Mamtaz Hussain Gohar
In Pakistan, not only quality education but even accesses to school have been a holly wish for the poor. Pakistan’s national census of 1995 shows that more than 40 million children of school going age are out of schools, whereas, those making it through to attend schools face corporal punishment, lack of wash and sanitation facilities and an inclined risk of potential environmental hazards, such as school environment, school building, boundary walls and road safety.
In this situation, children can face devastating experiences that can cause more harm than good to them during the quest for education.
Lack of water and sanitation facilities in schools can result in affecting children’s physical and biological fitness. Not only this but lack of toilets in school and open air urination has often exposed children to abuses.
The fact is that as a nation, we have failed to understand the true meaning of acquiring education. Since our admissions in schools, we have always been taught to get education to seek a good job, and we have never thought to seek education beyond this. Most of us are firm in this belief that those who have completed their sixteen years of education and found a job, be it through legal procedure or through bribery, are the most successful people throughout their lives.
Majority of our population lives in rural areas, but no serious steps have been taken to provide better educational facilities, quality education and trained teachers to ensure enrollment and attendance of children in schools in the rural settlements.
UNESCO report published in April 2015 has again highlighted that Pakistan is among those countries that have failed to achieve the “Education for All” targets. In this report, it is also referred to the findings of Transparency International stating that Pakistan has the most ghost schools and ghost teachers. There are 6480 ghost schools in Sindh province alone and in Balochistan, there are 5000 ghost schools, whereas, from these ghost schools, which do not have any existence, thousands of ghost teachers who are getting their salaries regularly and of included those who have died long ago. This is one of the reasons that the education department in Pakistan is the 4th the most corrupt department. This report is an eye opener for all of us. As a nation, we all are responsible for the deteriorating situation of education throughout the country. If we are not directly into the black trade, we are still part of it as silent observers.
The quality of education in Pakistan varies from class to class. The rich stratum enjoys quality education and facilitation for they pay for it whereas as for the poor it is different.
There are hundreds of private schools in every town who offer comparatively better education than that of the government schools. Government schools are known for rote memorization, favoritism, ignorance and absence of teachers. Hence there is a huge gap between children studying at a government school and a private school.
The department of education is highly respected across the world’s most progressive countries and every year they allocate adequate resources for their educational institutions and for scientific researches. On the contrary, Pakistan instead of increasing its budget for education during fiscal year 2014-15 trimmed down a significant figure from it, which is enough to show our seriousness towards the significance of education in the eyes of our decision makers. According to the Chinese wisdom, if you want to plan for a year then grow adequate crops, and if you want to plan for 100 years sow plants, and if you want to plan for the next 1000 years, then invest your child’s education. What a pity we couldn’t even plan for the next five year.
One of the aims of educating children is to protect them. However as a society with the slow incline in literacy count, we are facing tremendous social issues ranging from domestic violence to other ill deeds.
To enhance the quality and standard of education it is inevitable to appoint eligible teachers on merit, who can play a vital role in the reconstruction of the functional pitfalls within the system. Yet again the reconstruction of the ill-fated education system within the country can actually not solely be attributed to incompetent teachers and government. It is rather the parents, civil society, decision-makers and the whole society’s responsibility to play their role as aware citizens to lift the education system.