Periodically, Punjab’s CM gathers the government officials from the department of education around a table for a meeting. They seem to discuss all the problems and work on the solution, as it seems but the on ground situation begs to differ as the school reforms in Punjab are taking place with a pace rarely seen anywhere in the world. Same goes for the rest of country. In fact, describing Pakistan as an under-performer in the field of education would be the understatement of millennia.
Our education has long been atrocious. The government schools in Sindh and in the distant villages of Punjab are the bleakest you’ve ever seen. Imagine the classrooms being used as shelter for cattle while students study outside with no furniture or a dozen of little kids sitting in a muddy and dark room with no facilities at all. Girls have to sit in a cobwebbed classroom and in most of the schools in villages, one is wearing a uniform; most have no schoolbags; some have no shoes, and worst of all, there is not a teacher in sight. In fact in an article published by the Observer France 24 on May 4, 2009, the then education minister of Sindh said that there were 7700 ghost schools in Sindh. Funnily the education reforms were partly funded by World Bank. It is shocking that the minster knew about it and the government knows about it but no one is willing to do anything. In a shocking picture published by Dawn on 30th of April 2009, a school serves as a cattle barn. In another report published by Geo on Nov 23, 2017 there were 23,000 illegal hiring with 11,000 in Karachi alone. The fund instead of being used for the benefit of the poor and downtrodden masses, there seems to be massive misappropriations and no one seems to take action on this due to political reasons.
Most of these children drop out of these schools and girls are least likely to attend their high schools. After Afghanistan, Pakistan has the widest gap between girls’ and boys’ education and to top that, even the good halves of Pakistanis who complete their primary school are not literate. All these factors forced the parents to turn away from the government’s education system and enroll their children in the private schools. Reason being that the only quality education given to children in Pakistan is being done by private schools. Private money is currently paying for more of Pakistan’s education than the governments.
Fixing Pakistan’s education system requires political will, and steadfast and honest efforts from the leadership. But despite all the big claims and promises, Pakistan’s children are not getting quality education at government schools. For too long our children have suffered because of our politicians’ incompetence and corruption. They deserve much better but instead of making some serious policies to revolutionize the educational system in Pakistan, our politicians have started treating schools as political tools. And with the ongoing protests against the private schools I can’t help but wonder what if these schools are forced to close? What will be the future of Pakistan then if the only institutes that are providing quality education to children are also closed or are forced to compromise the quality of education to cut costs? By private sector I mean those schools that are schools systems under a structure and not those schools that are opened in back streets with no regulation.
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