Reasons for collapse of education system in Pakistan

Schools can be categorized in three classes. Public sector schools - commonly understood as Government schools, Private Schools and Madrasa Schools. The first major problem is that all these three have no coordination among them.–File photo

In my previous article, I tried to look back into the past to refresh some good memories of the past. The people of my generation always discuss the problems of our education sector in their private sittings. I want to put some of them to you to ponder what went wrong that deteriorate the strata so much that it seems impossible to repair. As I said, it will be just a glimpse of the bigger picture of the dilapidated tomb of our glorious educational past- at least to me it was so. One small article cannot justify the coverage of detailed analysis of all the problems hence I will try to talk about just a few.

Debatably, in Pakistan we have school education, college education and higher education. My basic concern would certainly be school and college education and primarily school education. Schools can be categorized in three classes. Public sector schools – commonly understood as Government schools, Private Schools and Madrasa Schools. The first major problem is that all these three have no coordination among them. These are so pols apart that their entire philosophies and objectives are antithetical. Out of these, Private school again can be classified as elite, mediocre and lowly privileged or you may say not privileged schools.

Some schools are so hi-fi that commoners can’t even think of these. The fee-structure of such schools can cover the half-yearly or even yearly budget of any poor family. The students of such schools spend their summer vacation in America or EU. These schools implement western curricula. All such schools don’t follow one curricula rather different ones. The students of these schools take some exams approved by their boards or universities like A level-O level etc. Such schools veto the use of local or national languages- indigestible for many of us. These schools have all that can get them more customers. The biggest pitfall for these schools is that they develop such a generation that classify themselves as superior ones with an air of class apart. It reminds me of the famous quote from Animal farm:

All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.

These are the kind of schools I don’t want to write about. The reason is very simple and obvious.

If we talk about government schools, yes there is a kind of uniformity you can say, even if it is posturing. They have a kind of same syllabi, teaching staff- for all intent and purposes, uniform and the class of students. The main and core dilemma of these schools are quite obvious invariably i.e the lack of substantial facilities like infrastructure and trained staff and if there are some facilities available unexpectedly, they are either mishandled or misused- I wanted to use the five letter word but I left it to your enriched imagination.

The budget for education, in general, is so meager that it can’t fill the stomach. Then, the government herself played role to destroy these schools by ignoring them, by implementing worst policies without taking the concerns of all the stake-holders. For example, appointing school staff for election duty, forcing them to participate to ensure accurate results of census – even then people don’t trust the results. Even the polio campaigns are not possible without teachers’ presence. Furthermore, there are no action plans and upgrading plans. Teachers are always thrashed for bad result- I still remember – few years back, one notoriously famous CM ordered that if classes will perform low, the teachers must be ready to face the music. How ridiculous! Isn’t it? Teachers are the class that can easily be insulted without any fear of retaliation.

Governments never show any concern otherwise things could have been in better situation. I never heard of any refresher courses for teachers. I never heard of sending school teachers to attend conferences in foreign countries. Teachers are always put under-pressure this way or that. There are consequences for bad results but no incentives for good performance. They are hand-cuffed, tortured-both physically and mentally. They are an easy prey for all to be accused. Is not it a paradox?

A private school for those who can afford expensive education in Pakistan’s highly class-based education system.–File photo

With public schools, there is even a bigger predicament and that is the appointment system. Did you ever hear that any CSS passing candidate had expressed his will to join some school as a teacher? Nay! It would be dooms day. In my observation and experience, those who couldn’t do anything in their educational career, they find it easy to be teachers as they know nobody can question their claim. Our society is replenished with such quack teachers. But no one has intention to uproot them. There are still good teachers around but it depends on your luck if you could find one or not.

Colleges, yes a bit better place to talk about nonetheless needed much to be cured. Facilities are, again let me say, a bit better but not satisfactory at all. Yes, teachers are of a better stature. There is a better system that is followed to appoint college teachers. They have better pay scales. But to their bad luck, they don’t have opportunities to update themselves.

Now comes the Madrasas. These are quite traditional ones. They lack whatever is needed. They are overwhelmed with religious dogmatic milieu. They claim to have a common syllabus but that doesn’t go that straight. The syllabus is decided as per the sectarian teachings and demands. Yes, teachers play pivotal role here. I have found many good teachers here who, individually, work harder for the betterment of their disciples. But, not to be surprised if I tell you, this is the only silver lining in the darkness. These madrasas are not in line with the contemporary modern education or say the teaching of sciences. If these madrasas could embrace modern sciences as part of their curriculum, believe me they would be far better than the modern western style schools in the country.

Pakistani madrasas are not in line with the contemporary modern education or say the teaching of sciences.–File photo

All things considered, let me say there is much to do and we haven’t taken the first step yet. That’s the only reason I always say our society needs re-education and our education system has no exception to that. Can I have your ears to tell you a truth – a strange one- Every bookworm can’t be teacher. Let me say that I am absolutely convinced that teachers are born not taught or pampered. Once a teacher, always a teacher. One more thing, let me clear your doubt about this, and this is the key to remember, there are no good teachers or bad teachers. It is not right to say so. It t is only that, if there is a teacher or there isn’t any.

The writer is an educationist and teaches at a public sector university in Oman.

12 thoughts on “Reasons for collapse of education system in Pakistan

  1. Sir, you have presented the ture picture of our education system. And I agree , ” there is much to do”.

  2. Thema education and ITS system is very importent and must be discuss at every Platform.
    Goodjob and
    Please contineu.

  3. A true picture of reality. Now suggest some solutions to better the situation. Also, write on some other social issues.

  4. The writer has explained it as well.
    I want to discuss some other aspects of the education sector with the writer if I can get any sort of contact.

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