MINISTER of State for Education Engineer Balighur Rehman, who is otherwise a visionary and hardworking man, has frankly admitted that the education system of the country has many shortcomings and how these could be resolved was beyond his understanding. Speaking at the launching ceremony of a report on education in Islamabad on Thursday, he described its findings as worrisome but also considered it a step in the right direction, apparently because you can cure the malaise if you come to the right diagnosis.
No doubt, the subject of education has been devolved to the Province as per the understanding arrived at in the 18thConstitutional Amendment and the role of the Federation is limited to a small area and aspects but still the Minister of State has the capacity and the will to bring all stakeholders at one platform to discuss the shortcomings of the system and formulate a cohesive policy to address the challenge. There is no reason that any Province would oppose any saner proposal or idea to reform the moribund system of education that is not delivering as per requirements of the modern scientific and technological era. Experts point out that our general education system is focused only on examinations rather than preparing students for the future – to take up bigger responsibilities and catch up with the rest of the world. Students are forced to take tests that show only their retention power and not their actual capacity of knowledge. It is because of this that engineers and technicians generally cannot undertake actual work in technology. Barring a few institutions, majority of universities do not encourage research and development, which is supposed to be their fundamental job and education has been confined to mere a commercial venture to mint money or seek assistance from students to add to the lists of articles and publications of lecturers and professors, which is nothing but height of injustice not only to these students but also to the country as a whole. In several universities we have necessary infrastructure and good faculty but students have no motivation to do research. There is, therefore, need to build good educational institutions, establish latest labs and provide necessary funding for research and development besides improvement in curriculum.