Education is the True Path to Success
Government has a big role in providing its citizens proper education. Pakistan has undergone several changes since 1980. Recent policy changes are slowly shaping the nation, making it look more and more like Western nations that embrace "Americanization." Pakistan is rapidly losing its social democratic status. Unfortunately, the so-called economic restructuring that is currently taking place is having adverse effects on the Pakistani school system and its students also. By analyzing the changes made to Pakistan's education system we can track neoliberalism's level of growth in the country. Privatization of education means transferring taxpayers' money designated for public education to luxuries of the Government, corporations, and individuals instead of to public schools, colleges, and universities. For the poor and middle-class people, to have access to proper education, the government's educational free facilities are most vital should be available.
It is undisputed that the common man creates government. Government exists to assure and protect the will of the people. Contrarily, against our will, almost all our costs of living including the cost of education are now blatantly rigged against us. A huge percentage of our tax ultimately ends up in the pockets of politicians. Experience of the past about five years proves that our tax money is not going into our community, it is going into the pockets of the billionaires called our leaders - it is obscene. Our ruling elite has engineered a financial coup and has brought war to our doorstep, they have launched a war to eliminate the Pakistani middle and lower class. They have deprived the people of getting an affordable quality education. Private and self-finance public institutes have high fees so the poor cannot afford that fee. Private or self-financing education is nothing but making our country back because not only rich people, who can afford, but lower-class and middle-class families also have brilliant children and they want to study further in good institutions but financial problems create much stress upon them, students get a lot of stress, and sometimes it makes them so desperate that they think to commit suicide thus who lose the talent? Our leaders, our country!
The state of the Pakistani educational system began to change and ultimately crumble after 1980. So-called reforms have dramatically changed Pakistan's educational system, both from an economic and pedagogical perspective. There are clear signs that affordable quality education in Pakistan is under threat. Pakistan's education system has fallen victim to neo-liberal globalization. Neo-liberalism has regarded educational institutes more as a commodity exchange and commercial body than as a sacrosanct academic institution or means of social and national integration.
It is generally accepted that the educational level of each country has a direct relationship with its development as many people have access to education, the country has more opportunities to grow. Therefore the government has to spend an important part of its budget to provide good educational levels for its people. With the help of the Government, the public institutions should promote access, affordability, and attainment in education including higher education by reining in costs, providing value for poor families, and preparing students with a high-quality education to succeed in their careers. The more hardworking students must be provided with a fair shot at pursuing higher education because education is not a luxury, it is an economic imperative that every hardworking and responsible student should be able to afford.
The educational system is today being formulated only to meet the demands of government to meet neo-liberal agenda. Political leaders have been able to get away with these changes. The quality of education is going down, students are feeling the pressure to get the grades, and teachers are left to deal with the ambiguity and the uncertainty of how to achieve the objectives and standards set by the state. This has had negative consequences on the educational system in Pakistan, which are impacting students, teachers, and communities. Our educationists and the Government have done nothing to upgrade the quality of Pakistan's education system.
The bitter truth is our corrupt political elite don't want common people getting a world-class education. PPP Government is out to systematically wipe out the HEC's achievements and destroy them in absolute terms. The poor are more marginalized after education is commercialized. Our children want education but they fail to cope in universities because everything is out of reach for middle and lower-middle-class students. Pakistan needs highly educated people to deal with the growing political dynamics that prevail we should not be looking at the possibilities of outsourcing decision-making to external forces simply because we do not have people educated enough to strategize Pakistan's policies. To achieve this goal there must be affordable higher education in place. The government should also direct its efforts towards villages. It should open more schools and employ more teachers.
Opening schools does not mean erecting costly buildings and employing an army of unwilling teachers who are not fit to do what they are required to do, as had been the case during the last five years. Only merit-based dedicated staff can make the dream of education for all a reality. The government should provide scholarships to brilliant students. The Government should be committed to placing a good education within reach of all who are willing to work for it helps build a strong Pakistani middle class. Equal opportunities for development for all the children during the period of growth should be the aim of the Government. Healthy and educated citizens are the driving force of a nation's productivity the government should invest in this for the people to achieve their optimum well-being. We believe the government should ensure that ample funding is made available to the education sector. By investing in education, the government will be investing in its own success story of human resource development.
Shaukat Masood Zafar is an experienced banker and rural development professional. He is a well-known freelance columnist writing for the daily Pakistan Observer, and several other national and international websites and newspapers. Economy, Politics, and Agricultural & Rural Development are especially areas of his interest. Currently, he is associated with Pak News.