Education in Pakistan is the most neglected sector as the just meagre budget is allocated for it. The dilapidated buildings, shortage of staff and lack basic facilities present a grim picture which should be the eye-opener for the present PTI govt headed by the most charismatic leader Imran Khan -The prime minister of Pakistan. As a general analysis on basis of recent reports that the govt schools where polling stations were established, lacked the basic facilities of water, electricity, washrooms and furniture
Even, the buildings were old and in very dilapidated conditions posed a grave threat to the polling staff who stayed there. If we categorize the educational standards of Pakistani provinces, we’ll surprisingly reach at the point that education standards in Punjab are considered higher, followed by KPK ranked as 2nd, the Baluchistan ranked as 3rd and unfortunately, Sindh has been ranked as fourth in Pakistan as per the statistics of Aser Pakistan and other development sector institutions conducting various social surveys on education, health, poverty time to time .
This grave and abysmal situation of Education warrants the present PTI govt to focus on education making effective policies to adopt the uniform educational system throughout Pakistan as envisaged in their political manifesto. Subsequent to the 18th amendment, the Education and Health departments became the provincial subjects along with few others resulting in the decline in education and health indices whereas the poverty and illiteracy increased manifold. PTI seems to be eager to amend the Constitution so that health and education may be made Federal subjects.
Furthermore, the inefficient PPPPs successive governments have failed miserably on policy-making grounds to reform and revamp existing educational system Sindh. it failed to curb the use of unfair means in examination system and bartering of various BISEs regarding marks depriving the talented and deserving students of their right.
Such a high-level corruption has wreaked havoc with existing educational systems that prompt the Federal government to intervene and boost the provincial education standard, especially in Sindh through legislation against this social evil that has plagued the very fabric of education –the copy culture. It is termite that has weakened the roots of Education and the main reason for Substandard Education and incompetence amongst the Youth. In the connection, the Federal Education Ministry may frame a committee with equal representation from Four provinces to discuss, evaluate and frame uniform education policy so that same may be implemented in letter and spirit.
Pakistan’s educational system has remained a neglected sector in subsequent governments. None of the Governments gave priority to education sector instead gave priority to PSDP projects to gobble and loot the wealth of Taxpayers of Pakistan in the name of development. Whereas, the developed nations, such as Japan, UK, Russia, Canada and Italy have achieved their success through education and raised their Literacy rates to almost 100 %. Our literacy rate presents a grim and abysmal picture despite the passage of 71 years. We have hardly managed to cross 50% which rings the alarm bells.
The primary education has almost become obsolete and the same is the condition of secondary and higher secondary standard. Most of schools are in dilapidated condition and being run in just records as there is no such physical existence of such schools. There is great dearth of Science, Arts and commerce colleges throughout Pakistan for both boys and girls. Especially, there is a great dearth of the girl’s colleges since the female literacy rate is very low throughout Pakistan especially in Sindh, KP and Baluchistan due to societal challenges that hamper girls’ education in villages, towns and cities owing to tribal customs and Traditions.
The education of girls in rural areas is the distant dream and the poor girls get married in early ages which creates several domestic problems for them owing to these childhood marriages. Sindh government despite imposing Education Emergency in Sindh , did nothing for the education. It is just being managed by some high rank Bureaucratic Regime. The Corruption is Rampant in Education at Top Bureaucracy, Directorates and District Headquarters.
There is a dire need of Adult Education and Non-Formal basic Education to help boost the Literacy rate of Pakistan. The adult education initiative will provide an opportunity to those who could not get education owing to their weak financial strength and Poverty. Poverty is the main issue to be addressed since the dropout ratio at Middle, Secondary, College or Graduate Level is very high as compared to the Primary Level since only 50% of Enrolled Students move to Higher Classes due to enormous reasons such as unavailability of middle and high schools, Unavailability of higher education institutions and universities, Lack of support from the parents due to poverty, Lack of support from the guardians in case of death of their parents, Societal problems ,the social challenges and responsibilities .
