Outlines of the Education Policy for the New Government of Pakistan - By: Munir M Hasan, PhD

Education is the only way to convert the mob into a civilized nation. However and unfortunately, this aspect has never been understood and is completely neglected in Pakistan since its inception. In fact the policy makers did not have any idea what an education policy is to be implemented to educate the nation. If they were not wise enough to understand it by themselves, they could easily get guidance by looking at the civilized nations of the world.

The general education is divided in the following two major categories:

School education, and

University education

Some people divide it in three categories as primary, secondary and tertiary education. In fact, the division of primary and secondary is for the administrative purposes only and these two can be combined in the category of school education. This school education is for the students of age between 5 and 18 years, and university education is meant for the students of age 18 years and above. There is no higher age limit for this category.

The main purpose of school education is the character building of the young boys and girls, and making them as civilized citizens. This is the age when a student, whatever he learns in this age, adopts it sincerely, which becomes his secondary nature and habit for the rest of his life. So, all the civilized nations give utmost importance to this category of education. In this age the students, apart from formal education, are also taught and practiced social and civic values. Just to speak of a few, they are taught to be honest and speak the truth always. This is so obvious and many times it is observed that in the civilized countries these young students, mainly from immigrated family background, are seen even censuring their parents whenever they see their parents doing against their school teachings. Just to quote a specific example, if any time a son picks up a telephone call meant for his parents, and if the parents after knowing who had called and not willing to speak to him, tells his son to tell the caller that he is not at home, the son immediately reacts and says that you are lying because you are at home. They also learn how to behave with others and respect elders. In civic learning they are taught how to cross the road, they are taught what various instructions written on the road sides mean and how to follow them. The list of such teachings is quite long. Any literate person cannot be appointed a school teacher and only the trained teachers are appointed in schools for this purpose.

Under this policy it is very important that the students of the same age group sit together in the class. So, every year the students enter the next class group whether they pass all the academic examinations or not, and at the age of 18 (twelve years of education) they must leave the school because they have passed the age group of this type of education and training. Formal education is not forced during this age. If after the age of 18 years a student wants to make up his academic deficiency, there are separate adult schools for them. So, the young students may be deficient in formal education, but when they leave the school at the age of 18, most of them are honest and good citizens obeying and respecting the laws of the land and have learnt how to live and behave in a civilized society.

This category of education is compulsory for all the students between the age of 5 and 18 years and it is the responsibility of the government to make necessary arrangements to educate ALL the young children. Also, it is made free for all the students so that there is no excuse for the parents not to send their children to school because they have no money to pay the fees. In fact, the parents of all these young children, starting from the dates of births of their children, are additionally paid a monthly stipend depending on the income of the parents, to take care of health and upbringing of these children.

There are some private schools as well which charge fees, but even these schools have to follow the policy of the government in the training and character building of the young ones, and admission to these schools is only optional. Whenever the literacy rate of a country is counted, it is this school education which determines the literacy rate, and not the university education. Unfortunately, this aspect of character building during school education is completely neglected in Pakistan.

The purpose of university education, including professional education, is quite different from the previous category. First of all it is not a privilege of every student and is meant only for those who have shown academic excellence in their school education. So, the educational environment in the universities is only academic and there are no political pressures on the teachers of the universities to favour a student. Secondly, the education of this category is not free. All the university students have to pay fees. If a parent of a talented student with low income cannot afford to pay the university fees, for them there are loan schemes for those students who pay the loans back when they get employment after completing their education. So, the university education, although quite expensive, is neither a burden on the government nor on the parents of the students.

The primary job of a university is to carry out research. The universities earn good names only on the basis of number of research paper they publish and on the quality of research they carry out. Most of the research projects are sponsored by the interested parties and so, even these research projects are not a burden on the universities. However, the government, on its own, may help the universities in some of their specific projects. Those institutions which do not carry out research are considered to be the institutions of “continuing education” and may be called with different names, not the universities.

The working of a university is also not properly understood in Pakistan and a lot of money has been and is being fed into this category of education unnecessarily at the cost of compulsory school education.

A lot can be said about the university education. However, I am keeping it for the next time.

Posted on Aug 25, 18 | 4:43 am