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Purpose of our Education System!?

By: Usman Shahid, Uploaded: 30th April 2012

Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in School”, said by the world renowned genius, Albert Einstein. What he understands a century ago, unfortunately we as a Pakistani nation are still unable to understand it. Education at secondary and higher secondary level provides a back bone to one’s higher education, literary or professional life. Why lower educational system in Pakistan, is not providing necessary tools to the students? Why more and more students are going toward madrassa education system and leaving secondary education of Pakistan? Why drop out ratio from school is highest these days? These are the questions of today. These could be due to the lack of any purpose of SSC and HSSC defined by the government and the policy makers.

In order to cope with the ever increasing threat of number of madrassas in Pakistan, secondary education system has to be carefully revived in-order to make it useful. Efforts of modernizing the madrasa system have failed so it is time to raise the standard of secondary education. Most of the madrassa tutors attract the young generation by showing the uselessness of Pakistani secondary education and later these boys with full of anger against normal education turn violent and recruited by the talibans.

Education at secondary and higher secondary level is purposeless. Have a look at this recent example that has been popped up over the social media “facebook”.
In this story a boy with even 90% marks in SSC was still not able to find a decent job for his livelihood. He done what has been told so far “work hard, get good marks and get a decent job”. He did work hard, got good grades but due to the excess amount of expenses couldn’t continue his studies further and this certificate alone is of no help, it wont get him a decent job to fund his own education. He is looking for a job as a “helper” after getting 90+% marks. How can you stop students like him to become the angry youth against your so called system? Why will they not be attracted to the madrassa where they get money to carry on with their lives. How will you stop the madrassa people who will portray him as an example of uselessness of secondary education to attract more students toward them?
Attraction of foreign certificates is also prompting the uselessness of our certifications. Examples of Arfa Kareem, Sakandar Mahmood Baloch and Mauhib Iqbal are enough to show. With these certifications not only they can work for themselves, they even get appointed as univeristy lecturers. Why? Because they can make a software and can sell them to earn money. Purpose of those certifications is clear cut. Whereas a child who gets his secondary or higher secondary education doesn’t even have the slightest of clue as to what can be done by his certificate, his degrees are useless, he cannot get a decent job as a result he’s better off in the Madrassa, where he can learn whatever they will teach or brainwash him with as well as get the basic bread of his daily life.
Only purpose that comes to mind of our secondary education is to score more and more marks to get admission to a decent University.  This is encouraging people to cram, worship what they are learning and reproducing what is written in their books. Pluto once said “Knowledge which is acquired under compulsion obtains no hold on the mind”. Now if someone like him unfortunately is not able to get higher level education, his 10 to 12 years of education will not be enough to feed him nor his family. At the same time universities are not recognizing the secondary education certificates and require NTS GAT or SAT test as the entrance requirement. These are also making secondary school certificates even more useless, eg. even after getting marks in SSC students will have to score good grades in their entry level tests as well otherwise they will have no hope.
Subject books at schools and colleges of Pakistan are stuffed with too many disconnected and irrelevant topics. Similarly the number of compulsory subjects at this level is too large. The idea behind this is that student should know, learn and be able to teach each and every topic in the universe at this level. Policy makers fail to realize that “A mind is a fire to be kindled, not a vessel to be filled–By Plutarch”. As a result, a student, leaves the critical thinking which should be the prime focus at this point and began to cram as he always remain overloaded with too many subjects and too many topics. Although very few of them help in their higher education but at that time students are unable to remember what they had studied in schools. Considering the fact that secondary education can bring the love for books or reading habits in the student is wrong as well. Too many subjects and race for getting more marks keeps them so busy that mostly 99% of students do not study books other than their prescribed textbook. In the end neither the too many subjects nor the more marks in the secondary education matter in their career and life.
If we assume that the secondary education is making a student a better thinker than its wrong. Students are taught to learn in the similar way as Kony teaches kid to kill. Student have no right to question the correctness of the answer provided by the textbook writers. The answer at the end of textbook are always correct as per the policy of secondary education but in real life your vocal skills matter more than whats in black and white(atleast from what i see in Pakistan). If someone doesn’t like the answers of the book he has no choice other than to cram them. This becomes more obvious when a student after scoring high marks or grades enters into the university. Whenever he is required to write a paragraph on some argument that you agree or disagree with, mostly he fails to do so but if you give him a chapter to reproduce he can reproduce it very easily.
Secondary education is disconnected not only with the higher education as well as with vocational education.  Even if a Pakistani student scores highest mark in Matric or FSC, alone with these certificates he is not able to work or get a decent job. Vocational education should be the part of secondary education. If due to some reason, student fails to study further, he should be able to earn decent money through his vocational skill. Secondly, these vocational skills also help them in higher education as well. He can become a better engineer, a better Doctor, a better writer, a better businessmen, and the list goes on…  But these should be introduced in a manner that helps the student rather than just increasing the number of subjects.
Paris-based Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has launched the program for International Student Assessment (PISA). They check the student at secondary education level worldwide on mostly three basis points, mathematical skill, reading skills and some basic science skill. We should also look at their work why according to them only these skills are more than enough than many subjects we use to teach our students. The obvious answer is, these are the only skills which help the student in their higher studies.
In conclusion, I would like to state it is a high time to look at the system of our secondary education. Our secondary education is not fulfilling the need of the educational and labor market. It should bring some vocational skills at least with it so that the one, who is unable to get the higher education, should be able to get some work through his secondary or higher secondary school certifications. So purpose must be defined properly. It will not only stop the wastage of prime time of our children but also stop the majority of people from going to madrassas as they will find some benefit in the worldly education, and the funny part is that the President and Prime ministers of our country know this, and they rather send their own kids to foreign country’s for education that fixing the system.

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Story first published: 30th April 2012






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