The mushrooming business of education
Aug 27: Driving
down the many roads in Karachi - some broken, some yet to be broken - it is easy
to spot the countless schools that have opened up in small, boxy houses. The
giant boards that flank the front wall of these 'academic' institutions profess
that the schools are English medium, registered and recognised by the
government, and offer both the matriculation and 'O' Level systems of education,
the latter becoming more popular by the year.
They claim to have the best
teachers in town, state-of-the-art computer labs and syllabuses that will shape
any student into tomorrow's intellectual. In short, they profess to be the best
seat of learning a parent can imagine for his/her child.
is similar for all schools; only the script differs. And given the huge number
of schools popping up right, left and centre, one cannot be blamed for assuming
that the literacy level in Karachi must be quite high.
this is not the case. Illiteracy is still very much rampant in
and according to the website of the Sindh education department, the illiteracy
rate is hovering around 37 and 35 per cent in kids who are 15 years and above
and 10 years and above respectively. Of course, there is always the likelihood
that the figures could be much higher since the given source is a government
Even if we thank God for small blessings – one being that
Karachi can still boast of a better literacy rate than many other cities – the
glass still looks half empty. For instance, look at the performance of most
private schools. That the academic institutions have become commercialised has
become a known, and even an accepted fact. But what's more deplorable is the
fact that the more this "business" becomes commercialised, the further the
standard of education drops.
Sub-standard teaching, along with an
ill-planned syllabus, has given rise to tuition centres around the city. It is,
of course, a different debate that the people who run these tuition centres are
the same people who teach in schools. And not surprisingly, the quality of
teaching is 100 per cent better in the tuition centres. Elite private schools
aside – where parents are at least satisfied with the quality of education
despite the burning holes in their pockets – most parents who enrol their kids
in private schools are left wondering about their kids' future.
remember one of my teachers used to say that it's easy to get a degree; it is
far more difficult to get a quality education. With a little variation, this
certainly seems to hold true for kids in primary schools as well. -Sa'adia Reza (Dawn)