No home-grown education system
|Nov 10: Some commentators contend that the present education system in this country
is a legacy of the British colonial rule, and that therefore it does not go well
with our nativity.
They would replace it with one that is rooted in our
own historical experience and values. They assume that there was once a system
that worked to good effect, and that it should be revived.
This assumption is
not entirely valid.
Government-funded primary and middle schools, open to
all those who might wish to enter, did not exist during the medieval ages.
Education was provided mostly by seminaries, focusing on the scriptures and
preparing young people for careers connected with religion. Colleges surfaced in
Baghdad, Cairo, Rome, Paris, Oxford and Cambridge but these also started out as
seminaries and only later took in mathematics, humanities, and the hard
During the same period certain individuals in the Muslim world
and Europe emerged as great scholars. Most of them began their education at the
feet of a tutor, a local learned man, and then moved on to study with
better-known scholars in larger towns. Having built a solid foundation, they
continued to pursue knowledge on their own.
There is no model here
capable of providing education to the generality, say, millions, of our young
people. Public education began in our subcontinent with the advent of British
rule. The schools and colleges the British established taught subjects that
their counterparts in Great Britain did. Children in primary school learned
elementary reading and writing, simple arithmetic, a bit of geography (their own
district and province), stories of historical events and personages, and some
readings to enhance their language skills. They learned the same things at
progressively higher levels of complexity, plus English, some physical science
and a classical language as they went on to finish high school. A measure of
specialisation came as they moved on to college. Still newer subjects of study
became available (biological and earth sciences, social sciences, logic, ethics
and history of countries and peoples beyond India and Great
This colonial education system produced not only hundreds of
thousands of reasonably competent individuals in various fields of endeavour but
also a number of world-renowned scientists, philosophers, historians,
economists, poets and creative artists.
I cannot figure out what there is
in this system that might be taken out to make it worthy of a post-colonial
independent country. It is customary in certain quarters to say that Pakistan is
an ideological state, and that its ideology (Islam) should inform all aspects of
its people's individual and collective lives, including their education. That
Pakistan is an ideological state is factually incorrect, and so far as its
ruling elites are concerned the proposition is farcical even as an
Even if these aspirations were genuine, education could not
be Islamised except marginally. Conclusions of mathematical equations and the
findings of physics remain the same regardless of the teacher's or the student's
religion. They are value-free abstractions or facts of the physical universe.
Ideology may have a role in normative studies (such as ethics) and areas where
opinions and personal preferences matter.
One must in any case guard
against the danger of distortion. Take the case of opinion-makers who teach that
the history of Pakistan begins with the advent of Islam and the appearance of
Muslim rulers in the areas that now constitute this country. They want to ignore
the fact that the ancestors of many of us were once Hindu and were ruled by
Hindu princes. These historians may say that theirs is the version they like but
they must also face the fact that they are misinforming their students.It is
likely that syllabi, required qualifications of teachers, teaching methods,
textbooks, and examination systems in Pakistan are outmoded to some extent.
Needless to say, these deficiencies should be rectified. Kids in school should
learn the 'new math' and should become computer literate. Students at all levels
should be encouraged to be inquisitive.
But much more worrisome is the
fact that education in the public sector, like everything else in the public
domain, has fallen prey to corruption. Teachers in public schools want to get
paid but they do not want to work for their pay. I have talked with students
from the primary to the college and university levels and heard that their
teachers do the minimal amount of teaching in the classroom during the appointed
hours. The teachers urge their students to meet them at their homes for private
tutoring for which they charge hefty compensation. Those who cannot meet this
additional expense come out of school unimproved, and many of them simply fail
This gross shirking of duty did not happen during colonial
rule. Teachers then were very hard-working and dedicated. Corruption of public
education is a gift we have received from a reawakening of our nativity under
the aegis of national independence.Education in private institutes is not as
blemished. While none of them is making waves in the generation of new
knowledge, quite a few of them are doing a decent job of opening up minds and
preparing young people for competently managing the affairs of the world. The
more notable among them are certain schools of management such as the Institute
of Business Administration (IBA) in Karachi, the Lahore University of Management
Sciences (LUMS), and the Lahore School of Economics (LSE). The Ghulam Ishaq Khan
Institute of Engineering Sciences and Technology in NWFP is internationally
known for its high levels of attainment.
