Education is not our priority.


 

Post taken from Brother Sami Analyst`s blog

United Nations urges its members to spend atleast 4% of Budget on education.
Constitution of Pakistan (25A) declares that there should be free access to Schools for children aging 5 to 16 years.

Despite the United Nations recommendations and constitutional provision of free schooling to Children, 2.5 crore children are reported to out of schools. It is alarming indicator for a country which is well-entrenched in snare of extremism, ignorance and lawlessness.A country that needs educational emergency to confront the spate of extremism allocates 2.2% of education. A good amount of allocated goes to corruption and what remains to support the educational system is deadly scarce.
Low budgeting for education is one of key problem but it is not the just one reason. Pakistan has four education system that work in their own sphere and capacity.

First are Government Schools that provide free but poor quality education to children.Second are private schools that work in the areas where there are no Government schools.Their quality of education is no more better than Government schools. Third are Madrassahs that mainly provide religious education to children. Not being equipped with moderation education and facilities, madrassahs have become nightmare in relation with spread of extremism in Pakistan.On fourth, there is elite private school system which harbors only rich class of society. It has all the facilities to support children to become leaders of the society. Therefore, society is divided on the lines of educational and academic bringing leading to class based society having masters and slaves.

Higher level education is also class based. There are government universities catering the desires of inspiring poor students and others are private universities sufficing the wishes of elite class.
How can we dream of unity, faith and discipline when right to free education is specified only for those whose money deserve.


The write up posted above sums up the education crisis Pakistan has been facing since decades. Each year, peanuts are allocated for education in a country where the education system imploded decades ago. There is absolutely no infrastructure for education in the country. You cannot count the goblin like private schools and universities in the infrastructure since they only strengthen the status quo. The education given out by the private sector is exclusively for those who can afford, therefore for poor- sending children to the private schools is a luxury they cannot even dream of.

Hence a handful of private institutions, teaching only the upper middle and elite class children who account for only a minority fraction of the total population, cannot be considered as a part of the national infrastructure for education.

Pakistan today faces an education crisis of unprecedented proportions.

  • There are 25 million boys and girls out of school—that’s nearly half of all children in the country.
  • Of those children who do go to school, the vast majority receive an education of poor quality.
  • 48% of government schools are in a dangerous or dilapidated condition and lack basic facilities such as furniture, bathrooms, boundary walls, electricity and running water.
  • On any given day, 18% of teachers are absent from the classroom.
  • Corporal punishment is widespread and remains unchecked.
  • Budget allocations for education are insufficient and funds that are available are not spent effectively.Taken from Alif Ailan – Pakistan`s education crisis

Capture

Outlay of the budget for 2015-16 fiscal year was Rs 4451.3 billion and the total amount allocated for education was Rs 75580 million, this is around 1.69% of the total budget. For the year 2014-16 this figure was around 1.49%. We can expect that the government will honor the millennium development goals and subsequently increase the allocation for education in the upcoming budget, but what do these numbers really mean? It seems that the problem lies not in the allocation of budget instead the root of problem lies in how the funds are used.

Corruption has hollowed out the country from within, it has gripped the nation like an octopus refusing to let its grip loose. As a result, every institution within the country has fallen pray to corruption and corrupt individuals who only seek personal benefit and this has been going on for such a long period that the general population doesn`t even mind corruption. A culture of corruption now exists within the country and the worst thing is that no one finds this disturbing.

The same disease has rendered the education system totally useless. You can see for yourself in the above excerpt taken from the original budget document that the government actually released more funds for the education sector than it had allocated, but the released funds went into the black hole of corruption. Why? Because this happens every year, the leaders make sky high promises and appear in ground breaking ceremonies for new schools, colleges and universities but these projects never see completion. More and more public schools close down each year, those which do not close down get illegally occupied by local land lords. If even half of the funds were being honestly used for the development of infrastructure then we might have seen at least some improvement in the standard of education being given out. Instead of improvement, there is only decadence. Instead of progress, there is only decline. A society which has such high levels of illiteracy is by all means unstable and the worst thing is that no body is bothered about this.

The heat maps shown below are taken from Alif Ailaan.

Map-1

This map shows the percentage of out of school children between 5-16 years of age. Sindh and Baluchistan have at least 40-50% children out of school, this is almost half of Pakistan. Karachi has less than 30% children out of school, this is not a minor statistic. Karachi is the economic hub of Pakistan with a population of over 20 million. If in a city of over 20 million, half of the children don`t even go to school then what will they grow up to be? Of course they`ll be criminalized and radicalized.

