Education should be the high priority of the government. It should be recognized as one of the fundamental rights of a citizen and universal access to every citizen. Pakistan’s sustained economic growth can only be achieved with higher emphasis on timely investment in education. This can pay rewarding dividends for future economic growth and well being of the society as a whole.
Physical condition of many schools in the province is a fundamental problem that should have been undertaken before stepping on to other areas. A factor hindering high attendance is the poor infrastructure. Out of some 60,000 public-sector primary schools - with about 4.5 million students - some 8 percent have no buildings, while thousands more are without drinking water, electricity and toilets. The government must allocate resources for the provision of basic infrastructure and facilities in educational institutions.
The junior teacher that forms the lifeline of the nation, as in making the generation, draws lesser in money than that of an unskilled worker. There are 350,000 teachers in Punjab. Since there is nothing done for their welfare, the slogans like ‘Educated Punjab’ appears a mere hoax.
PTC/ JVT teachers are in grade 7 in provincial government and in grade 9 in federal setup and they draw Rs 2000 and Rs 2600 respectively. The United Nations has defined poverty line as 2 Dollars a day and in Punjab Province alone 350,000 teachers and of them 175,000 is living below poverty line.
The Punjab Ombudsman Report 2004 says, “There were 63,000 schools functioning in the Punjab where nine million students were studying. The second highest number of complaints (1193) was filed against the Education Department. It is strange that while Punjab chief minister is spending million of taxpayer money on personal projection and publicity on the electronic & print media, he has not paid any attention to the Education Department. Every thoughtful Pakistani is upset with Pakistan's system and quality of education. It is tragic and quite ironic that Pakistan ranks among the lowest in the world in term of literacy. Most developed and even developing countries spend six or ten percent of their GDP on education but Pakistan only spends 2. 3 % of its GDP.”
The present education system has failed to disclose before the new generation the founding reasons of Pakistan. The most alarming aspect besides ideological confusion and moral degradation is the falling standard of education. Class distinction in education has been created. Because of this, Pakistani nation is most discreetly broken down into an upper English medium and a lower Urdu medium class. Ironically each school has its own curriculum. The education system needs to be reengineered by every inch. Pakistan studies and the national character should be the fundamental elements.
Creating sectarian cohesion and teaching regional and social parity, a uniform syllabus, system of examination and medium of instructions should be enforced in all educational institutions.
Private institutions, at all levels have failed to maintain a regular quality supremacy over public schools. Private schools have now become an industry. According to the first census of private education institutions there are 22,855 private institutions in Punjab. It can be inferred that private schools have not been able to play a significant role in improving the education system. Since it is a transformed industry, the educational infrastructure provided by private schools is small and have poor facilities and untrained teachers. Some 64% are registered, and 3.4% recognized. The rest are unregistered. Nevertheless many parents prefer the inadequacies of the private sector to the government school, provided that there is one in the vicinity.
Exploitation by private educational institutions in the name of education should be regulated. These institutions should be made to boost standardized education on the one hand and on the other, to embrace all classes of society on basis of merit.
Punjab needs concrete planning but the tools to educate need immediate attention or it will stay as an advertisement gimmick.Asif J. Mir, Organizational Transfortmation
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