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What is wrong with our education system?

By Dur Wali Khan

The world is filled with a variety of colours and our students should not be confined in the dark space surrounded by four walls in 21st century without proper education. Education system of any country is considered to be the most important system which shapes the future of its nation.

But, unfortunately, there is no uniform education system with clear and defined national goals and requirements in our country to provide equal educational opportunity to all children to grow together.

There are approximately five types of institutions imparting education to children in Pakistan with different objectives and curriculum. For example, (1) Beaconhouse school System, City school System, Roots School System, Allied School system etc., (2) Armed forces school system, (3) Government school system, (4) low paid private schools and (5) Darul Uloom school system.

Due to non-uniform education system, each of them has their own objectives, priority, curriculum and teaching methodology. The first and second category of school systems with required resources focus on multi learning approach (interactive learning) to make students an independent learners with conceptual understanding, required knowledge and skills. The main aim is to enable them to successfully move into mainstream of our society with updated knowledge, innovation, social skills, integrity, national values, respect of opinions of each others, love for humanity and sense of responsibility to lead the country and institutions as visionary leaders.

Many educationists argue that “interactive learning (multi learning approach) has the potential to create high quality learning environment, which actively engage the learners in learning process to unlock their potential”.But, the rest of category of school systems focus on rote memorization to force students to reproduce exactly what they were taught or learnt from books. Grainne Faller says: “Rote learning is a bad thing and kills the ability of learners”. However, Darul Uloom School system has its own objectives, priority and teaching learning approach. When they come out after completing their education with different mind sets, understanding and knowledge as a result of non-uniform education system. How can we expect from them to work together for achieving same objectives to build a welfare, tolerant, peaceful and a prosperous society.

Providing free and quality education to all children is the prime responsibility of the state. National Education Policy 2009 says that “the state shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of five to sixteen years”.Millions of children in Pakistan even cannot afford to go to schools for learning, because they have to earn for themselves and for their family to feed. But, those parents, who send their children to schools are not receiving the quality of education, needed to unlock their potential and prepare them for the challenges of 21st century.

Teacher is the most important part of the education system to create awareness among the community regarding the importance of education for their children, plays vital role in character building of children and promotes quality education in the country. But due to the unfair criteria for hiring teachers, a large number of inefficient and incompetent people join the profession, who lack skills, teaching techniques and content of knowledge making the situation worst.

Although this problem is being tried to address from time to time in government education sector but still need improvement.

Similarly, in schools, students are not facilitated and guided properly in the selection of their field/subjects according to their abilities and interest. They are also not given exposure, how to become a suitable and useful member of the society. Therefore, after completing education, they are not in a position how to address the problems in real life and play vital role in the social development because of lack of skills/ techniques and required knowledge. Nelson Mandela says that “education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world.”

Additionally, our education system mostly focus on the learning of theoretical stuff rather than giving equal importance to practical and implementation side to give practical exposure to students. Similarly, students are forced to compete in the race for getting grades instead of gaining practical knowledge and skills. As a result, they face difficulties to compete in the labour market to get suitable job to lead successful lives.

Finally, I would like to suggest that there should be uniform education system, which reflects our cultural diversity, values, history, national goals and rich traditions to provide free and quality learning opportunities to all children in the country. Selection process of the teachers should be transparent and teachers should be given proper training on teaching methodology to prepare students to successfully move into mainstream of our society to face future challenges. Conceptual understanding and practical learning of children must be focused and it should be the part of curriculum.

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