Saturday, 6 January 2018

Perspective 2017 (Plight of Education)

To start with, I would like to quote my favorite lines from 16th President of the United States Abraham Lincoln, as he once said, 
A child is a person who is going to carry on what you have started. He is going to sit where you are sitting, and when you are gone, attend to those things which you think are important. You may adopt all the policies you please, but how they are carried out depends on him. He will assume control of your cities, states and nations. He is going to move in and take over your churches, schools, universities, and corporations. All your books are going to be judged, praised or condemned by him. The fate of humanity is in his hands.  
And I want to add a few words to the saying of this great statesman, these are, “So educate him well, imbibe him with the values you dream of having yourself, make him able to discern right from the wrong, black from white and tell him to base his judgment on the scale of conscience and inner voice.”
Education is the key to all the dreams we see with our eyes open or shut. An uneducated person also has dreams which he is unable to fulfil despite his hard work and determination. An educated soul is a spark that can light the dark horizons no matter how entrenched that darkness may be. A teacher is the torchbearer of the nation from which emanate these little sparks that illuminate all the horizons of a nations being. He also is the ambassador of darkness and evil if he turns out his torch owing to his selfishness and lack of the realization of the trust nation has placed in him. He might be ruining not only those whom he teaches but also those who will be taught by those taught by him and perpetuate indefinitely to precipitate a condition of complete darkness of minds and enslavement of souls.
It would be pertinent to mention here that I have not landed into the profession of teaching by choice but rather by a chance of fate. I dreamt of flying aeroplanes while I was a child and to steer the foreign policy of the country after my graduation and I still wish to be in the foreign office not in the chilly classrooms of a school. But as the fate has withheld its wheel for time being I would confer that I have fallen into love with my job. It is quite fascinating to laugh at my own mistakes and puns with all these little scholars. It is contenting for me to learn that I have delivered something to those who didn’t know. It is of great comfort to find that they are happy that I am there. Having said it all, I am quite disappointed to see the plight of these little souls and can understand those unspoken words their conscience wants to speak. I can experience it all because I am a witness to it and have experienced the same experience first-hand.
In the middle of nineteenth century AD when the Muslim rule in India had formally come to an end with the last spark of hope extinguished after an unsuccessful revolt of 1857, many scholars sought to seek the reasons for the failures. They included the luminaries from all across the subcontinent irrespective of their religions and beliefs. Two of them being Raja Ram Mohan Roy and Sir Syed Ahmad Khan whose services for the emancipation indigenous population of India are still remembered with religious reverence. Both of them thought illiteracy, ignorance and lack of access to the modern western education have caused the doom of Majestic Indian Empire and downfall of such a rich cultural country. They worked to inculcate the sense of a great loss and provided for the compensation and fixtures of the past mistakes by opening schools, colleges and universities and by starting a drive to educate Indians in modern western style that saw the British Empire to conquer almost all the inhabitable part of the world. They worked for their respective communities so that they can regain the status they had shamefully surrendered to their British masters and to excel in the modern realities of life. Both of them had to face strong criticism and hurdles from the very people and communities they wished to serve, but their firm resolve and honesty with their mission brought fruitful results and eventually producing the marvels like Gokhale, Jinnah, Gandhi and many more who strived to free Indians from the shackles of slavery and subjugation. Aligarh still is considered the foundational base of Pakistan Movement and it was the reason why Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan in his final will allocated a major part of his property to be donated to Aligarh Muslim University.
After getting independence, people of the both countries and their leaders should have carried on the mission of their ancestors but, with the passage of time the resolve had weakened and the glitter of power and money had diverted the vision from most important subjects of existence to mere conflicts which would eventually result in dealing major blows to the economies, lives and properties from both sides.
The plight of education today, is not the scarcity of funds; neither is it the lack of resources and facilities nor it is the expertise that we lack. The real problem lies in the fact that we have badly failed in capitalizing the available resources efficiently, that we provide our students with very little space to manoeuvre. Not every child is born to be a scientist, a doctor, an engineer or a bureaucrat, the professions we usually expect them to adopt. There is a modicum of children who can fit into these glittery professions. A little insight into our educational structure reveals this major flaw. Those who are able to adopt this cookie cutter arrangement are termed bright and may somewhat excel, others fall victim of our collective disregard for other areas of creative reality.
