the twentieth century and not upgraded to date. This results in student’s negligence of the current developments in different subjects. The students are kept oblivious to the contemporary novel inventions and discoveries related to subjects.
Ratta (cramming) culture is another serious problem looming over the education system. Students are told to memorize the whole texts of the lessons, even the books, and little heed is paid to the comprehension aspect. While no time is given to understanding and conceptualization of the lessons. As a result, they fall behind in analytical and critical studies. The importance given to Ratta is due to the importance given to marks. Street after street is decorated with banners of the toppers along with the name of the school, which inculcates in the minds of students that if they didn’t secure good marks, they will not be given admission in colleges. Thus, instead of ‘learning’, marks are glorified.
No government has so far shown any interest in reforming the education system of Pakistan. The funds allocated to the education sector are minimal as compared to other sectors. The governments’ lack of interest has left the education sector in utter disgust which is outrightly failed in producing men of high caliber. Even governments’ negligence can be viewed from the fact that students attending government schools are exceeding in numbers than of the chairs, rooms, and buildings available to them.
The education system in Pakistan has many problems ranging from poor teaching staff to defective examination systems. These problems have halted the growth of quality education in the country. The youth of the nation is deprived of their basic rights due to such a defective education system. Moreover, the system is not based on equal footing: a large number of lower-class children are unable to attend quality schools thereby ending up relinquishing their schooling. The government of the time needs to address the sector for upbringing the nation in the international community. As without educated citizens, no nation can grow or prosper.