Elementary education in Pakistan
June 24, 2008: Since the announcement of the federal and provincial budgets very useful
debates have taken place in the National Assembly as well as the four Provincial
Assemblies. Whereas the political leadership of Pakistan, the financial
economic, industrial and agricultural experts have dwelt largely upon their
respective sectors of concern the media has focused on the basic issue whether
or not the budget 2008-09 is genuinely peoples friendly or the age old status
quo of jugglery with figures continuous to remain the order of the day.
feudal system remains untouched and no revolutionary changes have been even
initiated according to many economists, of which rare assets Pakistan is
unfortunately suffering from acute shortage, the man in the street and the
housewife in the kitchen are temporarily made to feel happy through serving old
wine in new bottles as the term goes. The credit goes to the majesty of the
financial terminology used by the budget makers which has, in effect, very
little to do with genuine relief to the deprived down trodden over 70 percent
population of Pakistan.
Considering the large number of seminars held by
various institutions in different capitals of the province as well as Islamabad,
I have not observed a single study, world shops or intellectual concern to
discover the linchpin of our present tragic situation even after 60 years of
independence. More than dozen countries in our region in South and South East
Asia as well as in the North and West of Pakistan have overtaken Pakistan in
many fields but the decisively in the education sector.
No wonder, therefore,
that the city of Lahore which is heart of Pakistan, hosted a number of seminars
during the past fortnight, focusing on high education, the Pakistan National
Forum, the government College Lahore University, LUMS, the University of the
Punjab and particularly the Department of Communication and last but not the
least the South Asia free media association took a leading part in highlighting
that any accumulation of the human capital in any free country was not possible
Mujeeb-ur-Rehman Shami echoed the heart beat of millions
of Pakistanis when he declared at a seminar on elementary education organized by
The Pakistan National Forum in collaboration with Beacon House School System,
The Avicenna Education Movement and SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry
through courtesy of Iftikhar Ali Malik that Pakistan needed a movement on the
lines of the ongoing lawyers movements to blaze the torch of knowledge without
which Pakistan could not get out of its present quagmire. Similar, sentiments
were expressed by former Provincial Law Minister Rana Ijaz Ahmad Khan renowned
column writer Hassan Nisar, educationalists and intellectual Hamayun Ehsan,
particularly Mr. Jan-e-Alam Khan President Punjab Teachers Union, Dr. Allah
Buksh Malik who was the keynote speaker while explaining the background of our
various ills and short falls pointed his finger at the lack of political will
which needed a fresh resolve to achieve the desire goal.
Quaid-e-Azam's world of advice "character, courage, industry and perseverance
are four pillars on which the whole super structure of human life can be built".
Dr Aisha Ghaus Paisha Director Research Institute of Public Policy at Beacon
House National University, while summing up the recommendations of the seminar
paid glowing tributes to Mr. Oriya Maqbool Jan Abbasi who was more of a
visionary and an intellectual than any outstanding Government official.
Holy Prophet of Islam had directed the Muslim Ummah to undertake a journey to
the end of the world, which was believed to be China at that time, to acquire
knowledge in all its dimensions. How unfortunate that Ummah had never paid any
head to that call of the Holy Prophet (may peace be upon him). It is said that
some politicians observed in the presence of American President Abraham Lincoln
that knowledge was very expensive in USA. Lincoln taunted the politician with
the counter question "if knowledge is expensive, the only cheaper alternative is
ignorance are you advocating that the American nation should adopt ignorance as
a cheep remedy".
Having said that it goes to the credit of the present
coalition government to initiate necessary guidelines at different levels of
education. As a case study Punjab leads in its allocation to higher education
(Rs. 9,100,000 million), school education (Rs. 16,453,000 million), special
education (Rs. 1,825,000 million) literacy and non Formal Basic Education (Rs.
1,250,000 million). A special awareness campaign for promotion of literacy and
establishment of Adult Literacy Centers and Non Formal Basic Education Schools
in jails, factories and brick kilns is the brain child of Mian Shahbaz Sharif
during his previous stint.
By Ikramullah, E-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org (The Nation)
"the system should be changed so we can develope our countary"