Education System in Pakistan
As I have been through the education system of Pakistan for almost 16 years, coupled with my teaching experience at an intermediate level, I got first-hand exposure to the loopholes, problems, and flaws in the education system of Pakistan.
In this essay, I will try to highlight some serious issues and flaws in the education system of Pakistan and a few recommendations on how it can be improved.
In Pakistan, the very objective of education that is to inculcate values, to develop analytical abilities, to nurture moralities, to burnish talent and creativity, etc. is altogether unachieved.
The outdated syllabus, the ineffective teaching methodology, the obsolete examination system; in fact everything associated with the education system of Pakistan direly needs reforms.
The Outdated Syllabus
I don’t know what update in the educational curriculum of Pakistan we are going to see under the ongoing project of ‘Single National Curriculum’, we can only hope for the best to come – but, the syllabi that have been taught in government and private sector at primary, secondary, and tertiary levels have wreaked havoc to the socio-economic and political fabric of the country.
Ever wondered, why Pakistan’s education system couldn’t produce a world-class scientist, an IT expert, an educationist, a leader, or a reformer? Everyone wonders, I suppose – the reason is ‘the outdated curriculum’.
How can an IT expert/professional be produced when even in today’s era, children are reading about the floppy disk – the thing that even couldn’t be found today, like dinosaurs?
How can this country produce a world-class scientist when at matriculation and intermediate levels, students get through their practical exams and viva voce by not even performing a single practical? What good does it bring when students are made to re-write all the practical’s procedures just to get 2 marks for maintaining the practical notebooks during matriculation and intermediate exams?
How can the education system of Pakistan produce a leader or a reformer, when students are made to read about fictional characters like ‘Mr. Chips’ who are good for nothing, but not about the real heroes from our Islamic history?
How can Pakistan progress as a nation when the students are not exposed to the modern issues of today’s world? Let’s talk about domestic violence, an insidious issue in almost all developing countries esp. Pakistan. Why doesn’t our syllabus cater to the issues like this? Why sex-education is missing, that is still considered a taboo subject, while it is a dire need of the hour when sexual abuse and rape cases are rising?
It is high time the concerned authorities must update the syllabi and bring it at par with the needs of today’s era.
Ineffective Teaching Methodology
As teachers are also the products of the flawed education system in Pakistan, an effort to bring innovation in teaching methodology on part of them is altogether missing. The conventional approach of making the students learn the answers through cramming and then reproduce the same in the exams is still followed.
When they are made to cram the information, the students are then encouraged to regurgitate that crammed things in their papers which ultimately bring them good grades (that we will talk about later). It is a real-time experience that even the toppers of any board examinations have topped by employing the same technique. Students write without knowing what they are actually writing. They cram the lines/answers through repetition heedless to what those actually mean.
Mostly, it is observed that the teachers use a ‘one size fits all’ approach. The intensive use of corporal punishments when students fail to keep pace with others is a common practice in educational institutions in Pakistan.
It has also been observed that teachers encourage the use of key books. Students are then directed to follow the guide books, and not to be dependent on the teachers.
While a teacher should inculcate the analytical abilities in the students, due to multiple reasons, even if being willing to, teachers cannot accomplish it. It is because a teacher has to follow an exam-oriented approach. Here, it is our old-fashioned and flawed examination system that is worthy of blame.
Teachers at all levels and in every sector must be provided vocational training before they are inducted into the institutions. Moreover, authorities must keep a check on the teacher’s performance and progress in catering to the diverse needs of students.
The Flawed Examination System in Pakistan
In Pakistan, the thoroughly flawed examination system only tests the cramming ability of the students. All the boards of Pakistan follow the same approach to examine the candidates. For example, in English subjects, students are required to learn or cram the same essays, stories, applications, letters, etc. that are written in the grammar book. The examination boards in Pakistan do not deviate from those fixed topics given in the book. Students can easily secure good grades by cramming the written essays, applications, stories, letters, etc. with zero creativity on their part.
Moreover, the process of paper-checking is also dubious. How can someone secure 75/75 or 100/100 marks in English or Urdu subjects? How can a topper secure 97 or 98 or even 99 percent marks in the board examination with no highlighted mistakes in the subjects? Okay, let’s agree for a moment that the marking is 100 percent fair. Then, how is it that with such talented students in Pakistan, we are still lagging far behind the world in the fields of science and technology?
Even in higher studies, students get degrees by irresponsibly plagiarizing the work of others and then reproducing that in their own research work. The Higher Education Commission of Pakistan and the universities must not be lenient to such corrupt practices.
The examination boards in Pakistan should make checked papers available online to students so that they can keep a check on their performance and evaluation. Or in other cases, if someone applies for rechecking, his paper should be brought up in front of him and rechecked to make him fully satisfied. In case, his marks increase on rechecking, the submitted fee for rechecking should be refunded. Also, in case great discrepancies are found in rechecking, a small penalty in any form should be imposed on the paper-checker which would nourish a sense of accountability in others.
Moreover, the examination boards should revisit their examination pattern and bring about changes that would help to inculcate analytical ability and creative writing skills in the students. For example, given essays in exams can be unseen and students are asked to depict their creative writing skills.
It is high time we must realize the importance of an up-to-date education system and structure. Maintaining the educational status quo would jeopardize our survival as a nation in the fast-growing and evolving world.