No nation can claim to be sovereign and independent in the true sense unless its population is educated and literate. An uneducated populace can neither understand national interest nor can play an active role in nation building. The only way to gain success and glory is to get education both at individual and national level.
Pakistan came into being on 14 August, 1947 and since that day, our successive governments focused on defence needs of the country as their first priority because our eastern border was quite vulnerable to Indian aggression. So, it was the need of the hour to raise a strong defence force to counter the nefarious designs of the enemy against dear motherland. For this, every government allocated huge funds from the budget to meet the defence requirements of the country. As a result, from day one, the government was compelled to shift its focus on the defence of the country neglecting the foremost need of the country to adequately educate the people of the country.
Article 25-A of Constitution of Pakistan requires the state to provide free and compulsory quality education to children from 5 to 16 years of age. “The State shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of five to sixteen years in such a manner as may be determined by law”.
In Pakistan, there are three education systems that run parallel to one another. First is government-run education system where children from middle or lower middle class are educated. Second is private education system also known as English medium institutions where children from elite class are educated. Third one is madressa education system where children from marginalized or poor classes are educated. These three disparate education systems are producing students with different thinking and ideologies which are to a great extent in clash with one another. For example, those who are educated from elite or English medium institutions are labelled as liberal and agents of the west while those who are educated from madressas are dubbed as fundamentalists and extremists. A country which has not a uniformed education polices and system will take the consequences in shape of rising tides of anarchy, chaos, fanaticism, sectarianism and extremism as is witnessed in Pakistan on daily basis.
The government of Pakistan has failed to implement uniformed education system all through the country and as a result, we see mushrooming growth of educational institutions beyond the purview of the state policies. It is sad and tragic to note that our education system is creating divides, injustice and inequality in the society instead of acting as a catalyst for unification of the society.
Our successive governments have failed to realize the importance and power of an educated society which will automatically reach the pinnacle of glory and success. One the one hand, our state education is very miserable and pathetic and on the other hand, the state could not enforce a uniform education system which has resulted in the feelings of ethnicity, provincialism and racism. Our education system could not cultivate the feelings of unity and harmony in the society. Today, we are at each others’ throats at the drop of a hat. We have subordinated national interest to racial, ethnic, provincial or individual interest. Our federating units are at dagger’s drawn over small and petty maters. Sadly speaking, our nation stands directionless and aimless. We are victimised by vested interests. Our precious national resources are plundered by foreign powers and we have turned a blind eye towards them. All this happens only because our masses are largely illiterate and ignorant.
Unless and until we reform our education system and policies, Pakistan will keep lagging behind in the comity of advanced and developed nations. We will have to enforce uniformed education system for the whole country. We will have to promote our national language as a tool for change. The government should declare education emergency and allocate maximum resources for educating the nation. Once we achieve 100 percent literacy rate, our economy and defence will automatically be strengthened.