There is a grave need of Orphan Education Policy since orphans are always left at the mercy of their guardians either maternal or Paternal. Some guardians support their guards but in many cases, some guardians stop the orphans from getting the education since they declare their inability to support their Educational Expenditure. Such guardians compel their guards to learn Technical Skills from the traditional Mechanics, Electricians, and Automobile Mechanics or forced them to work in Restaurants as waiters to earn their living to support their families.
Devising an orphan children education policy along with child protection policy may receive the welcome response from all the quarters. Similarly, such an initiative will be beneficial for the orphans to continue their education without any hurdle as mostly orphans cannot continue their education due to financial crisis . The federal government may establish residential schools through Pakistan on the lines of The Danish schools of Punjab by providing a Modern Education without any cost. The Danish Schools Model is the best one to bring out of Schoolchildren back to School and provide them with education, residence, food, washing and other domestic necessities.
Finally, If government is serious in devising an effective Policy to promote education throughout Pakistan, it must adopt Uniform Education Policy to create competitive Environments since FPSC and Provincial Public Service Commission reports suggest a major overhaul in education system to bring it at par with global education standards .
Government needs to set up world-class universities and adopt a standard competitive Recruitment policy for the appointment Education staff specially the teachers since the experienced, efficient, hardworking and dedicated teachers lead the students to the heights of success in every field of Education –be it Medical , engineering , science , space , arts ,culture ,history , economy and business studies .
The Government must form an Education Advisory Board containing members from all federating units to research, devise and recommend a uniform education policy so that educational boom could be brought in Pakistan as Great Nations win with the power of education not with guns.
Revamping College Education-The Challenges and Prospects
College education has been the most neglected segment in Pakistan especially in Sindh where colleges are not provided with the development funds, modern methods of teaching, language, and computer labs and interactive classrooms. The obsolete promotions system and the old nomenclature of posts date back to the 1980s, non-provision of scholarships for higher education to government college teachers, so much so that the heads of colleges are not appointed based on administrative skills and competence.
The non-existence of any clear rules and recruitment policy for the appointment of principals in the government colleges have wreaked havoc with college education outreach and standards since the principals being unaware of even ABC of audit and accounting, DDO powers, responsibilities, drafting and correspondence, communication, office administration, linkages, financial audit, monitoring and evaluation of teachers and students’ outputs, curriculum development, course plan, planning development schemes such as repair and renovation of the college building and procurement procedure.
These trivial issues might have been resolved at the college level, had there been qualified and competent Principals having problem-solving skills and management skills
Mostly the professors in BPS-19 and BPS-20 are posted on administrative or management cadres such as regional directors, DGs and Chairman BISEs. There is no College Teachers Training Institute (CTTI) that may impart training to newly appointed lecturers and other staff that it may increase their productivity. Even representation in the college education department is denied and usurped by powerful PAS, PSS, PCS, PMS and OMG officers who are unaware of the college matters and issues.
Teachers dejected and disillusioned over delayed promotions, often take 18 years to the next grade yet some unfortunate ones get promotions after reaching the superannuation or after retirement. Earlier, the college teachers were provided move over to the next grade after completing their minimum service slab on the given scale but later it was withdrawn.Later, the time scale was granted to the teachers of school education such as PSTs, JSTs and HSTs, and the subject specialists of higher secondary schools, but the college education or higher education teachers were denied these monetary benefits since it provided respite against delayed DPC (Departmental Promotion Committee) by Board I and II to consider the cases of promotions from BS-17 to BS-20 respectively.
It is alarming that some teachers retire serving on the same grade throughout their service period and some get only one promotion to the next grade, given the obsolete promotion system and the so-called Four Tier i.e. Grade wise promotions and appointment for BS-17, BS-18, BS-19, and BS-20.
Teachers’ Unions in all four provinces i.e. SPLA (Sindh), KPLA (KPK), BPLA (Baluchistan) and PPLA (Punjab) have protested for their rights and have been successful in getting their demands approved except SPLA, owing to internal differences, insincerity, individualism and disintegration on the basis of lack of consensus and no consultation with the college fraternity.
The old players of SPLA went on a solo flight and kept the members of SPLA in limbo that resulted in their downfall who sabotaged the real voice of college teachers and dragged the college teachers in the quagmire of disappointment, deprivation, and injustice. The disparities still continue haunting the college fraternity.
