Author’s Note: Please understand at the outset that this is just a concept….. It is by no means a total solution. It is just my idea which could be developed into a workable system by other brighter, more intelligent Pakistanis. If you think it might work; please publicize it; build on it. If you think it is a ludicrous suggestion; let it pass; there is no need to berate me … this is not about my intellect. Or lack thereof.
Let us start with a statistic: Daily Pakistani Births. A hugely conservative estimate puts this figure at approximately 12000 per day; this is after taking into account infant mortality. Recognize this harsh reality and then do some basic math. Plan an educational system. Cram 100 kids into one classroom; you need 120 classrooms; daily. Ten classrooms per school means 12 schools; daily. That’s just for new Pakistanis arriving each day. With well over a 100 million illiterate Pakistanis already here guess how big an effort is needed. We simply cannot achieve any meaningful literacy using conventional methods.
You need to forget the hype; the promises, the boldly ambitious, ‘rosy future’, political statements; you need to forget verbosity. Please understand that we do not have the teachers, the schools, the books, the money, the wherewithal. We never will. The slide will continue if we continue doing what we are doing. We shall never come anywhere close to achieving even a miniscule increase in our literacy rate.
This needs an out of the box solution. A ‘way out of the box’ solution.
I have one. A solution that not only provides 100% literacy but also the best possible education, at par with the best and most expensive public or private schooling. In record time. At nominal cost to the Government. More importantly, at NO cost to the students. Everyone has access to absolutely first rate, top quality education. My plan not only provides top quality education across the board, it also does away with the prohibitively expensive and financially crippling burden of school fees, tuition, uniforms, school buses etc. Parents are spared the agony while students are given access to the very best of teachers. It is an educational plan that can enable Pakistan to achieve 100% literacy meaningfully, rapidly and at the least possible cost.
THERE IS ONLY ONE PRECONDITION FOR IT TO SUCCEED, IT IS IMPERATIVE THAT IT IS IMPLEMENTED ACROSS THE COUNTRY IN TOTALITY. IT HAS TO BE A MANDATORY APPLICATION ACROSS ALL LEVELS OF SOCIETY. ALL SCHOOLS; GOVERNMENT, PRIVATE, ELITIST, CHARITABLE, RELIGIOUS MADRASSAHS; EVERY SINGLE ONE HAS TO BE INVOLVED. ONLY THEN WILL IT WORK.
THE SK PLAN FOR EDUCATING PAKISTAN
- Pool the best and brightest educational staff from the best schools across the country.
- Put these professionals together and develop absolutely first class syllabi up to 12th grade. (Variants of these already exist; they just need to be tweaked.)
- These syllabi must be in sync with the 21st Century and our National social and religious imperatives. Done properly, they will be very similar if not identical to those presently catering only for the privileged few.
- The syllabi then need to be fine-tuned for distance learning.
- Now comes the difficult steps. Shut down the myriad, embarrassingly frivolous morning shows on all TV channels; talk shows, cooking lessons, palmists, fortune tellers, dress designers, fashion gurus, preachers, evangelists, spiritual healers, hakeems, doctors, dubious experts expounding equally dubious theories; every single one. All these superfluous shows need to be put on hold while Pakistan gets educated.
- Instead, all morning air time of every TV channel is to be dedicated to distance learning education.
- The professional educationists can easily develop a comprehensive matrix of time, day, lesson, etc. to ensure that all subjects are covered comprehensively.
- Perhaps one channel or a set of channels may be assigned for one school year. Or for each subject.
- Every Pakistani has access to each subject for his or her level each day.
- Compulsory subjects such as Urdu, English, Math, Science, Social Sciences. Islamic Studies can be complemented with optional ones and regional ones also.
Every Pakistani, rich or poor, young or old, will then receive the same, high quality education. All education up to Class 12 shall be provided through a combination of TV and Internet at no cost whatsoever to the parents or students. The existing work force of teachers need not be dispensed with. The State should pay these worthy individuals who should be made available to tutor and assist at locations that are identified by the State.
Education shall be imparted at home or within walking distance from home. Small, affluent families can easily implement home based learning. Others, less fortunate, can pool resources at street, mohallah or similar level. Mosques, religious centers and even marriage halls can be recruited to act as centers of TV based education during morning hours.
