Monday, April 9, 2012


Published in Education Informer's April, 2012 Edition
Published on Saach.TV on April 9, 2012
I have never been a regular student after my matriculation. I was never serious in taking classes when I got admission in my intermediate in commerce and did my bachelors as a private student from Punjab University. This four or five year’s distance from taking regular classes left a desire and temptation in my heart. A temptation to get a regular education and to enjoy the fun that comes along with a college or university for that matter.
My below average performance in bachelors forced me to look for universities that could accept a student like me. My search brought me to the door of my current educators; Preston University. Frankly speaking, when I applied for the admission and came to know that I’d have to go through a formal test, which will ascertain my admissibility, I felt a bit unsecured. I was scared whether I’ll get the admission or not. On top of that, I also got intimidated by the name of the university, Preston and Princeton almost sound alike.
All my curiosity about the university studies vanished when I became acquainted with the set up and learned how things work. Though, I enjoyed the cafeteria, company of friends and bunking the classes but my real cause of despair was the time I spent in front of the teachers, except for one. I am studying under the teachers who are mostly part-time i.e. teaching just for the sake of part-time money making job. Amount of permanent faculty members is very bleak. Teachers, who get personal with their disciples. I was once suspended from this university because I questioned the teacher and that led to my suspension without even hearing me out. Teachers, who are known to give marks to students of opposite gender.
Majority of the students come to university to attain good GPA and get ‘A’s as much as they can. The race to get ‘A’s somehow divert their real cause, which is to attain knowledge rather than marks. The quest for knowledge is overshadowed by the GPA. Only this reason is enough to brush aside the credibility of a university or a student as it leads to nepotism from the teachers, no improvisation and initiation from the students as they are content with good marks and therefore no research initiatives. In short, at the end of the day, we produce good crammers, no Arfa Karims.
I also experienced teachers who used to mark the students on the basis of their face value. A student’s reputation went before him. It doesn’t matter what he writes inside the assignment, all it needs for the teacher is to read the name of the student on the title page and ascertain his marks. No one ever gets to know what new dimension is presented by his mate in his assignment. One instance was a very recent one, when a very talented and senior classmate of mine presented very valuable information (a new economic indicator developed by Bhutan) in his assignment to the teacher but we never came to know about it. Eventually, he disclosed it in a discussion in the class; else we would never have been able to get benefit from that. Majority of students in this university are relying on a pre-cooked meal. Though, we have to cook our own in our final project but overall, we are producing followers, no leaders. We are prescribed textbooks and that eradicates any chance for a student to google and dig out literature from different books and sources. Nonetheless, the university is placed in the top ranking of Higher Education Commission.
We, the youth of Pakistan, are the assets of Pakistan. Pakistani government has, over the years, implied the policy of privatization and that also included education. I don’t want to budge over the concept of privatization but the fact is that that nurturing of young talent is the responsibility of government rather than fat-capitalists. I know we have many great private-sector institutions and they are producing good talent but they are also a source of discrimination in the society. When we talk about a uniform standard of education, then that means bringing everyone on the same level. A student of University of Punjab and LUMS should be treated the same way and they both should be on the same level.
People argue that HEC has the mandate to supervise the education sector and look into all the malpractices, but like everything else, education is also over-looked. Every night when I turn on the TV, I hear people saying that our future is very bright but judging by the current state of affairs, I am afraid that the expectations people are having from us are far-fetched and optimistic. It is time, we take education in the fold of public sector rather than letting the precious talent rot in the hands of blood sucking capitalists, who take the divine duty of education as money-making opportunity.