All of them are very expensive
and therefore beyond the reach of the vast majority of Pakistanis who may want a
good education. Regretfully it must be noted also that the majority of these
private universities and colleges are primarily money-making business
enterprises. As places of learning they may be slightly better than many of the
public institutes, but their performance on the whole will have to be rated as
only fair. Their students are not getting their money's worth.
cannot be treated as something standing apart from all the other departments of
life. Like the rest of them it has been monetised and made vulnerable to greed
and corruption. It seems to me that efforts to improve education will have to
come as part of a more general and inclusive reform movement aimed at cleansing
the public domain.
By Anwar Syed
The writer, professor emeritus at the University of
Massachusetts, is currently a visiting professor at the Lahore School of
Economics. firstname.lastname@example.org (Dawn)
"Reference to article --No home-grown education system by Anwar Syed in which he has remarked -That Pakistan is an ideological state is factually incorrect; Likewise he has also criticized those who contend that history of Pakistan began with advent of Islam in India As for his view that ;Pakistan is not ideological state; then how it could be made consistent with the views of Allama Iqbal who demanded a separate state for the enforcement of Shariat not for the Indian muslims rights alone ? Here i would refer to his( Iqbal) letter to M A Jinnah dated 28 May 1937 where in he writes that ; After a long and careful study of Islamic Law I have come to the conclusion that if this system of law is properly understood and applied, at last the right to subsistence is secured to everybody. But the enforcement and development of the Shariat of Islam is impossible in this country with out a free Muslim state or states This has been my honest conviction for many years and i still believe this to be the only way to solve the problem of bread for Muslims as well as to secure a peaceful India; As for the second point- i would refer to the well known sentence of MA Jinnah in which he had stated that Pakistan came into being the very day when the first Indian become Muslim., In the light of it could Q A M A Jinnah be also criticized for having such views? "
Name: Anwar jalal
City, Country: peshawar, Pakistan
"The incident is a lesson for parents or other adultsto be careful as children are at the learning stage and could imitate anything which they see. It is important that parents instead not accepting the issue, keep on insisting that it is a minor thing. Please keep in mind, you start with minors and then grow up. Expulsion was not the solution as well. Schools are to train the kids and they could have worked with the parents to resolve the issue and get help from the physcriatic. Thanks MAlik"
Name: Ijaz Malik
City, Country: USA
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Playgroup student expelled over 'unnatural' behaviour
Lahore: A private school has expelled a playgroup student, allegedly on charges
of pulling down a fellow student's shorts. However, the school administration
says the child was involved in some 'unnatural' and objectionable
S, a three-year-old child, was a student of playgroup at a
private school in Sabzazar. The school has several other branches and has a good
reputation for its academic results and extracurricular activities. Following
his expulsion, S' father, Shahid, sent a legal notice to the school in addition
to writing an application to Chief Secretary Javed Mehmood against the expulsion
of his child. The administration said that it had been forced to expel the child
from the school, adding that they had discussed the issue with S' parents.
However, the parents denied this while talking to us.
The school administration, however, maintained that it had talked to S' parents
and claims it had asked them to get him admitted in some other branch of the
school. S' father claims that the administration has refused to accommodate his
son in any other branch. The administration said that it had received several
written complaints against S from the parents of other students, adding, S had
tried to practice sodomy, without knowing what it is, with several
Shahid said that the school principal had asked him to visit
another branch of the school, adding that he went with his wife. He said that
when he arrived, he was informed by the administration that his son had been
expelled for pulling down another student's shorts. He said, "They told me that
they could no longer teach my son. I asked them why they had established a
school with playgroup in it if they could not control the children. I submitted
Rs 5,000 as admission fees and other charges. My child's future is at stake, how
can a school expel him for such a little thing? Something several children do as
a joke?" He said that the school administration had not spoken to him about any
act of sodomy in reference to his son, adding that he was positive that his son
could not even think of something like that.
Uncle: The school's founding
member, Tahir Yousaf, said that it was unimaginable, however, the child had
tried to practice sodomy. He said that the administration had called S' mother
earlier and spoken to her about the child. "The child said that he had learnt it
from his uncle (Chachu). I don't know whom he is referring to - it may be his
real uncle or someone else. We offered them psychiatric help but they did not
agree and kept insisting on getting the child admitted in the same class," he
Impossible: A child psychologist working with the Child Protection
Welfare Bureau (CPWB), Yasir Barket said that a three-year-old child could not
perform any acts of sodomy, adding that the child could only imitate the act. He
said that if a child had seen the sexual act, he could practice it without
knowing what it really was. He said that children could be exposed to obscene
scenes on television, adding that parents should be extremely careful as such
things could have adverse effects on their minds. Daily Times
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