Education: a double-edged sword

Muhammad Ali

Education is viewed as one of the effective ways to respond to the challenge of corruption in a society. However, at times education is used to perpetuate the status-quo and the prevailed malpractices of society. Hence, education can be seen as a double-edged sword.

 A conscious effort is required to transform any education system that can positively impact the society. It is evident that many countries have overcome the challenges of corruption through education by setting higher professional and ethical standards in their education system.

MALIIt is observed that most of the parents in Gilgit Baltistan have strong desire to educate their children despite their financial challenges. They expect from the schools that they would provide quality learning opportunities to their children to develop them academically and ethically. And historically many individuals have transformed their lives by studying in some of government schools in GB.

However, unfortunately the education department of GB has been much highlighted in national and local media because of irregularities in teacher induction.  Different investigations have proven the illegal appointments of teachers and hundreds of teachers were disqualified.

 Ironically, instead of realizing the gravity of the issue and its far-reaching negative impact on lives of the new generation, some of the political figures have been trying to justify the illegal appointments of teachers in different ways. Such attitude of our political leaders towards education is really pathetic and devastating.

The illegal appointment of teachers cannot be justified on the name of providing employment to people or on other grounds. It is the responsibility of any government to provide employment to its public but it should be according to some criteria and rules. If a person cannot be appointed   as doctor, engineer, or lawyer without the required qualification and skills then how anybody can be inducted to teach the future generation.

It needs to be comprehended that teachers’ role is pivotal in education. They influence, positively or negatively, students by their continuous interaction with them in the classroom. Therefore, today, in many developed and developing countries teacher’s appointment is taken a serious matter. Before appointing teachers different areas are kept in account such as their professional competency, teaching capacity, ethical tendency etc.

MALIWe must learn from Sindh that how political or illegal teacher appointment deteriorate the education system. Politics-based/illegal appointment of teachers affects schools in several ways. First, such teachers usually lack basic content knowledge and teaching skills that impacts negatively the students’ academic performance. Secondly, the politics-based appointed teachers do not take much interest in teaching rather they work for the political interest of their patrons. In this situation the head teacher/education officer become helpless before the teachers and the sense of accountably diminishes in schools.  Furthermore, such practices discourage the devoted and committed teachers. Finally, if students know that a teacher is appointed illegally then they do not take their teacher serious and teaching learning becomes a non-serious activity. As a result the education system gradually becomes dysfunctional.

 When the GB legislative assembly was empowered the people of area were pleased and anticipated that many of their issues including education would be resolved. It was expected from the legislative assembly members that they would provide a clear policy to improve the education system on priority basis. However, no such move has been observed from the assembly that could show the real concern of our representatives to the cause of education.

It is evident that corruption is a big challenge in our society. If we are committed to respond to this challenge then the role of education cannot be overlooked. We have to clean our education system from any corruption by setting a high professional and ethical standard. A zero level of tolerance needs to be shown to any kind of corruption and irregularities in education by introducing an effective monitoring and evaluation system.

 The people of GB need to raise their voice against any kind of malpractice in education in order to save our future generations. The media and civil society must continue to highlight the issue and resist any move against education. Education needs to be seen as a matter of life and death , otherwise the future of the new generation will be at stake.

The writer is an educator. He can be reached at muhammad.ali075@yahoo.com

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