It is a myth that only under-developed countries or developing countries harbour a feudal system. The fact is that the developed world is more feudal and dictatorial than the deceptively branded ‘Third World’.
The current education system that prevails in our country was designed and forced upon us by alien rulers. They also taught the native ‘pseudo rulers’ to ensure that the masses did not have access to the kind of education that would strengthen them to ask questions, debate, express rights and find ways to better themselves. Clearly this would be a serious threat to the local rulers.
The prevalent education system is designed to produce clerks and factory workers to work for the increased income and luxuries of the owners and masters. Consequently the total emphasis is on sciences and mathematics while logic, philosophy, literature, humanities and social sciences are regarded only secondary. Moral sciences and character building have been indiscreetly removed from the syllabus.
To add insult to injury, the subjects that are taught are based on a ‘transfer of information’ rather than imparting knowledge’. I cannot blame teachers for this as they are subjected to delivering as directed, although it is certainly possible for the pilot to alter course subtly and slightly and pursue another destination. With the pitiful salaries of teachers in our country any adventurous pursuit could very easily be futile.
Pakistan inherited a system prevalent in India and unfortunately in over six decades of our existence we turned a deliberate a blind eye towards education. The inherited system suited the feudal lords since uneducated masses form the easiest prey to deceitful election campaigns.
Today the third generation of Pakistanis is subject to the same old form of prisoner vocational preparation referred to as ‘education’. It is difficult to find ‘education in business’ but ‘business in education’ is so rife that every street corner has a ‘grammar’ school and a number of universities could lead one to conclude that every single Pakistani would have a master’s degree hanging on his or her living room wall.
The authorities are unable to see this phenomenon because it is precisely in line with the feudal requirements. There have been many a cabinet in Pakistan that either did not have an education minister or the person was not aware of what education is all about.
Terrorism from wild mountain warriors or on the city streets by urban youth is a direct result of the flawed education system that has persisted. Only a handful of parents, who had the means, were able to send their children to other countries for education; who come back to find themselves a misfit in society. Others are able to merge very easily as they belong to feudal homes and the overseas education was packaging to further their corrupt career in politics or civil service.
The results of the education system are rudely blatant to the common man, who had been suffering all along but shall now experience a different pain. It is therefore inevitable that education must transform and instead of teaching bribery and corruption in civil engineering and economics degree programme the focus must change to discussing the course. Non-accredited and shamefully pathetic ‘so-called’ university degree programmes would have to be replaced with genuine academically sound campuses.
With no hope from the authorities and with resistance rather than improved measures, it is the parents who would decide that the future of their children cannot be bright with pieces of paper called ‘degrees’.
The entire system of grades and exams would change and students would learn implementation and the use of what has been taught rather than to recall, verbatim, the pages of text books to be reproduced on examination sheets. The flight of capital, the brain drain and the definite, planned, elimination of industries has only happened because of the weak education infrastructure. Industrialists and businessmen can always find another home and wealth multiplication avenues in other countries but with every industrialist who leaves, hundreds of households are left starving.
The transformation has to be both in concept as well as in qualitative terms. Students must be taught to think creatively, to plan, to become objective, to understand goals and to develop strategies to reach their goals. The teaching has to be done meticulously along those lines and evaluation must be on the basis of a student’s ability to transform the theoretical learning into a practical form.
The concept and spirit or competition would have to be totally eliminated; there is really no need to be better than another person, the real need is to be better than what you were. There is no need to produce a better and more saleable package and product, generate more revenue and profits but the need is to innovate and develop products that fulfill more aspirations.
Educational institutions would groom and prepare students to face the most challenging of circumstances in the world rather than be able to compute profits for the owner.
The change is inevitable and the transformation of education is the only threat to the political and social corruption and to all forms of terrorism. Let us become a part of this transformation and reap greater benefits.