Imagine the huge benefit of getting rid of the dangerous, costly and environmentally damaging school transportation system along with the need for chauffeurs, nannies and the escorts needed to shuttle children to and from school. Traffic jams, child kidnappings, forced holidays due to strikes shall all go away; as will the back breaking, hernia inducing school bags.
THE SECRET IS TO REMEMBER THE AIM; DO NOT DRIFT FROM IT; DO NOT CORRUPT IT WITH BUREAUCRATIC HURDLES.
THE AIM IS TO EDUCATE; THE STUDENT HAS TO LEARN, NOT COMPETE. THERE MUST BE NO PRESSURE FOR ANY STUDENT TO PERFORM.
There must not be any age-class relationship.
Any child can attend any class according to his or her ability.
Adults too. They too can learn and become literate.
An adult can be in primary school just as a preteen can be enrolled for a Bachelors or Masters degree. Bright students can fast track and the slow ones can cruise along at their pace.
Pakistanis will learn. Really LEARN. Not by rote.
There are to be no TESTS. No exams. No competition.
There must be no pressure of being promoted to the next class.
We must get rid of the intense social, family and peer pressure on our children to perform. We must let our children find their own pace, their own level of comfort with each subject.
Whenever one is ready, they present themselves for National tests.
TWO CENTRALIZED NATIONAL LEVEL TESTS ARE ENVISAGED.
- The first after eight years of distance learning. Following this exam, students are to be streamed into two directions; one continuing with classroom based curriculum whereas the other stream channels students towards a practical, workshop based technical training syllabus.
- The second centralized national test is to be conducted after twelve years of education and is to form the basis for entry into the Higher Education channels.
How do we accommodate the students wanting to pursue their education?
Remember the campuses of schools that were made redundant by the new, distance based education method? They should be reconfigured into a new role. These purpose built educational structures, many of them extremely elegant and capable, are to be converted to institutes of higher learning. Day schools are to be reconfigured to become day colleges, all boarding schools and cadet colleges become residential colleges and universities.
ALL. WITHOUT EXCEPTION
Do not exclude my Public School, your College, his Hall, their cadet colleges, or any of those provincially or federally funded boarding schools. All, repeat ALL. Grant dependent, crippling tuition fee demanding elitist schools dotted across the countryside providing education to a privileged few under the false banner of nation building are to be converted into quality institutions of higher learning which then enable provision of the very best possible higher education to not only local Pakistanis but also foreign students and children of non-resident or dual national Pakistanis. Do this and the nation can earn substantial foreign exchange in the process of education.
The top quality professional staff needed for these new centers of learning will be generated by retraining the huge pool of teachers and instructors that are already serving in the present, decadent system. As these premises are remodeled for their new role, so are the teachers trained for their new assignments.
And, next, comes public participation. Let everyone put their money where their mouth is; let everyone demonstrate their sentiments and involvement in the future of Pakistan.
– Flat Screen TV manufacturers.
– Tablets, Laptops and allied technology hardware manufacturers.
– Software houses.
– Elitist schools, colleges and universities.
– Internet Service Providers.
– Cellphone companies, GPRS, data network owners.
– TV channel owners
– Media moguls.
– Vociferous anchors, bombastic politicians, emotional clergy.
Involve donor agencies, aid giving countries, foreign universities and colleges, overseas Pakistanis, business houses. Get them to fund, develop and support Pakistan’s education program. Go further; offer Pakistan’s beautiful public and private school real estate to world renowned universities to become their campuses.
IN LESS THAN FIVE YEARS OR LESS WE CAN HAVE 100% LITERACY. QUALITY EDUCATION CAN REACH EVEN THE REMOTEST PARTS OF OUR COUNTRY.
WE CAN HAVE A MEANINGFUL TECHNICAL TRAINING PROGRAM.
WE CAN ENABLE BRIGHT STUDENTS FROM DEPRIVED AREAS TO BREAK THEIR SHACKLES OF POVERTY AND WANT.
WE CAN CREATE MANY PRESTIGIOUS PLACES OF HIGHER LEARNING.
WE CAN MAKE HIGHER EDUCATION A SOURCE OF NATIONAL REVENUE.
Like I said, this is just an idea.
We need to develop it.
YOU NEED TO HELP DEVELOP IT.
OR, COME UP WITH A BETTER ONE.