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Thursday, February 15, 2024

The dress code debate in Pakistan’s educational institutions

Rana Kanwal talks about how Pakistan's education system is entirely focused on dress codes instead of improving the quality of education. She further highlights how educational crimes are on the rise among teachers in Pakistan because our justice system is being neglectful as ever.

Walking under the shade of trees in different universities of the country is ingrained in my soul. There are thousands of dreams in these paths, under the shade of these trees hundreds of hopes of middle-class families are protecting themselves from the heat of time. Students who are free from family oppression travel on these routes with the courage donated by their parents.

Thousands of children’s memories are attached to every brick and tree of these paths. These memories, these paths, these dreams, and these aspirations come true from these universities.

Read more: Understanding the loopholes in Pakistan’s education system

Why the universities are on the path of destruction?

Here are some examples of the nature of destructive news instead of constructive news from universities: Dress code introduced for students in the University of Peshawar, female students in Hazara University will not be able to wear jeans, students of Bacha Khan University will not be able to wear earrings and jewelry. You have to wear official clothes at Islamia University.

The dress code has been banned for female students across the country including NUST Islamabad, UET Lahore, University of Peshawar, Agricultural University Faisalabad.

From Karachi to the Karakoram, from Gwadar to Khanjerab, such controversial news comes to the fore every day in the educational institutions of the country. But a notification from the Federal Directorate of Education has opened another Pandora’s box, under which dress codes have been implemented for teachers in federal government educational institutions.

According to the notification, female teachers will be banned from wearing jeans and tights. Male teachers will be banned from wearing jeans and T-shirts. Teachers must follow this dress code before taking any class. That is, teachers will be required to abide by these rules imposed by the government before delivering any lecture.

Read more: Politicization and digital divide- the woes of education system in Pakistan

Is a dress code mandatory for teachers or do their qualifications matter?

Is a dress code mandatory in public universities or is it important to improve the quality of research? How can brain drain be eliminated in Pakistan? Why aren’t there any notifications for research articles in influential international journals? Why do only 4% of 65% of young people reach universities?

How will the quality of education improve during the dress code crisis? The question is why the government does not issue any notification to teachers to improve the quality of education? Why doesn’t the government write on superficial and substandard research? Why is there more emphasis on ethics than research in Pakistan? Has the government ever issued a notification to look into the reasons why our higher education system has failed to produce world-class scientists or intellectuals?

The youth population in Pakistan is 65% of the total population but the number of young people studying in universities is only 3 to 4%. This means that those with higher education have very limited access to universities. Many higher education institutions in the country do not meet the international standards of the university, but they were given university status by the HEC.

In the recent QS rankings, the average referrals of Pakistani universities were 29% while the average referrals of faculties in India and China were 54% and 80% respectively. Due to this educational decline, thousands of Pakistanis prefer to pursue higher education abroad. That’s why we have a brain drain.

Read more: The ugly truth about Pakistan’s education system

According to UNESCO, the number of Pakistanis pursuing higher education abroad has increased by 70% in the last 10 years, from 31,000 to 55,000. About 600,000 Pakistani students apply for visas to study abroad. About 330,000 students from India also go abroad every year, but this is only one percent of our three percent average. This shows that on average, more Pakistanis than Indian students go abroad to enhance their academic ability.

The increasing number of educational crimes 

Educational crimes are on the rise among teachers in Pakistan because there is no system of punishment for them. Such crimes need to be dealt with severely. Allegations of plagiarism come to the fore every day, but we pay more attention to the dress of teachers than to the teaching of educational ethics.

We guard our thoughts. We close our eyes. We bind ideas in the shackles of self-made ethics. We sacrifice scientific discourse to so-called ideologies. We are focusing on the choice of clothing rather than the stars. We discuss the dress of the West, but we do not consider the intellectual superiority and intellectual heritage of the West. It seems that we are completely confused ideologically, morally, and scientifically.

O, my state protectors! As much attention is being paid to the dress of students and teachers if so much energy is spent on improving the quality of teaching, perhaps one of our educational institutions could be among the best in the world. O, my state protectors! One should also pay attention to the qualifications of the teachers instead of their dress.

Read more: How to reform Pakistan’s education system? An unpopular opinion

The focus of our education system should be on research and education, rather than making ripped jeans, earrings, and nose rings. But perhaps the university administration finds it more important to nurture clothing than the brain. Of course, only by eradicating this feeling will the dream of an educated Punjab and an educated Pakistan be realized.

The writer has worked with Daily Jang and Aaj News TV. She is currently working as an Administrator in the Federal Board of Revenue, Islamabad. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Global Village Space’s editorial policy.