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Education: eliminating disparity

October 13, 2013

THIS has reference to the letter ‘Education: eliminating disparity’ (Oct 7). The writer suggests ways ‘to make public-sector education as functional as it used to be in the 1950s and 1960s’.

I fully disagree with his proposal, given the corrupt state of affairs in the sector today.

Corruption has become deep-rooted in our country, and the education sector is bearing the brunt of it. More than 150,000 ghost schools tell upon the state of public education and cost the exchequer millions of rupees. This state of affairs has already attracted much criticism from all corners of the country.

Against this backdrop, I would suggest that all public schools be first privatised, then all private schools be brought under state scrutiny, subsidy be given by the state, enrolment be free of cost and the poor be enticed to send their progeny to schools by offering them monthly stipends.

Equally important is the fact that the state keep an eye on the progress of the schools. The solutions are simple. Teams of solemn academics and professionals can be appointed by the government in all four provinces to check the state of education in the schools.

Those professionals will be far smaller in number compared to the number of working staff in the public-sector now.

Thereby the professionals too can be traced for their corrupt activities if they do any. Moreover no one, including the academics and professionals, should be given a lifetime job. They must be sacked if found guilty.

As far as the question of owners is concerned, they must be placated. They must be taken into confidence about the scrutiny procedure and be provided with facilities which a government employee relishes.

Further, the state must not claim any share in the proceeds because it is down to state to provide free education. Then they will willingly do it. Only if fair and square policies are made and implemented expeditiously, only then will this blueprint of ‘government-cum-private schools’ be expedient. Otherwise the activity will be profligate and ‘we will be doomed’.


Mother tongue

RECENTLY the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government announced that the medium of instruction in KP schools would be English. However, the medium of instruction should be in the mother tongue -- at least at the primary level (Classes I to V).

A child understands better and learns quickly in his/her mother tongue and it does not put too much pressure on his mind by learning a second language. Research shows that children who are taught in their mother tongue perform better than the ones who are taught in a foreign language.

I would request the KP government to introduce Pushto as the medium of instruction in primary classes and teach both Urdu and English as second and third languages respectively. Finally, gradually switch to English as the medium of instruction.