- Defects of the system.
- Remedies for the same.
No human system can be wholly good and perfect. This is as true of our educational system as of any other system. But our educational system suffers more because, really speaking, it is not our system at all. It is the system devised by the English rulers of Pakistan It was imposed upon us for a definite purpose. That purpose was to prepare Pakistan is to help the British in the government and administration of our own country. In other words, the educated Pakistani was not to be really educated but only efficient and loyal in serving the cause of his masters. This is the meaning of the statement, often made, that our educational system produces only clerks and counting machines. In short, our educational system is essentially antinational in conception. It is foreign in spirit and expensive in practice. This is its chief defect and from it follow all other defects.
This outstanding basic defect has resulted in rendering the Pakistan educational system extremely narrow in scope and unrealistic. It has made education almost wholly literary and its products can do at best only clerical jobs. And since such jobs are limited, the result is a strange thing known as educated idleness or the unemployment of the educated. This is most absurd. We can understand people being unemployed for want of education but it is ironical to see educated people wandering without proper work. The reason for this, of course, is that people educated in our present system can be absorbed only in a very small field of employment. A system that teaches people to serve only in minor administrative jobs will always have this fundamental defect. We should get rid of this as early as possible, otherwise, our education will be teaching us to the core to be anti-national and unemployed.
Secondly, our educational system suffers from an excess of intellectuality. The power of our intellect is very useful but without a heart and a conscience to guide it, it becomes more harmful than good. Power without goodness is an evil. Much of the corruption in private and public life is the result of a keen mind and a blunted soul. If education is to build good character, it will have to provide for the development of the emotions as well as the brains.
In addition, an over-intellectual education weakens the body as much as it blunts the soul. The ideal of passing examinations and competitive tests forces youths to apply themselves wholly to reading and writing. The strain of such a course on the health is very great, and it results in stunted limbs, shortsightedness and many other physical ailments.
Thirdly, a foreign medium of instruction in our educational institution is a very great handicap to our youths for many reasons. English is a good language in its own way, and it has an international importance in the world of science, commerce and diplomacy. But to introduce it right from the primary stage of education is to place an unnatural burden on our children and to prevent a healthy outlook on life itself. The greatest mischief of such an introduction is that a lot of time is taken in merely learning this difficult language, and even then, the results are not at all satisfactory. Besides this, our own languages are bound to be neglected in such a system. Subjects can be learnt quickly and easily only in one’s own mother tongue, and, therefore, English should be replaced by Pakistani languages as early as possible. Such a change will not only save time and improve our standards of knowledge but will also give us a healthy outlook on our own national life and culture.
Our system of education is very expensive. Only a fortunate few could afford to get the benefits of this education, such as they are. In an economically backward country like ours, education should be cheap enough to permit everyone to reap its benefits. The present system makes education a luxury that only the well-to-do could afford to indulge. Education, on the other hand, is a necessity which everyone needs. Our education could be madę cheaper without cheapening the standards. This is for the Government to do.
The system of examinations, too, is largely defective. It makes for an unnatural concentration on studies during only a few weeks of the academic year when the examinations are held. There is a sort of examination epidemic every year which starts in about February and ends by about April. It is in this period that students suddenly become passionate disciples of knowledge and beat their poor brains out of shape by mugging up what they consider to be answers to important questions. The result of such an unnatural strain is that they learn but little and forget even that little immediately after their examinations.
The only way to prevent this is to spread the examinations over the whole of the academic year in such a way as to induce the students to be alert at all times in devoting themselves fo their studies. Whether examinations themselves are real tests of intelligence is another question, but supposing they are, we have to hold them periodically in the course of the academic year.
These are the outstanding defects of our present system of learning. There are yet other limitations of this system, but if these are remedied, there is no doubt that we will have raised our standards and made the system good. The remedies for these defects suggest themselves. They are already being introduced by our government in the course of our Five-Year Plans. We are all well aware of our needs and every effort is being niade to make education national, rational and universal. The most important rcmcdy at the present time is the introduction of the mother-tongue as the medium of instruction and, additionally, the introduction of vocational education. We must make every youth of ours able to earn a decent and honourable living. It is only thus that we can stop indiscipline and make our youths good citizens. It is the proverbial idle mind that makes for indiscipline. If young men and women are given the right courses of study in the right medium of instruction, we will have solved one of the most pressing problems of Pakistan.
Let us hope that the objectives of the Five-Year Plans will be realised and that the present defects of our educational system removed. Let us hope that we will now onwards go on producing socially useful citizens of a free country, instead of babus and clerks fit only to serve foreign rulers. Now Pakistan needs a new educational system, free from the defects referred to. It is good that our Five-Year Plans have recognised these evils and introduction of remedies for the same. A true system of education should produce honest citizens and efficient workers. It should make men sound in body and sound in mind and sound also in soul. Unemployment will definitely diminish when we remove the urban bias which at present we have given to our educational system. By giving it a rural bias, by changing the medium of instruction and by opening vocational and technical schools, we will surely have done a good deal in removing the defects of our present educational system.