A STUDY conducted by the Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE) indicates that a lot of time and resources of Pakistanis are wasted due to manual systems in most government offices. This results in bad governance and lack of investment in the country since the manual system is tedious and it has several bureaucratic hurdles.
We are a nation whose offices still require attested copy of our CNICs for a meagre task, while the world is connected through latest modes of communication with other parts of the globe.
In addition, the study, the ‘Sludge Series’, reveals that most government offices force people for second and third visit to attain a trivial no-objection certificate (NOC) for opening a small pharmacy. This results in crowded offices and also causes maladministration of the day-to-day official work. The non-availability of the office-bearers adds to the people’s misery further.
Besides, such an environment discourages investment by lowering productivity, and, therefore, affects the national gross domestic product (GDP) rather negatively. Personal observation suggests that an application for an electricity connection is processed in no less than three months, which compels the people to use unfair means to get electricity quickly, and this culture expands from one community to another.
Besides, the manual documentation processes at public universities is a nightmare for the students. An average application for a proforma at the semester cell cannot be guaranteed before a month or so despite frequent visits by the applicants. It has been witnessed that many applicants miss deadlines for foreign scholarships owing to delay on the part of semester cells at public-sector universities.
Let us be realistic and work together towards digitalisation of systems across the board. It will not only lessen the burden on government offices, but will also make them efficient and curb maladministration.
We can learn lessons from the digitalisation of the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) which made all the data accessible to the people in an organised manner amid the Covid pandemic. The government alone cannot make this dream come true if the people themselves do not make their data available through digital means at the grassroots level. This will help invite investors and boost our e-commerce solutions.
ADMISSION POLICY: The NED University granted admissions earlier this year on the basis of matric/O level results instead of intermediate results. As a result, my son had to take admission on self-financing basis which cost me a hefty amount. If the university had considered intermediate results, which were announced just after the completion of the admission process, there was a fair chance that my son would have obtained the admission on merit. I request all concerned to reinstate the old admission policy.
Saeed Akhtar Gondal
HECTIC EXAMS: The Central Superior Services (CSS) exam is a hard nut to crack for many. It gets tougher when the aspirants have to attempt two papers each day without any gap. They are unable to sleep properly, which leads to physical and psychological stress, and affects their performance. There should be at least one-day gap between every two papers so that the candidates may prepare and perform well. I hope the relevant authorities would take note of the matter.
VERDICT IN LIMBO: The Supreme Court has given a verdict (CA-359/2020) wherein a question of law was settled, maintaining that the special zone quota was non-violative of Article 27 of the Constitution. Regrettably, officials concerned are delaying its implementation without any cause. It has been six months and I have exhausted all my means.
Name withheld on request
OUTDATED SYLLABUS: It is quite unfortunate that outdated lessons, like ‘Miracle of Radio’ and ‘Air Travel’,
which refer to colour television as the ‘upcoming innovation’ and talk about hot air balloons and gliders, are still part of school syllabus. The teaching and learning methodologies have changed globally and we are still stuck with a syllabus as dated as that.
We need to modify the education system to have some hope of making progress.
Sajjad Hussain Cheehani
Published in Dawn, November 27th, 2021