Lessons to learn from CSS 2019 result
The recently announced final result of CSS 2019 (2.5 % passing rate) is a glaring manifestation of the deeply-entrenched flaws and fault lines in our education system. The result is a crystal clear message for the stakeholders on the decay and decadence of our education system that, being based on rote learning, is devoid of any sort of critical thinking. It offers a food for thought to our educationists and policymakers to overhaul the educational system .There is a dire need to shift the paradigm of education; from what to think to how to think. The purpose of education is to replace an empty mind with a mind full of knowledge and the one that has the capacity to think without any external influence.
According to renowned scholar Noam Chomsky, it’s not important what we cover in the class, it’s important what you discover. But the state of affair in Pakistan is heart-wrenching where educational institutes have become only degree-awarding factories as they are producing robots devoid of emotions and creativity.
This article is aimed to provide a critical and compelling analysis of the prevailing loopholes in our education system and to also give plausible policy directions to reap the fruits of purposeful education in this era of globalization.
Education is a life-encompassing process which demands comprehensive and holistic approach. Rightly remarked by the Nobel Prize-winner, Albert Einstein “Education is not the learning of facts but the training of mind to think.” In simple words, education develops powers of mind to think critically and view the world in a logical perspective. Critical thinking and independent judgment are the inherent outcomes of effective education. It leads to the emergence of rational personality that forms the basis of an enlightened, democratic society.
Need of purposeful education in Pakistan
The story of education in the land of the pure is grim and gloomy. This is deeply linked with historical legacy of British elitist education system and a sheer lack of political will in the post-partition era. The prevalent education system in Pakistan is traditional and promotes parallel education which has polarized and radicalized the society. It encourages rote learning and mars creativity and innovation .The dogmatic syllabus and outdated examination or assessment system have produced a lot that is incapable to compete with the ever-growing globalizing trends of education.
In this era of knowledge-based economy, institutes of higher education are not equipped with expertise and specializations to foster research and innovative thinking. Education is not merely about socio-economic development, it is a national security issue in developing countries like Pakistan. The staggering population growth of 2.4% per annum, coupled with inadequate allocation of funds (2% of GDP), has resulted in a breeding ground for extremism and fanaticism in the youth which constitute 65% of our population.
This is high time we converted this liability into an asset by investing liberally in the human resource development that will open gateways to sustainable and inclusive development. Structural and systematic reforms backed by political will and technical skill are inevitable to place the country on the trajectory of peace and prosperity. A robust policymaking process, which should include all the stakeholders to develop a broad, evidence-based mechanism on mutual consultation, seems inevitable. The underlying focus of the reforms should be on a homogenous education system with unified and innovative syllabus that can meet the challenges of the globalized world. It will largely contribute to the social justice and economic prosperity resulting in national integration.
The incumbent PTI government’s agenda of human resource development is a paradigm shift from the hardware development of society to its software, at least in terms of vision.
A workable policy recommendation should include the following Holistic 4E (Expansion, Equity, Excellence, and Employability) strategy.
In this strategy:
‘Expansion’ refers to the increase in the enrollment rate at primary and higher levels of education to increase the country overall literacy rate from 58% to a level at par with other South Asian countries like Sri Lanka, Nepal and India.
‘Equity’ means the inclusion of the excluded ones, i.e. to encourage female and marginalized sections of society for social and political empowerment in the underdeveloped areas of Balochistan and former FATA.
‘Excellence’ is to impart quality education that should develop minds and inculcate tolerance in students. A well-formed mind is better than a well-filled mind.
‘Employability’ implies the production of graduates who are well equipped with professional skills that can contribute exponentially in the acquisition of employment and carrier development.
Realization of the dream of true education
It is need of the hour that the incumbent government materializes its leader’s dream of “Riyasat-e-Madina’ that is based on the core ingredient of true education. Education reforms should be implemented in letter and spirit so as to usher to a new era of sustainable development based on egalitarian values of equality, tolerance and mutual respect. It will earn Pakistan a positive reputation in the comity of nations.
I will conclude this piece with the words of former US President Abraham Lincoln who said:
“The philosophy of school room in one generation will be the philosophy of government in the next generation.”
The author is currently serving as assistant Director in federal government department in Peshawar. He ia also a CSS 2019 qualifier. He has keen interest in national and international affairs.