Command and control over brains
THE institution I head, has prescribed grey trousers, white shirt and maroon tie for the students’ uniform.
Gray and maroon are the colours with many different shades; so every year I find a lot of difficulty in convincing my students to choose the right shade of maroon and grey.
Even a slight change in shade, practically distorts the whole concept of uniform. Same seems the problem with our syllabus and curriculum in our educational institutions.
It is a very common criticism on our society that we are not a nation but a disorganized crowd.
What makes us a nation and what changes us into a disorganized crowd; this is a very important question and without getting the answer to this question we could never dream of a prosperous tomorrow.
The most important thing which could play a vital role in strengthening our social fabric is nothing but our syllabus rather curriculum.
A very interesting fact is that in Pakistan we have a lot of educational institutions including primary and secondary schools, colleges and universities in public as well as in private sector.
Countless institutions of formal and informal institutions are being run by different NGOs too but in spite of such a huge number of educational institutions, the problem is still there; we are branded as a crowd.
The situation could have been controlled rather improved if in the last seven decades we had succeeded in providing our students a uniform educational curriculum.
The prescribed books for a child of class 5 living in a village are altogether different from those prescribed for the child living in a city and studying at some ‘posh’ educational institution.
Same difference could be observed in the atmosphere and facilities provided to both. Unfortunately after passing through two altogether different types of educational atmospheres and after getting through altogether different curriculum, our society expects from all of them to appear in the competitive examinations and ‘win the race’.
The most important thing is that we have never tried to formulate a practicable national educational policy.
All policies prepared for the improvement of educational system are nothing but bookish rather impractical.
In most of the cases the policy makers are not from the educationist strata; they could be good planners and good designers but not the educationists.
In other words, it is the same situation where an experienced principal of a college is assigned the responsibility of running a shoe factory.
In short, our education-system has badly failed in producing good Pakistanis and good Muslims just because we could never succeed in introducing an ‘ideology-based’ curriculum.
A lot of things are there to be revolutionized. Our educational system needs a very careful overhauling.
Without bringing all students, all institutions and all teachers on the same ‘ideological page’ we cannot make things better.
One of the basic purposes of education is to teach people what patience is and what tolerance is and how to think positively; without guiding our students towards a positive direction of thinking, we cannot expect from them a very sublime type of attitude.
In most of the western countries, the school going children are considered the future of the country and the centre of all attention.
From their day one in the educational system they are taught the fundamentals of ethics and morality.
They are taught who is a good man and what the basic characteristics of a good man are. According to an official document of the School Education Department of UK the designing of School Curriculum is one of the most important rather most sensitive task.
They have published an official policy on curriculum designing. According to that policy every state-funded school must offer a balanced and broadly based curriculum which promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils at the school and in the society.
It must prepare the pupils at the school for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life.
According to that document, all state schools are also required to make provision for a daily act of collective worship and must teach religious education.
The product of such a refined curriculum policy comes out in shape of immortal characters like Stephen Hawking.
In Pakistan, we have a lot of talent as well as boundless passion for hard work in our youth; but one thing this youth is missing badly is moral and spiritual grooming.
Without introducing a clear-cut educational policy and without designing a National Curriculum and without rigid-implementation of this policy, our youth could never be groomed.
Still it is not too late; what has been done could not be undone but we can plan what to do next for our tomorrow.
Without telling our students that extremism and honesty to the religion are altogether two different things and without making they realize that brains could never be convinced and controlled with force, the situation would always remain complicated.
—The writer is Principal of a Government College and senior columnist, based in Multan.