Dr Ayesha Ashraf
PAKISTAN celebrates 25 December as the birthday of Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah; its founder, and, on this very day, Pakistanis do remember and appreciate his strenuous efforts to establish a separate homeland for Muslims on 14th August 1947. Fortunately, Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s role didn’t end in 1947; rather, he had formulated a strong and functional vision on how to operate Pakistan for achieving prosperity. Education was one of his concerns, and he was gifted with a rare vision for the education sector that was far ahead of his times. Due to his untiring efforts, All Pakistan Educational Conference was organized in Karachi from 27th Nov to 1st December in 1947. In his message, delivered on this memorable occasion, he primarily focused on strengthening of essential aspects of education.
First of all, he acknowledged the fact that Islam is self-sufficient in every way and that the basis of the education shall be Islamic. His speech at Karachi Bar Council, on 25 January 1948, also manifests his utmost faith in Islam as he stated: “Islamic principles today are as applicable to life as they were 1300 years ago….Islam and its idealism has taught us democracy”. After acquiring a sound knowledge regarding the religion, he urged Pakistanis to study and explore scientific education, he proposed: There is an immediate and urgent need for training our people in scientific and technical education in order to build up our future economic life and we should see that our people undertake science, commerce, trade and particularly well-planned industries. But do not forget that we have to compete with the world which is moving very fast in this direction.
Another research study titled “Quaid’s Vision of a Progressive Pakistan” quote Quaid’s words as, “Every citizen will have an equal opportunity to make progress irrespective of caste, creed and religion”. Other than his message of education for all, Quaid also proposed that education must have to inculcate social, vocational and spiritual potentials in the learners in order to make a sound minded nation which can take the country in a right direction. In his welcome address at Edwards College Peshawar in April 1948, Jinnah strongly focused on specialized education. He stated, “It should be the aim of our colleges to produce first-class experts in agriculture, zoology, engineering, medicine and other specialised subjects. Only thus shall we be able to come to grips with the problems that are now facing us in the task of raising the standard of living, especially of the common man”.
Similarly, he stressed on the need to educate more people in commerce and industry which are the back bone of economy of a country. Therefore, in his memorable address delivered at Dhaka University, he advised the students to enter into these professions. Unfortunately, Pakistan is still unable to achieve a considerable literacy rate; hence, today is the crying time to recall, revisit and materialize the Quaid’s dream of an ideally educated country. This year, on 25 December, the teachers and students should celebrate the day by appreciating his efforts to promote education in Pakistan. They are supposed to strive hard to attain maximum knowledge, academic excellence and research skills that will ensure the prosperity of our nation. The students, who are the future of our country, should remember Quaid’s words when he advised, “Develop a sound sense of discipline, character, initiative and a solid academic background. You must devote yourself whole-heartedly to your studies, for that is your first obligation to yourselves, your parents and to the State. You must learn to obey for only then you can learn to command”.
Eventually, all the stakeholders must act upon Quaid’s recommendation of “Work, Work and Work” (The Pakistan Times Lahore on 14 October 1947) and his suggestion: “We have to learn a lot and we have to adjust ourselves to new developments” quoted again in The Pakistan Times Lahore on 21st April 1948.Similarly, the state must ensure that an inclusive education system is provided to the citizens with better investment and policies. Moreover, education should be provided to everyone, especially women and children, at every nook and corner of country without any discrimination. The sincere uplift of education sector will have an impact on improving the country’s image and if it happens then no one can stop Pakistan from playing its role for the prosperity of world. Let’s join hands and work day and night to fulfil our Quaid’s dream!
—The writer is Assistant Professor English University of Jhang.