If we start collecting data of how many good writers did we produce in last couple of decades, how many good poets and philosophers were we able to filter out of this huge populace, how many architects, artisans, musicians, filmmakers, strategists and thinkers our system has produced so far. Shall we attribute it to the lack of talent? Or that, the land which had produced marvels like Jinnah, Gokhale, Syed Ahmad Khan, Ghalib, Meer, Iqbal and Abdussalam has become barren. The sincere answer would most probably be that neither has this land become barren nor there is any lack if talent, it is the collapse of our academic system that has brought peril to this once the Jewel of the world’s Crown in terms of intellectual fertility.
The causes of our failures in education are so deeply entrenched that it now requires a complete overhaul, mere cosmetic makeovers won’t be of any merit and rather more disastrous because they tend to make the system look fascinating while hiding its hollowness from the inside. It has commonly been argued that the current education system has been imposed upon us by our British masters and we should abandon it at once. The argument is weak in its essence and brings forth another critical failure of our superficial analysis. The problem is not with the system of education that has been implemented in the subcontinent by the British masters, as it was the same system which helped the people of subcontinent to demand for their right to self-determination and freedom, it provided them with the political awareness they were lacking because of autocratic rulers who ruled the subcontinent for centuries and nothing was passed on for politics except intrigues and revolts. The same system can do the marvels today as it has done in the past. We might have to see more objectively to undo our mistakes and to rectify the problems.
The first and foremost in the list of problems is the teachers we hire to teach our children. Most of public educational institutions hire them on the basis of their ‘academic’ qualifications, no matter if they possess those qualifications in real sense or not. I am not attacking all those who are in service, but majority of them do not possess the modicum of relevant knowledge they must have to teach in a high school. The matters are worse in the private institutions where they tend to acquire the services of under qualified teachers who demand for lesser wages and can easily be subjugated and hence despite all the glittery appearance of those “English Medium” institutions they are not producing anything but waste.
Now I want to draw your attention to a rather more disturbing fact. When I passed my Higher Secondary Certificate Examinations and got an admission in an engineering university, I was taken aback by the revelations that were made there. I came to know that what we have yet been studying was all trash. It had nothing to do with the knowledge of engineering, though we have been told that we were doing pre-engineering. Our teachers just focused on providing us the answers to the questions in the exercises and we were to remember them and reproduce them exactly in the same manner in the exams. There was nothing more than that. We were told that science is the systematic method of obtaining knowledge employing observations and experiments and based on logical reasoning rather than firm beliefs. But actually we have been told to learn science if we were studying some piece of holy literature and have to remember it so that we can reproduce it exactly the same way. We were told that we would have to take practical examinations at the end of the subjective exams, but it was nothing but a hoax. The examiner would just ask us the same things we have already answered in our exams and his assistant would check our practical notebooks that we had copied from our seniors. The only thing we learnt about mathematics was that it was numbers that get added, subtracted, divided and multiplied and they have nothing to do with the world of material existence. Yet the cover of the book said, “The Mathematics is the mother of all the sciences and the Number Theory is the mother of the Mathematics.” We considered it nothing but a joke, the same way as the back covers of all our books were printed with a dove with an olive branch and “We want peace” Though the course of our Pakistan studies was so provocative, that it filled us with the rage to kill each and every Hindu on the face of Earth for all their intrigues against the “Muslims” of the subcontinent. It was filled with so many contradictions that our young minds were confused beyond imagination, for instance, at one point it said that the Hindus are the most treacherous beings on the planet and hence we needed to get freedom from British as well as Hindus, while on another occasion it maintained that Hindus and Muslims lived happily with one another, adopting one another’s customs for centuries. We were fed on lies and more lies.

O’ who is reading this, we have to tell our children the truth. We should not murder science, history, religion and every other thing we teach them. We don’t have to produce ‘Parrots’ as there is a plenty of them in nature. Have you ever wondered why one can’t see any management on our country? It is surely because we have produced the terrible managers that can hardly see outside the box. We do exhort that we should boycott all Zionist’s, Hindu’s, Christian’s etc. products because they have brought peril to the Ummah, but do we think that what alternative did we provide to the world for those products? We do say that English system has produced nothing but slaves, did we ever think that what we have done so far as a nation. While we proudly boast of being the pioneers of science we forget the bitter truth that those scientists also acquired their basic knowledge from the Greeks and that the work of our Great Muslim scientists has been augmented and developed more by Europeans than by the Muslims themselves. We do claim that we are the masters of the world, but have we ever thought of why the masters have failed so badly in each and every sphere of social existence.