Education and the Role of State

Education is a social instrument through which man can guide his destiny and shape his future. An unenlightened mind is nothing but a sorry lamp to light the steps of any man or woman. In his famous book “Islamic,” Muhammad Marmaduke Pick Thal writes: “Neither the Holy Qur’an nor the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H.) ever contemplated the existence of an ignorant Muslim. Indeed, ignorant Muslim is a contradiction in terms.” He says

“At certain period of their history, the Muslims began to turn their backs upon a part of what had been enjoined to them. They discarded half the SHARIAH – The part which ordered them to seek Knowledge and education and the Christians of the west about the; same time, began to act according to that portion of the Shariah which the Muslims were discarding and so advanced in spite of all the anathemas of their priesthood”

In fact, our educational system has failed to achieve the objectives anathemas hot been able to change the society according to its cherished goal. After the “Fall of Dacca” our educational needs have increased manifold and our educational system needs to be modified according to the basic and local needs of the people: Prof. Martin S. Dwarkin, in his book “Dewey Education” writes, “Education is mans, most formidable tool for survival. It is said that there are three main technique through which we can solve’ our problems.

First REVOLUTION, second WAR and third EDUCATION. But EDUCATION is on the top. It is a mean of social change or of social stability.” So a complete and general education is that which fits a man to prepare justly, skilfully and magnanimously all the offices both private and public, of peace and war. By education, we mean three things. First Mental, i.e. spiritual and social education, second, physical education that includes Military Training, and third, Technical or vocational education which introduces the prospective worker to the general principles of all the processes of production and at the same time gives to children practical information regarding the use of various working tools. Education has many facets – academic, aesthetic, moral, spiritual, physical, social, practical, vocational and education for home life, citizenship and leisure. All education is farce if it is not established according to its national as well as local needs. If we assess the causes for the “Fall of Dacca,’ we will see that our defective and aimless, rather hypocritical, system of education was mainly responsible for it.

Unfortunately this land of ours remained under the foreign domination for a long time. All these rulers established institutions in order to impart education according to their own pattern of thought so that it could serve their own vested interests. They intended to train clerks and prepare a class of people to execute their plans and policies. According to T. B. Macauly, the system of education introduced by the British Government was meant to create a class of people, Indian in blood and colour but English in taste, opinion, moral and intellect i.e. soul” vide his “The Minutes” 1935 page 26:116.”). So the system of education passed on to Pakistan by the British was in no way compatible with the aspirations of the people. It was utterly inimitable for the Muslim society and its demands.

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William Johnston, in his “Report of the Indian Commission on Education”, writes:

“The sub-Continent was not an uneducated region when it came to our hands. It had from a very long period an elaborate and sound system of education”.

It is our misfortune that we continued to inherit the system of education introduced by our former rulers. The changes we tried to introduce since the partition can be defined as a series of experiments or rather gropings for a new ideal which should suitably reproduce the old. And these gropings still go on. Every government comes forward with a new education policy, outwardly very attractive but to implement it always remained a problem of serious nature. In fact, our formal education has veered away from the old ideal of urbanity and piety · which sought to equip the students for this world as well as the World hereafter. In November 1947, the Ministry of Education convened a conference- “All Pakistan Education conference” It passed a resolution for “free compulsory Primary education for all.” As a slogan, the resolution was welcomed throughout the country. This conference made three major recommendation as follows.

  • That education system in Pakistan should be inspired by Islamic ideology, particularly by the idea of universal brotherhood, tolerance and Justice.
  • Free and compulsory education should be introduced.
  • Technical and scientific education be provided.

Unfortunately, these recommendations were not carried out properly. Then came a series of “Five year Plans”. When the governments came under severe criticism from the public, the commission on National Education 1959, took cognisance of bringing the educational system of the country in conformity with the aspirations of the people. The second Five year Plan (1960-65) emphasised the need for promoting Islamic studies and research work in order to meet the needs of an age of science and Technology. The second five year plan was very ambitions as its following highlights would show:

  • To define Islam in terms of its fundamentals, particularly its basic concepts of universal brotherhood, tolerance and social justice.
  • To interpret the teachings of Islam so as to bring out their dynamic character.
  • To carry research in the contribution of Islam to human thought.
  • To organise and encourage research in Islamic history
  • Compulsory schooling scheme for the age group 6-11
  • Training and research in agriculture, industry and all the branches of science.
  • Emphasis on quality and quantity’ of technical education.
  • To increase enrolment of primary schools, improvement of secondary schools by providing them scientific equipment, libraries and good buildings.
  • To establish universities and institutions for education in science subjects and technical as well as vocational education. In this plan, great emphasis was given to religious education. The need for religious education was felt because nation wanted men of character, true.

It is pity that education failed to promote a national consensus and education did not play its proper role in national development though its aims were very high. The reason for this failure was the lack of talented, conscientious and devoted teachers. No effort was made to produce a class of teachers who could work sincerely for the implementation of these recommendations. Our failure in the past forty eight years has no parallel. Although it is not possible to attribute this failure to any single factor, one can say with confidence that the entire planning in the field of education was lopsided. The structure of any progressive education system capable of meeting the demands of any modern nation or state has to be like a pyramid, widest at the base tapering systematically to the top of high specialisation. Another reason for failure of education system is that the affairs of education were conducted by the persons who had the least experience in this field, or sorry to say, they lacked competence and proper education. Consequently, in our educational system of the past, the base was never really broadened. On the one hand, the people were deprived of their basic right of education and on the other they were not given the necessary directions to be productive to the state. Unless education both for citizenship and leaders hips is provided, no good results can be expected. Let the past history serve as a great lesson for us. Managers may or may not be necessary but leaders are essential. Our educational system has long suffered from the managerial type of administration. It is a type of administration that is static, dull, non-progressive, and status quo. Maintaining such an administration is not relevant for the educational system of a developing country like Pakistan.
Our education needs re-orientation. It needs leaders who are properly motivated, adequately dynamic. They should not be problem blind but have a broad vision, deep insight and genuine understanding of the issue involved. They must be imbued with the spirit of Islam and work enthusiastically so that our educational system may play a fundamental part in the preservation of the ideals which led to the creation of Pakistan and thus the concept of it as a unified nation. The moral and spiritual values of Islam combined with the freedom, integrity and strength of Pakistan should be the ideology to inspire our educational system. We should make every effort to compete in the race of higher science and technology in a world which is moving very fast towards material perfection. We have to ensure that there is a massive shift from aimless general or liberal education to a more meaningful agro-technical education, it is essential that every student who comes out of the institution should carry with him enough skills to be absorbed in our socio-economic frame work as a good worker. Our education should be a comprehensive system aimed not only to educate the mind and to make the students achieve economic independence, but also to help them to build up character and a healthy attitude to life. They should be so equipped as to defeat all the evil forces that endanger the very existence of our country such as provincialism, sectarianism, ethnic issues, class distinctions, Religious intolerance, bribery, corruption, Nepotism, Jobbery, Black-marketing, Smuggling, Ignorance and political and social injustice.

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