The college teachers were provided move over to next grade after completing their minimum service slab in the given scale but later it was withdrawn
Some progressive young leaders rose up to win support for time scale and staged a showdown which drew the attention of the authorities to the long due issue of promotions and supplementing it with time scale until they get regular time-based promotions. But the old leaders could not digest the successful protest and the landmark court decision directing CM Sindh and Secretary College Education to resolve the issues of promotions and time scale after determining financial requirements and policy matters on a priority basis.
It is also pertinent to note that the civil servants are unaware of the technical terms and issues of colleges and only college teachers can address the needs and resolve the issues of college teachers properly and on a priority basis. The college teachers should also be allocated a 5% to 10% share in administrative posts in Secretariat as our college teachers are the most efficient and talented and can better deliver in policymaking and updating curriculum, service rules drafting and making informed decisions on administrative grounds.
It is shocking and disgusting to express that the teacher who is the factory to produce all the officers, is deplorably considered “not fit” for administrative positions though he/she is recruited through the same SPSC/FPSC. It would be great if the government introduces executive service to join the civil service or secretarial service like SOPE (Section Officers Promotions Exam) conducted by FPSC from the Federal Employees in Grades 7 to 16 have 8 years Experience.
After passing SOPE, they are awarded CSS cadre OMG (Office Management Group). They have been doing a tremendous job as these officers are well aware of day to day office matters and meet deadlines quite easily and require fewer directions. The government should also revise the SNE of the colleges by creating three additional posts i.e. Vice-Principal BS- 18 and Sub Engineer BS 11/16 and Assistant Director (Finance and Planning) BS-17 to run the administrative, development and accounting matters smoothly.
Ineffective SPLA appeared to be in limbo that resulted in its downfall who sabotaged the real voice of college teachers and dragged the College Teachers in the quagmire of disappointment, deprivation and injustice
The Federal colleges and Punjab colleges have Vice Principals who look after or officiate in the absence of principals. There should be either direct appointments through a search committee or Public Service Commission for the position of vice-principals and principals so that most experienced persons may be appointed on the administrative posts. Furthermore, local and international scholarships and study leaves are not granted to college teachers to pursue M.Phil and Ph.D. or Postdoctoral studies as availed by university teachers.
The projectors should be used and the laptop scheme should be initiated for teachers so that teachers can impart education on modern lines and make learning a fun process as students get bored from the lecture of 40 to 45 minutes. The presentations on multimedia projects will make learning interactive and collaborative.
Principals are the team leaders rather than just a boss to scold, report, temper with ACRs or take action against teachers on personal grudges and lenient on blue-eyed teachers. As a fact, the bosses will never take responsibility but they shift responsibility, on the other hand, the leaders always believe in teamwork and take the responsibility of either good or bad and defend their teammates.
Regrettably, so many principals are imposed upon the colleges lacking the competency to run the day to day affairs. Owing to their incompetence, inefficiency, and lack of training, the college academic, and administrative issues surface which prompts the supervisory authorities to intervene and resolve issues. These trivial issues might have been resolved at the college level, had there been qualified and competent Principals having problem-solving skills and management skills. It is also necessary that Executive Management Training should be made compulsory for the Principal before joining. This will further their deliverables.
It is the need of the hour to address the woes of College Teachers and the College. These should be resolved on the war-footing basis to transform colleges into great seats of learning since colleges fill the gaps of higher education where there are no universities. The colleges serve as higher Education intuitions offering degrees at Undergraduate, Graduate and Post Graduate level.
Global Socio-Economic Impact of Covid-19
The Pandemic originating from Wuhan China has enveloped the whole world and the catastrophe caused by covid-19 is beyond speculation. Schools, Colleges, Universities and business are closed for an indefinite period and the World has gone into self-isolation while the countries imposed lockdown in the world in the severely hit areas to contain the outbreak at massive scale.
The pandemic has affected all the countries especially China, France, Italy, Germany, US, UK, Iran, Egypt and third world countries i.e Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan and some African countries.
