Much Needed National Education Emergency

Sat May 25 2024
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Sikandar Noorani

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This question merits deliberation that why our society is presenting a disorderly outlook? When it comes to the performance, most of the citizens are found complaining about the poor output of state-run government institutions.

Surprisingly, private institutions competing the government run departments, are providing better services. However, better quality services come at a price which is definitely higher than the one incurred in government departments. It is a well-established fact that most of the government facilities raised for public services are in deplorable condition. Incompetence is the only impression which comes at once in the minds of masses when someone refers to the government departments.

Good governance promised frequently in statements and speeches by the political leaders cannot be ensured without uprooting the traditional incompetence. Poor planning, bad administration, absence of supervision and lack of interest have seeped deep into the roots of state system. This unfortunate state of affairs is reflection of societal deterioration which revolves around fallen education standards and neglected character-building practices.

Nelson Mandela once said “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” On this account, we as a nation lack a lot. Disappointing downslide of society is the logical outcome of negligent approach towards education. Reduced collective focus on character building practices in our educational institutions continues to multiply the ill-effects of flawed education system. While applying critical lens on grey areas, we should not ignore the silver lining emerging on the crest.

Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif has declared education emergency in Pakistan. There is hardly any space to disagree with what PM intends to achieve on this sensitive issue. Sadly, Pakistan falls among the countries which have the highest out of school children population. According to UNICEF, Pakistan is having the second highest number of out of school children in the world which is estimated at 26.2 million. It is alarmingly abnormal and PM rightly wants to personally oversee the manifestation of national plan.

Data provided by education ministry reveals that out of 26.2 million out-of-school children, 11.73 million are in Punjab, 7.63 million in Sindh, 3.63 million in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and 3.13 million in Baluchistan province. It is also assessed by the experts that population growth, lack of effective strategies and economic deterioration are the main factors behind deprivation of more than 26 million Pakistani children from schools.

Uneducated and unskilled children are vulnerable to terrorist outfits, anarchist groups and criminal gangs. Action on education emergency plan should be ensured on war footing across the country. Such alarmingly high number further substantiate the failure of state-run school network operating under respective provincial governments. Realistic performance audit of education departments may serve as the initiating point to identify the specific grey areas. Reasons should be identified that why private schools are functioning efficiently in same areas where government schools are absolutely dysfunctional? Reasons for the failure of education department may differ in all provinces amid varying socio-political dynamics.

Notwithstanding the exact reasons of educational disaster, there should be no doubt about the collective failure and inefficiency of concerned government officials.

This apparently sweeping statement gets validation with the poor condition of government schools which lack basic facilities, training methodology, competent teaching faculty, efficient administration and attractive career progression opportunities. Disconnect between decision makers and the deprived quarters of the society is a sore point. It is irony that elite class responsible for the planning and execution of national education policy, remains meaningfully away from the state-run system.

Education, Government, Punjab, UNICEF, Prime Minister, Terrorist,

Why the kids of top government officials do not join the government schools? Unbiased answer to this question may show the right direction for future course. Obviously, planners and executors of the education policy do not trust the same very system which they design for the whole nation. As a matter of principle, use of government facilities should be made mandatory for all officials being paid from national exchequer.

This policy change, if implemented with sincerity, might serve as a springboard to improve the obnoxious governance standards. As the saying goes “The great aim of education is not knowledge but action.” PM should allocate maximum energies to transform the idea of education emergency in an actionable plan. Nation should see the practical implementation of plan on ground. Education reforms with bold revolutionary approach is one such aspect which can put the country back on the track of progress, stability and normalcy.

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