THE NEGLECTED BACKBONE

(NIMRA AKRAM, Karachi)

Pakistan has been described by scholars and professionals as an Islamic ideological state. However, the story of education here is a nightmare. The data on the Minister of Federal Education and Professional Training Pakistan speaks for itself: almost 40% of children are out of school. It is believed that youth fuels modernization and economic growth of the country. We have failed to amalgamate youngsters into the education system. In consequences, they ended up choosing labor market which in turn created multiple adverse impacts such as inequality, unemployment, population growth and discrimination.

It is shockingly unbelievable that Pakistan recently stands with the second highest number of out of the school children, according to UNICEF. For the roughly 22 million children not attending school, 11 million not achieving formal education as well as attendance averages 60%. Sindh and Balochistan signify the worst scenario. Gender comparison display boys higher number than girls at every stage of education.

Pakistan literacy rates hang at 60%, increased by 2% from 2014 and horrifically missing Global Goals of 88%. Literacy consistently lags behind: 50% of class 5 students cannot read a simple Urdu story meant for class 1 or 2. A worrisome list of other catastrophic concerns on education level and quality, corruption, infrastructure and more has been left out for the purposes of minimizing reader hopelessness. However, problems abound; desultory analysis reveals prospective and potential for simple outcomes.

Understanding System of Education
Pakistan follows predominantly two systems of education: traditional religion based education system and modern formal education system. After independence in 1947, Pakistan had adopted a Macaulay education system as well, that is also called modern education. It comprises six groups: preschool, primary, middle, high, intermediate and bachelor. Individuals have to complete all groups according to their ages respectively. Moreover, English was considered to be an educational language and main mode of communication in schools. However, Arabic is considered to be an educational language in the traditional system.

Traditional education system comprises three main categories: reading of the Holy Quran, memorization of the Holy Quran, and techniques for the recitation of the Holy Quran. The exams include Arabic language and literature, and Islamic laws. The schools are called madrassahs and students are being called fazils after graduation. It does not include secular subjects such as mathematics, science and social studies. Modern education system includes oppositely Arabic language courses.

Problems of Education
Education creates a sense of responsibility amid individuals. The reasons behind the educational problems are lack of tolerance and awareness. The lowest budget has been spent on the system of education since decades which has weakened the foundation of the quality of the system. Hence, it has failed to raise the nation as socially, economically and politically. Numerous problems have been faced such as gender discrimination, untrained teachers, language barriers, and so forth. Educational policies change with political situations which mark an adverse impact on individuals.

The great philosopher Iqbal wanted Pakistan’s education system to be based on uniformity. Different systems are working over here simultaneously as well as the curriculum is not uniformed. Nations develop their generation on the basis of vigorous training and education on social, economic and politics. The weak and directionless education system of Pakistan has not been able to guide its people on social grounds. Furthermore, it lacks cohesion that promotes a situation of deprivation among masses. And, this is the reason for cultural and political unrest in the communities.

Putting too much in one's plate
Students have been facing incredible loss of identity and stress when they are forced to learn a foreign language. English has become an educational language. They struggle massively with English because every subject is taught in it. On the other hand, Urdu is the national language which has been taught in schools and is being spoken by nationals. More than 30 languages are spoken by people over here. Hence, a lot of nationals cannot communicate in Urdu or English.

In consequence, they ended up learning languages rather than getting knowledge which creates communication gaps among people. It creates mental health problems as well. Additionally, the schools and universities have created an environment in which the students are at a great disadvantage from the first day, and that leads to the individuals leaving the schooling system.

Ways forward towards solutions
The quality of education is a huge concern in Pakistan. Extensive educational reforms are required to enhance the system; otherwise it would be completely the wastage. Private institutions should collaborate with government sectors to improve public schools, and provide quality context to students. Moreover, centralized training initiatives will be basically impossible but decentralized models must be considered. Along with, secondary and higher secondary schools are retaining students through matriculation and inter, however access is low. The quantity of students should be increased.

In case, reforms might be impossible to introduce to the public. On the other hand, officials should make a serious strategy for education at the very initial level. Training should be kept mandatory for teachers. Education must be kept under the supervision of the government. In addition, career counseling should be compulsory for every student. Without education, the socio-economic issues cannot be resolved, and oppositely it gives a boost to morale as well as builds perseverance.

Government should increase educational budget, promote primary education, subjects should be taught in the national language not in foreign language, and technical education must be provided to all the classes. Religious education should be taught with a secular education system. On the other hand, mathematics and science should be taught in traditional educational departments.

Summing up
As the education system in Pakistan is absolutely an incredible disaster, reforms are certainly required to bring unity amid individuals. Education can bring great solutions for many problems in Pakistan such as terrorism, discrimination and so forth. Muslim-majority state, mixed system of education, more than 50% of literacy rate, big socio-economic concern and political unrest can be resolved with one single improvement, and that is to provide basic quality education to individuals of this state, Pakistan.

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