There are some countries which are severely impacted socially and economically while some countries have sustained moderate impact owing to taking timely preventive measures as per circulated guidelines of WHO and Local Health ministries of respective Countries.
With President Donald Trump clipping the wings of UN’s apex health body by cutting the financial support amid the Global Pandemic, the catastrophe is expected to go from bad to worse as WHO will experience the funds’ shortage that will ultimately contribute to a deep humanitarian crisis.
The world posts a bleak picture already as all business activities have been suspended, the markets have been closed for an indefinite period, the stock markets crashed and the unemployment ratio suddenly jumped to historical high due to covid-19 Pandemic. Even OPEC members have decided to cut the oil production given the pandemic situation.
The Global economy has been severely impacted by the shocks of the deadly virus that prompted companies like Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Face book, Twitter to ask their employees to work from home to avoid contracting Covid-19.
All the industries have been impacted badly that include entertainment, Sports, food franchise has completely shutdown creating panicking situation all around as once busiest streets and markets have started presenting deserted look.
This global economic warrants that if the early remedy to cure covid-19 is not discovered, the future will be dreadful to predict. The mighty economies such as China, the US, France, Italy, UK, Germany has been seriously impacted by this deadly virus. The situation is haunting the people around the world, bringing misery of greater proportion as compared to Word War II, Ebola, SARS, MERS, Plage and Yaws.
The Daily Wage workers, Private workers, drivers, hawkers, shop keepers and thousands of similar workers have lost their jobs and the opportunity to earn their livelihood. The companies have preferred work from home option for their employees to limit the outbreak and avoid contracting covid-19.
It is alarming that hundreds of workers have filed as unemployed. The lengthy lockdowns have created serious humanitarian and economic crises and the experts are of the view that the circumstances are fast moving towards the global recessions and may take a long time to recover from this catastrophe.
Though China has been able to contain Covid-19 and even lifted restrictions on outgoing flights with some strict SOPs, yet the Covid 19 seems to be an invisible predator waiting for its prey regardless of any region. The virus has impacted all the zones i.e with the cooler, hotter or moderate atmosphere.
The only solution to fight this pandemic is social distancing, maintaining the hygienic environment and avoiding crowdy spaces. The Governments around the world have imposed strict lockdowns and the frontline fighters (Health workers) around the world doing a marvellous job to protect their fellowmen even at the cost of falling prey to this deadly virus.
While fighting this pandemic. Many health workers have been tested positive. Even, some frontline soldiers lost their fight to this pandemic and laid down their lives to secure the future of their respective country.
Education is being imparted through digital platforms as online education is increasing for students. Though students are facing some issues such as the connectivity, Sound quality, Video Quality, yet in this emergency, the Schools, Colleges, Universities and other online course websites are striving to provide some light of Knowledge in these difficult times.
The booming industries such as restaurants, hotels, motels and Aviation have been closed for an indefinite period.
Unfortunately, despite 151598 deaths worldwide and over 2.21 Million confirmed cases covid-19, all eyes are hooked towards the discovery of vaccine to treat the patients and save their lives. At the moment, only plasma therapy is being conducted and some common medicines are being used such as cough, flu fever-related medicine.
Though human trials have been started by some Pharmaceutical companies, the experts are of the view that it may take one and half year for the vaccine to be available in the market. It is also estimated to be the costliest vaccine ever keeping in view its global implications and rapid speed of pandemic spread in the world.
It is estimated that Europe, Asia, Middle East to suffer a lot especially, Italy, France, UK, Iran and US as the ratio of deaths is higher than other countries especially US where average deaths per days have surpassed all other nations that prompted Trump to cut funding to world health Organization accusing it of mishandling the pandemic and delayed response to mitigate its implication while WHO head has refuted the allegations.
The covid-19 has also impacted Sports, News & Media, Entertainment and Services Industries to the extent that. All the sporting events have been suspended, series and Leagues have been rescheduled and big events such as PSL, IPL, FIFA World Cup, Olympics Games and others have been completely cancelled raising concerns among the players. Even the players are facing the trauma having travel history to the epicentre of Covid-19 Pandemic and tested positive.
