A sad state of affairs

  • http://tribune.com.pk/story/1056048/education-in-a-shambles/

    Comment by S.R.H. Hashmi

    Between 30 and 40 percent schools without basic facilities like electricity, water, bathrooms and boundary walls. And almost half of the children of school-going age, amounting to no less than 24 million, out of schools.

    Playgrounds were once considered to be an essential part of the schools, and were instrumental in keeping the children physically fit. However, if there were any, they would have been used up for commercial activities. And in a situation where even bathrooms are dispensed with, who would think of the playgrounds.

    Also, I read elsewhere that in Balochistan, overall literacy rates have dropped from the year before, while female literacy rate is down in Sindh. And they were not very high to start with.

    These are terrible figures, more so in a country like Pakistan which needed rapid increase in literacy rates to cover the long way it is behind.

    And it is not even because the country is poor. Sri Lanka is not a wealthy country, but it has managed to bring literacy rate almost to 100 percent.

    It is more a matter of not giving education the priority it deserves. It is an essential ingredient for the development of the nation but not in our country, because our vision-less leadership doesn’t think so.

    Unfortunately, our corrupt, inept and thick-headed leaders seem to think that Orange trains, Green buses, Metros and motorways are all there is to national development.

    Another reason for their preferences for projects like metros, motorways, etc is that they bring them quick commission, which is about all most of them are in politics for.

    And read in conjunction with the reports of widespread stunted-growth among Pakistani children caused by malnutrition, the picture becomes even more depressing.

    Plus the job market is bleak.

    And to multiply our misfortunes, population is just about bursting at the seams..

    At the time of partition, the population of our Eastern wing was considerably higher than the Western wing. However, despite having started with the same type of religious and economic background as the Western wing, the Bengalese managed to control their population and it is now substantially lower than us, both in terms of birth rate and the absolute numbers. Once I asked a Bengali colleague as to how they managed to do it, and he told me that their government supplied condoms in such abundance that sometimes children were seen using these as balloons, which sounded funny. Of course it would be much more than that but it clearly showed their sense of direction.

    As compared to that, our Population Planning people would have spent bulk of the budget on making foreign tours to study how other countries managed the issue. And their trips would not be to countries similar to ours but preferably to the developed world, with the intention more to get free holidays with expenses paid by the government. Another big chunk would be spent on fancy advertising campaigns, providing big kick-backs, and the rest would go on providing perks to the staff. And all this would hardly leave anything for the actual field work, so it is no wonder we are as many as we are.

    So with the primary objective most of our leaders being self-enrichment at all costs – to the country - we end up having low literacy-rates, malnutrition among children and adults, dismal job market and uncontrolled population And all this provides a fertile ground for the rather rapid growth of intolerance, militancy, extremism and terrorism.

    And our approach even to this grave problem is non-serious. We are happy finishing off militants physically, unmindful of the fact that the system generates at least two new recruits for every terrorist felled. The menace can only be eliminated by developing a counter-narrative, propagating it effectively and fighting the battle in the streets and towns, and not just in the tribal belt. However, there is no significant move towards that.

    Surely, we have got to be serious sometime, on pressing issues at least.