Education in Pakistan: Privilege Not a Right
So where do we draw the line? How do we set the better apart from the average when it comes to educational excellence? Well a cliche'd method of doing so is judging a student by his academic achievements based on GPA's and grades. Of course this is not really a hidden practice but is applied worldwide, but the question at hand is, is that it? Is this what education has come down to? In Pakistan, these relatively superficial benchmarks are the slow death of constructive education.
An education is not a right but rather a privilege in Pakistan. A dominant lump who are fortunate enough, because of this grade greed, have turned in to herds of sheep ; explicitly residing to just licking away course books because at the end of the day as long as they are getting shiny A or a 3.8, is all that matters.
And this is exactly what helps draw a distinction between just plain education and constructive education. Educational institutes and students who educate themselves to break out of myopias and those who are caught up in the grade spiral without being concerned about any substantial outcomes of their education ,are two dimensions in the Pakistani society, the latter being the dominant one .
It seems that, students are rapidly losing out on the essence of education. The course of education is to instill in an individual abilities to comprehend situations incisively and develop sound opinions and judgement without biases. Simply said, learning and thinking beyond the realms of black and white and appreciating the shades of grey.
Most students nowadays are not ready to give up an easy "A" over a worthy "B+" in a course from which he/she'll able to learn, retain and apply more constructively.
Well enough of criticizing the poor student, now getting down to one of the big player in the education's demise in Pakistan, the state operated institutes. It's not a novelty that every year less and less is being contributed to the education sector and the aftermath of such actions can be seen in the ever deteriorating conditions of the public sector institute.
Taking up about 71% (Ministry of education statistics, 2008-09) of student enrolment, it is the only route available to the larger chunk of Pakistan to any prospects of education but this crucial role of the institutes still remains unrealized. There is no point of spelling out how and why the public sector institutes are the way they are. We are all well aware of that and hence consider them a lost cause altogether, so even imagining about constructive education would be absurd.
But what intrigues and is a major cause of concern is the remaining 29% enrolment that is taking place in the private institutes. What the heck is going on there? The same herds of sheep are witnessed there as well. It is so surprising because they claim that they have improved systems (which plainly translate in to British/American systems), better teaching methods, interactive learning environment so on and so forth.
Really? Then how come there is no visible change in the mindsets of the young, no initiative on their part and lack of critical and constructive learning? A large portion that is being educated in these supposedly "better" institutes still carrying on with the biases of what they learn at home or through media, following popularly accepted norms, seconding commonly held opinions and falling in to the ritual of conformity?.
It's obvious, when these students are sitting in the class they are doing what they have been taught to do best. Run after grades. The much talked about interactive learning is shrouded over by lack of debate, questioning and discussion. Holding a contrary point of view is death sentence.
The instructors some of them, who are not sincere to their profession make sure that they pass on to students only that what seems right to them, be it the analysis of political, religious or xyz subjects, rather than encouraging debate hence a system of tolerance is rarely incorporated. And this is when constructive education breathes its last.
Furthermore, the most sinister players in this whole massacre are the households who are active in the grass root paralysis of the constructive education. Family is an educational institute in itself. Most of the opinions that members of a family holds are passed down to the young ones who develop upon them over the years.
And because these older members had to go through the same system of education they are rarely able to infuse in their children/siblings the self sufficiency to think for themselves and clarity about a subject rather than banking on other's opinions. Most of the households in Pakistan have not be able to break out of the stereotypes about communities, political/religious beliefs as well as the mind frames about professions which they prefer not to be asked questions about and this is what the youth learns and practices until and unless he is lucky enough to learn otherwise on his own. Lastly to top it off they nurture the grade love persistently.
It is unsettling to hear about improved boards of education, new teaching methodologies and systems because nothing is really changing; only escalating confusion and noise. After all these years development remains to be slow and unsteady , a dilemma which is questioned by some, but barely taking a shift.
Standstill is what the students are facing and they are not the sole culprits but instead all social institutions are contributing to it. Handicapped thinking is victimizing the youth as the society sits and watches from the sidelines quietly perpetuating the grade and GPA loop.
What we all, individually need to understand is grades are just alphabets on paper and books are guidelines. They can take us as far but constructive learning takes us over and beyond. college www.pakpositive.com