In Pakistan, there are different cultures and each one has their language. All of them have to get an education in English or Urdu. Both languages are alien to a child who gets entrance into school. Most schools in Pakistan are providing education in English.
School is the place where children can get knowledge from their teachers and books. If a child doesn’t know English, how can they get knowledge from books which they can’t understand? After FA and FSc, they gradually start understanding English till that they are cramming books. If they don’t understand books, how can they get knowledge and make over their understanding and knowledge which they need not only in making their career but also in practical life and in developing a new idea; producing new knowledge?
Language is the source of grasping new knowledge and building up new knowledge. If you don’t know and understand a language, then can you acquire knowledge in that language? No, it’s not possible. You can only cram books but can’t grasp knowledge. Here, in Pakistan, we reprimand students by saying that they are not reading books, but we never look at the reasons which compel them to get rid of reading books.
There may be many reasons but what I know from asking different students who were fond of reading, is not understanding English. They all said that we love reading books but we find it difficult reading books. In school or college, we waste our twelve years in learning languages, Urdu and English, while we had to get knowledge.
Cramming is so drastic and difficult, it makes students bored. A student can’t cram more than two pages in one hour. After cramming for one hour, he gets bored and leaves reading books. Cramming doesn’t give him any benefit and it dissuades them from reading books. Cramming is no less than besetting himself mentally.
Our education system has always been criticized by many scholars and intellectuals, for not providing good education to students. Government schools have always failed in providing standard education, some foreign-based private schools are providing good education i.e. Oxford education system in Pakistan, but these are present in some cities of Pakistan. Only elite-class students can get admission there, because of the high fees.
In Pakistan, Urdu is spoken by 7pc of people which is Very little, Not even worth mentioning. Even though education in Urdu is a problem in getting knowledge to some extent we can say, but it is not a big problem. Education should be available for everyone in their mother tongue.
If we want to make our children habitual in books reading and fond of books reading, then we have to provide them education in their mother tongue, so they could understand books and get new knowledge. If they understood the concepts and theories, they would develop their thinking and produce new knowledge.
(Adil Ahmad is student of BS English at International Islamic University Islamabad (IIUI).