Monday, July 5, 2010

The Dilemma of Education

It is irony of the fact that still some people underestimate the importance of education in our society. Even till the end of 20th century, our political slogans only depicted all the other basic needs but hardly anyone talked about educating people. However, there has been a change in mindset as this issue has been brought forward, thanks to the widespread use of media and communication.

Present Scenario:
The problem arises when we see various systems prevailing in Pakistani educational institutions. We have:
1. Public / Government schools (all provinces having their own set syllabi and books)
2. Private schools ( comprising the teaching of Government syllabi / private boards / foreign boards/ some incorporate Hifz Quran in their curriculum )
3. Religious institutions (mostly covering memorizing Quran/ some also follow government approved syllabi )

Lets see what they have to offer :


These schools have been monitored and administered by Ministries / Directorates of Education. They have their boards comprising a panel of highly qualified educationists, who usually select the curriculum according to the requirements and traditions of diversified Pakistani society including urban and rural areas. They curriculum includes National as well as at least one regional language.


Majority of these schools were established during the privatization drive of the government in early 80s. They are divided into two groups : Pakistani Curriculum (leading to Matric/ SSC ) and UK/ US Curriculum (leading to British O Level or American International Baccalaureate). Many schools opted for foreign educational syllabi, like Cambridge / Oxford or American High School Diploma. The main reason to choose such systems was to avoid the regular inspections by government authorities, as these schools did not come under their jurisdiction. These schools have their syllabi, subjects, content,book s and even teaching methodologies approved by foreign boards. Urdu is taught but not as a core subject, with main emphasis on simple write ups and translation into English and vice-versa. You will hardly find any regional language being taught in these schools.


These Islamic seminaries teach mostly Islamic subjects leading to graduation as a cleric (called maulvi, maulana or mulla) in Pakistan. There are five major governing bodies of Madrassas in Pakistan. Tanzim-ul-Madaras (Barelwi), Wafaq-ul-Madaras (Deobandi), Wafaq-ul-Madaras (Shia), Wafaq-ul-Madaras (Ahle Hadith) and Rabita-ul-Madaris (Jamaat-e-Islami) . A 2008 estimate puts this figure at over 40,000 out of which most cater to the dominant Sunni sect. There are, however, some madrassas for the minority (estimated at from 14 to 20 per cent) Shias.
Their students read accessible books in Urdu as part of comparative religion or training in the beliefs of their sub-sects (maslak). These texts are taught in a rational manner in order to promote reasoning among students and to understand the logics of differences and similarities. This process results in sectarian harmony. Similarly, students are taught about Western ideologies—capitalism, individualism, freedom, feminism, socialism, democracy, human rights—in lessons in order to understand heresy and dangers propagated by the western world.

Future Scenario ?

Now, in near future, our society is going to face a major change as we will see these different groups of educated people entering job market, administration and politics.

The social divide between these various systems of education is easily understandable. A student from his early years till attaining youth, is surrounded by a specifically modified environment. The students have hardly any idea that there exist some parallel educational systems, to which they will be exposed after the completion of their own course. Each student thinks very highly of his own way of education, as they put in hard and serious efforts to study and pass their exams.

This raises the question that who is going to keep a balance in the future set up of our society. Does it call for a “QUOTA” system for all these segments of our educational scenario. Are we inviting another conflict of biased selections of the administrators of this country? Will we need another BOARD to settle such matters as how many will be taken from PRIVATE / PUBLIC & RELIGIOUS SCHOOL SYSTEMS? And finally, who will decide the quality of education being imparted therein at large.

 Hopefully, some light can be thrown on this important issue of our future generations. We need authorities comprising educators, having full background knowledge of these local & foreign educational systems, having the capability of incorporating the graduates stepping out of them, in various spheres of society.
Do we have such professionals available? Has anyone thought about integrating this diversification into one whole grand educational structure? … We will certainly need this structure in near future.


  1. u have pointed out the root cause of every evil hovering around. if i were given choice, my first priority would be educating the people by giving them quality education.
    actual Dilemma is when our youth finishes the education then they come to know that they know nothing, they are not competent enough to face the challenges, In Public education system specially where a graduate student sms's me to ask, what is the meaning of "thnx buddy"? its really heart breaking.

  2. An important issue indeed; however I did not see your article going anywhere. Yes, we do have at least three educational systems in our country but that is only due to inadequateness of the first two (public school & medressah) that the third one had to be introduced by the private sector. I do not think that the “highly qualified” educationists running the public school show have ever been able to deliver the goods. Our text books, teaching methodology, quality of teaching staff themselves has been found lacking in all respects. Our curriculum is biased, one-sided and is partly responsible for growing extremism in the country. I remember Hindus being described as “Hindu Baniya” in one of the Pakistan Studies book I read during my matriculation. O-Levels / Cambridge curriculum on the other hand are up-to-date and have been designed keeping in mind the latest educational techniques. I do not see any problem with their country wide adoption; offcourse there will be things that we`ll have to tailor in accordance with our unique requirements but it seems to me the best available bet right now.