The main aim of the first educational conference held in the year 1974 was to inculcate practical knowledge among posterity. The education system of Pakistan was idealized to develop national character, integrity, and a spirit of selfless service for the prosperity of Pakistan.
However, the contemporary literacy level and the presence of multiple education systems present an opposite picture. It has given rise to various problems in the education system of Pakistan.
Language Issues in Education
Education is imparted not only in English but also in regional languages. Resultantly, students are unable to compete with international students. Furthermore, the Public sector, Private sector, and Madrassahs are the three major education systems with their own curricula. This divergence is leading to more problems and issues in the education system. In addition, most of the curriculum is outdated. This article will further provide an overview of the prevailing problems in the education system of Pakistan.
As Pakistan was once a British colony, a strong influence of the English language prevails across the country. Resultantly, English has been chosen as the medium of instruction to facilitate young learners in getting access to quality education. Furthermore, aspirants of knowledge would be able to compete with the international students if they are good at English. Furthermore, English is majorly used for official correspondence. The strong dominance of the English language in the world of academia and industry reduces opportunities for young learners coming from rural areas. The main reason is their weak English language proficiency due to which they are unable to perform well in job exams and interviews. It is because of the medium of instruction and the quality of education being provided in their provincial languages.
Although schools and colleges are geographically present in the rural areas of Pakistan; yet, these schools do not have the basic facilities such as classrooms, lights, and furniture. Conversely, these schools have been taken over by the feudal lords of that particular region. The school lands are used as a habitable zone for their livestock. Many reports and footage have provided evidence after witnessing goats, cows, and buffaloes grazing on the school grounds of rural areas. Therefore, feudal dominance also remains a major impediment and issue deteriorating the education system of Pakistan.
The prevailing education system of Pakistan can be divided into three major categories:
The Cambridge System
The private sector follows the principles established by foreign universities such as Cambridge. Parents sending their children to private institutes have to abide by the rigorous fee structure. The annual payments are quite high compared to public sector institutes. English remains the sole medium of instruction within these institutes. The negative side of this strict adherence to English is that students get quite weak in their communication skills in Urdu.
Local Education System
The public sector institutes provide education at a subsidized rate set by the federal and provincial governments of Pakistan. Although, the fee structure is ideal for middle-class families. However, most of the books consisted of content taken from internationally recognized books by foreign authors. When random excerpts are taken from such books, the resultant publication is an amalgam of compositions by various authors. This combination makes the content difficult for comprehension not just for students but also for the academic. As the content is not revisited to bring about pertinent changes, most of the curricula remain outdated. The students from the public sector institutes are also weak in terms of their English language proficiency.
The Madrassas Education System
The Madrassas education system primarily concentrates on developing a profound understanding of the Arabic language. This Arabic is not the one that is generally spoken for interaction by the people of gulf states. Conversely, learners are prepared to become prospective religious preachers and scholars with a comprehensive knowledge of the Holy Book so that religious sermon can be delivered with Quranic references and verses. The intent behind sharing this classification of the Pakistani Education System is to highlight the lack of uniformity in the course curricula that are offered in these education systems.
The education system of Pakistan always becomes the victim of the least percentage of the annual budget that is also meant for timely releasing the salaries for employees. Moving onwards, technical and vocational education is always condoned by our governments. Resultantly, students lack the essential skills to offer their services to the general masses.
The outcome of all these cuts in the budget is the lack of opportunities for young researchers to collaborate with the research scholars of renowned universities of the world. There are a limited number of scholarships announced for Pakistani nationals to complete their masters and Ph.D. from international universities. Moving onwards, many aspirants are eager to move ahead and specialize in the subject of interest. But they are unable to fulfill their dreams because it is hard for them to make the ends meet. Resultantly, they end up living hand-to-mouth passing every day with any cheap labor they could get in different markets.
Political Appointments of Faculty
Nepotism prevails in abundance for the selection of teachers in the education system of Pakistan. This is particularly in schools and colleges under the administration of the government. The outcome of such political appointments is that the deserving teachers are unable to get the jobs of their interest and some incompetent individual take that position putting the future of several talented minds at the stake.
The teenage years are a critical period where young learners are able to realize their inner potential under the guidance of their teachers. Therefore, a wise teacher will play the role of a counselor helping students to make the right choice regarding their career. An incompetent teacher appointed through political affiliation and connection would focus more on getting a salary by the end of every month than teaching some new concepts to learners in each class.
Although, the highlighted problems can not be eradicated immediately. The formation of a new academic and language policy is essential. The use of a learner’s regional language alongside English and Urdu would help the young minds in understanding the new concepts. The ministry of education ought to focus on developing a uniform curriculum instead of a uniform education system so that all the learners are aware of the basic concepts to select the subjects of their interest.
The government of Pakistan needs to raise the budget for education so that teachers, as well as students, are able to collaborate with international researchers. Consequently, Pakistani students would be able to present their unique ideas and projects at international forums with adequate funding and grants. A strict government operation is mandatory to eradicate the feudal dominance in the rural schools for the continuity of education in the rural areas. Lastly, the young population is either an asset or a liability. It is time the government establishes technical and vocational institutes for the young Pakistanis so that they are able to contribute to the country’s economy.