Lower Punjab follows the same trend of over 40% children without education, upper Punjab has slightly better stats because this is where the bulk of votes come from. Politicians throw peanuts to keep the people satisfied. Upper Punjab and parts of KPK have almost 30% children out of school. The term out of school means that these children, will grow up to be totally illiterate. Generally drawing up conclusions from the above chart means that around 30% of the children, who are the future of Pakistan, the so called youth! Driving factor! Will totally be illiterate. Take a moment for this to sink in!

Map-2

The situation for girls is worse. There are more girls who never go to school as compared to boys. This is a direct result of decades of illiteracy and social conditioning. Looking at the future in light of the above heat map, is not very uplifting because the key factor for the development and progress of any society or nation is the literacy of women. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) stressed upon it and so educating girls is not just a social duty but also a religious duty/obligation. Quaid e Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah also stressed upon this.

I have always maintained that no nation can ever be worthy of its existence that cannot take its women along with the men. No struggle can ever succeed without women participating side by side with men. There are two powers in the world; one is the sword and the other is the pen. There is a great competition and rivalry between the two. There is a third power stronger than both, that of the women. (Speech at Islamia College for women March 25, 1940.)

Map-8

This map shows the percentage of children attending private schools. Sindh, Baluchistan, lower KPK and lower Punjab have less than 20% children who attend private schools. Karachi and some parts of upper Punjab and KPK have around 30-40% children who attend private schools. Going back to what brother Sami pointed out, this has created multiple streams of education in the country.

  • Government run public schools.
  • Madrasahs.
  • Low fee private schools.
  • High fee private schools.

How can we expect the youth to grow up and lead Pakistan towards prosperity when we aren`t even teaching them and giving them the intellectual tools and capacity to occupy leading role? Government run public schools do not impart any quality education at all, you can look at the clips below and see for yourself the level of education being imparted. The madrasahs  impart outdated and inefficient education, another factor comes into play here. Most(not all) madrassahs are funded by sectarian organizations which receive funding from gulf states and so these madrassahs are in effect proxies of the wealthy gulf states. This is not an assumption, whether it be Afghan Jihad(against Russia with US as an ally), American invasion of Afghanistan(US as the enemy) or the CIA-RAW backed insurgency, the madrassahs have always provided man power. The low and high end private schools on the other end of the spectrum impart education which is divided into Matriculation and  O/A level streams.

Does it make any sense? No. We are creating 4 different classes or mindsets in this manner. Students of government schools cannot even imagine what social mobility is, they were born in the lowest strata of the society and will die in it. Students of madrassahs have a totally radicalized and backward world view. For the the prime enemy is America/Israel and women are to be subjugated at any cost. Students of private schools have either inferiority or superiority complex because of different streams of education, the are conditioned to hear and obey and never question the many wrongs they see happening around them.

As you sow, so shall you reap! An age old saying which is yet to be proven wrong, specially in the case of Pakistan. We have sown and continue to sow the seeds of disunity, status quo and inequality with our own hands, so how can we even think of a future where Pakistani youth will take the country towards prosperity? Won`t the children of today, grow up to fight each other based on what they were taught?

All of the nations which have progressed had one rule in common. They had a uniform and effectively functioning education sector which produced individuals who synchronized together to lead their nations. Pakistan has never had this rule, we have never had a uniform and effective education system, till the time we don`t develop any such system we cannot hope to prosper. This might sound depressing but this is the dark reality.

Instead, each year the Pakistani nation collectively takes several steps back into darkness. As the cost of living rises and people are forced to make difficult choices, education is our last priority. This is the reason why the people of Pakistan have a general tendency to lean towards extremism. This is not rocket science, the rule is simple. If you educate people, you make them functional and if you don`t, then you radicalize them. Of course there are always a few educated crack pots who are extremists, but generally an uneducated mind is much easier to brainwash than an educated one.

This article has only focused upon primary and secondary education, higher education is an altogether different topic. There is not a single university of Pakistan in the top 500 universities of the world, more over a recent survey by a Brtish agency ranked Pakistan as the worst country out of 50 for higher education. This however doesn`t mean that Pakistani students not competent intelectually, no. As a matter of fact Pakistani students frequently stand out in SAT, O/A level and other internationally acclaimed examinations and certifications. The problem, once again lies in the system which is inherently flawed.

This whole argument begs one question! Are we as a nation, serious in educating our youth? Not just the elite youth, but the middle class and lower class youth as well. If yes, then what have we done and what is our plan? If no, well then in the words of Gen(R) Pervaiz Musharraf,

“Pakistan ka Allah Hafiz.”

 

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