Symphony of destruction (on Education) -Express Tribune

Spread the word

Even after 74 long years, Pakistan has miserably failed to educate its masses. Ever since its independence, the country has fallen victim to widespread terrorism, chaos and martial laws. However, despite everything it has been through, the state does not seem to be taking any steps towards improving the mindsets of its citizens.

A country that’s divided surely cannot stand. The social stratification of Pakistan faces a wide stretch from the top to the bottom. The difference of social layers in the present strata of Pakistan are baffling and astounding. The rich keep getting richer and the poor keep getting poorer. This bifurcation is further fueled by the flawed policies of the present government that has been acting as marionettes at the hands of the powerful organisations. The problem isn’t ‘elected’ representatives, the problem are the people who blindly follow these politicians.

It has already been established that countries that prioritised their education systems have prospered. Examples being China, Japan, Singapore and various Nordic region countries. The effect of education is long term. It takes a complete generational rotation for change to be evident. Currently, Pakistan has not even thought of, let alone implement, any such plans which might propose widespread education.

The country has not produced a single Stephen Hawking or Albert Einstein ever since it has come into existence and let us not dare talk about any Muslim Pakistani Nobel laureate. Instead of emphasising upon the importance of education, the current PM has perpetually been obsessed with seeking revenge against his old foes, the same worn-out rhetoric that he used and abused to come into power. Ironically though, the PM has introduced the ideologically motivated Single National Curriculum (SNC), a scheme which will do more harm than good. The SNC is bound to produce more zealots and conditionalised extremists.

The SNC is not what is needed at the moment. Instead, the country is in dire need of a balanced, vast curriculum consisting of science, mathematics and humanities subjects. It should be the duty of education to help students think, analyse and develop their cognitive skills. Not to produce hordes of radical extremists who would emulate incidents like the Sialkot lynching.

An individual is judged by the kind of questions he asks. In the present setting, questioning is deterred and conditioning is encouraged. The entire education system of Pakistan requires rehauling and reforming in order to produce minds which will help transform the country for the better. But when the entire system is based upon lies and where halls of justice reflect the colours of money, can progress ever take place? It is alarming to note that young, bright and educated minds of the country are emigrating at an alarming pace to pursue education in other countries due to the lack of quality of education locally.

Countries around the world encourage students to pursue higher education and have the machinery in place to do so. Whereas in Pakistan, despite billions of rupees being allotted as budget for education, the single most widespread rhetoric adopted by politicians is that there is a ‘lack of funds.’ Let’s not look at their lavish houses and designer suits to deduce where the money went. It makes absolute sense though, if the masses are educated, these politicians will lose their place in society and will be held accountable for their acts. Where a skill-deficient man’s livelihood is based upon duping his own people, can he afford raising awareness amongst the masses? Not in a million years.

Expeditious change is required to halt the countdown towards extinction. The only way to rectify the present carnage, extremism and radicalisation is to introduce and encourage quality education for all. Let’s stop believing unconstitutional lies because currently, in freedom we believe, in greed we trust and in ignorance we might just die.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 29th, 2021.