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 on cramming 100 kids into one classroom. You shall need 120 classrooms. At 10 classrooms per school, this means 12 schools. Just for those new Pakistanis arriving daily, the country needs 12 additional schools daily. With well over a 100 million illiterate Pakistanis already here and another 12000 arriving daily, 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, tuitions, uniforms, school buses etc. Parents are spared the agony while students are given access to the very best of teachers and tuition.
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.
HERE IT IS.
THE SK PLAN FOR EDUCATING PAKISTAN
- Pool the best and brightest educational staff from the best schools across the country.
- Put these professionals together to modify existing top quality Montessori, Kindergarten and Class One to Class Ten syllabi.
- The modified syllabi are to be in sync with the 21st Century and the Pakistani social and religious imperatives. They are to be developed by the top educators of the country drawn from the top Private, Missionary, Government and other Schools including the expensive, elitist education systems that presently cater only for the privileged few.
- The syllabi developed will be fine-tuned for distance learning.
- This done, 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.
- In their place, morning air time of all TV channels is to be dedicated to distance learning education.
- Develop a matrix of time, day, subject, syllabus that works.
- Assign each channel for one year of Schooling
- For Classes Pre School to Matric.
- A period a day for each compulsory subject.
- Urdu, English, Math, Science, Social Sciences. Islamic Studies.
- Create TV based education for preschool to Class Five to ensure 100% literacy. For All Pakistanis, both adults and children.
- From Class Six onwards, blend in the Internet with the TV to enable on line interactive learning.
Every Pakistani, rich or poor, young or old, will then receive the same, high quality education. All education up to Matric level shall be at no cost whatsoever to the parents or students. Education that will be carried out at within walking distance from home. The huge benefit will be that our towns and cities shall be rid of the dangerous, costly and environmentally damaging school transport system as well as the chauffeurs, the nannies and the escorts needed to shuttle children to and from school. Traffic jams, child kidnappings, forced holidays due to strikes; all this shall go away, as will the back breaking, hernia inducing school bags.
Single or two child families and affluent ones with more children who can afford multiple TV sets can have home based learning. Others, less fortunate, can pool resources at neighborhood, mohalla or street level. In really deprived areas, mosques and religious centers, even marriage halls should be recruited to host the program. Between Fajr and Zuhr prayers, places of worship are vacant and should assume an educational role. Likewise Marriage halls which have negligible utility during daytime can become morning time ‘schools’.
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.
A preteen can appear for Matric Exams and aspire for college.
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.
Let students find their own pace, their own level of comfort with each subject. Whenever one is ready, he or she sits for the 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 stream continuing with classroom based curriculum whereas the other stream proceeds to a practical, workshop based syllabus.
- The second centralized national test is to be conducted after ten years of education and is to form the basis for entry into the Higher Education channels.
If this plan is implemented, the number of Matriculates would rise exponentially. Many would aspire to pursue higher studies. How do we accommodate these eager students wanting to pursue their education? NOT A PROBLEM.
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. NO EXCEPTIONS; not my Public School, your College, his Hall, our cadet colleges, our military colleges and our provincially or federally funded boarding schools. Shut down 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. Convert all this prime real estate into quality institutions of higher learning which can then provide the 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 which would be needed for these new centers of learning will be selected 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.
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. 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.
A SUGGESTED TIME LINE IS AS FOLLOWS:
- THE AGE AT WHICH EDUCATION COMMENCES SHOULD BE FOUR YEARS.
- AT AGE NINE, THE CHILD, HAVING COMPLETED FIVE YEARS OF EDUCATION, CAN BEGIN WORKING WITH A COMPUTER AND MOVE TO INTERNET BASED LEARNING.
- AND AT AGE FOURTEEN THE CHILD SHOULD BE READY FOR ENTRY INTO COLLEGE.
- AT AGE 16 THE CHILD SHOULD BE READY FOR GRADUATE CLASSES.
- AT AGE 20 THE ADULT SHOULD GRADUATE AND ENTER THE WORKFORCE.
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.