The Entertainment industry has been heavily impacted as all the dramas, Films and comedy shooting and recording has been postponed till indefinite period and all the events including concerts have cancelled due to covid-19 and actors have lost the source of living.
Finally, the Print and Electronic Media are partially impacted though they are a very vulnerable community as they have been busy in coverage of the pandemic around the world and are prone to contracting the deadly virus due to close contact with Patients at Quarantine Centres and the Health specialists working at the hospital and temporary health centres specially set up for an emergency.
The Print Media has been hit hard as people consider it risky to read a Print copy of newspapers over covid-19 fears and prefer paper or online edition of the newspapers. Hence, such a trend has impacted the Newspaper Sales badly.
On the other hand, electronic media such as News Channels, Radio and Digital Media such as Websites, YouTube are grabbing people’ attention.
The Social Media is also buzzing with Covid-19 updates though Social Media and Silicon Valley companies have asked their employees to work from home and follow the preventive measures these include Twitter, Yahoo, Facebook, Microsoft and Search Giant Google.
The world should be united to fight this global pandemic that is haunting the world. The US should release funds to help WHO work effectively for global health and expedite the process of vaccine discovery as each day will deprive the near and dear ones of the families around the world. With collaborative efforts, the world can win this war against the pandemic.
What is the future of education?
“Education is the question of Life and Death for us: –Quaid-e-Azam
Education is the backbone of any country and plays a pivotal role in shaping the future course of the nations in the world. Education builds the nation’s roots deeper and stronger and prepares them for the competitive and contemporary world. It is because of Education.
“There is the debate that is the traditional approach to education still relevant in the age of Are traditional approaches to education still relevant in the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution? Fred Swaniker. He negates the idea by saying don’t think so.“
Fred Swankier: “It starts with recognition amongst all educators that the world is changing. To prepare people for the future, you need to design an education system that is forward-looking and not backwards-looking.”
According to educational experts that in today’s world, artificial intelligence, robotics and industrial revolution has bestowed the nations with tremendous growth and innovation in education and teaching methodologies. The rapid development is also caused by the advancement in science and technology and space engineering. Scientists have done a marvellous job in changing the landscape of the world with innovative inventions all because of imparting quality education especially the higher education in the universities. This requires a reorientation all the way from early childhood education to primary school to university education. It means encouraging flexibility rather than specialization. It requires training and retraining teachers, as well as redesigning education systems and curricula.
In order to have a futuristic outlook, we need to reimagine and innovate education with the support of ICT (Information Communication Technology that may reshape the future world of Education and make it paper free for the students by providing Digital Education that knows no boundaries at all. We need to make the learning fun, excitement and interesting so that our parents may not force their children to seek education. Instead, the students go on their own and learn through gadgets.
In this connection, there need to be overhauling at every level of education from primary to Secondary, College and University level buy designing futuristic course materials with help of experts and training the teachers in the lines of the future generation. Since the communication gateways are flowing like rivers and every person wants to quench his thirst for education with the standard dose of materials developed by the experts. The Startups and Business innovation Ideas should be promoted so that we can produce entrepreneurs for running businesses like Yahoo, Google, Apple, PayPal and Microsoft. We need more standard companies like these by young entrepreneurs so that they may create jobs and do not seek jobs. This approach will change the real face of the countries especially the developing countries.
Education should be skillet based not just theoretical that destroys prime years of innovation. We need to bring the expert brains to the classroom that can teach the future generations the most latest and advanced Knowledge so that they may take the nation to heights of success. The societal development should also be focused so that barriers to female education may clear and thus participatory development will boost the economy of the country. Education will help increase the knowledge economy and will definitely in taking informed forecasting and budgeting needs of the nations.
Finally, Education Never ends, it is a life long process. It helps you to focus on what is important for learning and what is not. Every Individual learns a lot from the experiences, schooling at classroom and projects they work on. So, it could be said that you learn a variety of things during learning. Even in a professional career, you attend training and workshop to boost your Knowledge and wisdom. So it is evident from the above discussion that Education is a lifelong process and the future of education bright and the world without education is like a room without light.
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