Education: A luxury afforded by the rich

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Faria Zeeshan |

Can this society ever change for the better for those countless deprived souls who barely survive each day? Will it ever change for those who are in dire need of even the most basic of all amenities in life?

I have been perturbed over the past couple of years absorbing these notions, making sense out of the growing disparity between diverse groups of people, which is a major socioeconomic dilemma in Pakistan. Yet, this disparity is not as much economic in nature as it is inevitably seen; rather, what majorly lies at the core of this ever-growing polarization is illiteracy, marred by weak institutions, unwitting prejudice and discrimination, ignorance and a lack of vision by those in authority to overcome this issue which has engulfed my nation deeply ever since its independence. With a population of more than 190 million, Pakistan bears the burden of one of the most illiterate countries of Asia.

Ministry of education must form new policies to bridge the gap between private and public sector education. Educational standards of public schools are not up to the mark and due to high fee structure poor cannot afford to attend private schools.

About half of the male population is illiterate and two third of the female population cannot even write their names. Why do such alarming figures exist? The explanation is multifaceted, grounded heavily in the structure of the society, underpinned by toxic beliefs, corruption and unequal distribution of wealth and power play amongst the diverse strata of individuals, all of which are detrimental towards the development of any society.

Read more : Pakistan: Education can be a strategic investment

Why is it that we thrive in such an unfortunate system, where there is such inequity in terms of illiteracy, where the heaviness of one’s pocket and social status determines access to education? Every child deserves to be knowledgeable and skillful, regardless of where they come from. Every child deserves to be raised in an environment that fosters their enlightenment and elevates them to a higher level of consciousness that brings out the best in them and enables them to be leaders of tomorrow. Who knows, the cure of cancer is trapped inside the mind of an uneducated child? Equitable impartation of education is the key.

Way Forward

The national government must declare education as the top most priority in all its agendas.  Explain that unless the barriers of illiteracy are not removed Pakistan will lack behind all other developed nations. For this purpose, the government must conduct awareness campaigns at both the national and local level to emphasize the importance of education.

We do not have to be great to start, we have to start to be great’, for one voice can make a difference, a million can change the world!

Many parents are reluctant to send their children to schools particularly girls but it’s very important for us to make them realize that this investment is of utmost significance if we want our nation to progress. Ministry of education must form new policies to bridge the gap between private and public sector education. Educational standards of public schools are not up to the mark and due to high fee structure poor cannot afford to attend private schools.

Similarly, lack of educational infrastructure is another impediment for which I believe government must build new schools and alongside initiate a trend of distance learning, particularly in rural areas. The electronic media must be extensively used for this purpose. Teachers with a proper educational background must share online lectures and resources on channels specifically devoted to education. Lectures can either be recorded or live telecasted through Skype. Alternatively, if an efficient system is designed more students can be taught using the recorded material.

Read more: The quality gap in Pakistan’s education system

Additionally, a number of scholarships awarded for free education must be increased to ensure that all those in need get enrolled. Therefore, it is our responsibility as responsible citizens to help the government and raise a voice against the disparity that exists in our education system. We do not have to be great to start, we have to start to be great’, for one voice can make a difference, a million can change the world!

Faria Zeeshan is currently working at ACTED Pakistan, working towards providing humanitarian assistance and access to education for the unprivileged children in Pakistan. She has also worked as assistant project manager at AIESEC for various development projects before at both national and international level. Previously, she has worked at SASSI (South Asian Strategic Stability Institute) as a research associate and is now pursuing research simultaneously. The views expressed in this article are author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space. 

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