Sun. Jan 23rd, 2022

Educational Reforms in Gilgit-Baltistan

Abdullah Khan Dero

Hollywood developed a film in 1985, depicting the expected progress of the world in the next thirty years. Surprisingly, amazing developments had transpired, much beyond what had been visualized thirty years ago, when cross-analyzed in 2015. It appears that the real world is growing faster than the forecasting intellect of a human being.

Educationists believe that the education system should be coherent with the future’s needs and should be capable enough to prepare a student for a job that has not been created yet, and a technology that has not been invented yet. This future’s landscape was also portrayed through Pakistan’s ‘Vision 2030’.

In such eye-opening circumstances, an appealing initiative undertaken by the Gilgit-Baltistan Education Department, supported by the Chief Minister and Chief Secretary, is the plan of establishing ten model school.

Portrayed as ‘game changes’, these ten schools in the pipeline are aimed at ‘a paradigm shift’ in the quality of education being imparted.

No doubt, existence and expansion of a large number of private schools in Gilgit-Baltistan stands a testimony to the fact that the government has failed to inspired the public on all counts, but mostly in the sphere of education. Parents preferring expensive private schools over free, or almost free, government schools speaks volumes about the distrust.

In this perspective, latest teaching and learning material and the equipment to integrate with information and communication technology that are to be provided to the models schools, show a marked departure from the beaten roads.

But, merely allocating the resources and developing good infrastructure, or providing latest gadgets, can never change the system; equal, or more, attention needs to be provided to the development of human resources, or teachers and educational administrators.  Result driven professional monitoring and evaluation mechanism also needs to be put in place.

It also requires professional understanding on formation of model schools and continuously improving viable and weighable teaching techniques equally recognized in the progressive world. This can be achieved by acquiring services of professionals from outside the system (system-bound professionals may be less bold and motivated), and also the globally renowned organizations like MIT, IIP, UNESCO etc. and the universities those provide frameworks and curriculum orientation techniques on free and very cheap prices simply through a standalone computer and the internet facility.

The only way to make this project successful and sustainable is through legislation on educational reforms before materializing the vision and the commitment of resources. To be able to foster creative and critical minds, these schools should have complete liberties. Bonding them dogmatically, and giving gadgets in their hands has not, and will not, work.

Moreover, history is evident that educational projects emerged with huge funds to refine the existing system have failed due to the entrenched lethargic attitude of the policy makers and the academic staff and absence of a merit based evaluation system that consequently leads to wastage of public resources and trust.

We firmly believe, that this initiative is not a political gimmick, will not come to a halt with excuse of lack of funds or will not be a solvent in the present education system. Otherwise, it will be construed as a venture merely for the public’s consumption, which will be a dishonesty with the people of Gilgit-Baltistan.

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