“Education is the key to unlock the golden door of freedom.” –George Washington Carver
We all know the importance of education. It is the most important aspect of any nation’s survival in the modern day world. Education determines the future of a nation. So that’s why we have to adopt our education policies very carefully because our future depends on these policies.
Islam also emphasises on education and its importance but I think in our country we truly are at loss. Our politicians and bureaucrats have not been able to figure out our education system. Neither our schools nor our madrassas (Islamic education centres) are educating our youth in this regard. In the institutions that are supposed to polish them into scholars for east and west, they are being provided with degrees that only help them develop into “money machines”. We are only burdening our children with heavy books and enrolling them into reputed, big schools for what that put a financial stamp on the child, that he could afford an education here, just for the upheaval of social status?
On the other hand, in our madrassas we are preparing people who can never adjust in the modern society. The education provided in madrassas is not compatible to the modern day requirements. It is an unfair race, a madrassa student’s starting line and finishing line is more apart than the other students. It is crystal clear that Islamic education is necessary for Muslims but it is also a fact that without modern education no one can compete in this world. There are many examples of Muslim scholars who not only studied the Holy Quran but also mastered other subjects like physics, chemistry, biology, astronomy and many more, with the help of Holy Quran.
I think with the current education system we are narrowing the way for our children instead of widening it. There is no doubt that our children are very talented, both in schools and inmadrassas, we just need to give them proper guidance to groom and mentor them, give them the space to become useful. The education system we are running with is not working anymore. We have to find a way to bridge this gap between school and madrassa. Robert Maynard Hutchins described it: “The object of education is to prepare the young to educate themselves throughout their lives.”
Sadly, in Pakistan our defence budget has always been exponentially more than our educational budget. Edward Everett said, “Education is a better safeguard of liberty than a standing army.” The wars have been won by knowledge and technology through pen and paper, wars are never won by weapons. Since 1947 not a single government has been able to change this scenario. For the price of one grenade, almost 20 to 30 children can go to school for a whole year. With all the brains in the world, why haven’t we opted for peace and pen?
It’s hopeless when it comes to the policy makers of Pakistan. Every year policy for education is reviewed by the government but the results are same: The illiteracy rate keeps rising in Pakistan, according to a recent survey. “Nai Roshni School” or “Parha Likha Punjab” can never make a difference. The future of our country depends on how we choose to educate our children. It’s high time we focus all our energies on that; otherwise, it’s going to be too late for Pakistan.