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, on the other hand, 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.
LETS BEGIN WITH ONE FACT; ROUGHLY 12000 NEW PAKISTANIS COME INTO THE WORLD DAILY. THIS BIRTH RATE IS HISTORIC. EVEN IF WE WERE TO PUT 100 CHILDREN INTO ONE CLASSROOM, WE NEED 120 NEW CLASSROOMS DAILY. THAT IS 12 SCHOOLS DAILY. DAILY. USING CONVENTIONAL METHODS, PAKISTANIS ARE DOOMED TO IGNORANCE. WE WILL NEVER BE AN EDUCATED NATION.
Recognize this harsh reality. Forget the hype; the boldly ambitious, ‘rosy future’ political statements. 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. We do not have the teachers, the schools, the books, 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 100% literacy. 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.
FOR THE PLAN 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
- 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, Maths, Science, Social Sciences. Islamyiat.
- Pure 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. This education will be carried out at within walking distance from home. The added benefit will be that our towns and cities shall be rid of the dangerous, costly and environmentally damaging school bus system, 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.
REMEMBER THE AIM IS TO EDUCATE; 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 learn. Really LEARN. Not by rote. There are no TESTS. No exams. No competition. There is no pressure of being promoted to the next class. Whenever one is ready, he or she sits for the national tests. This method gets 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.
TWO CENTRALIZED NATIONAL LEVEL TESTS ARE TO BE IMPLEMENTED.
The first after five 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, there would hopefully be a substantial number of Matriculates aspiring to pursue higher studies. How do we accommodate these eager students wanting to pursue higher education?
NOT A PROBLEM
Remember the campuses of schools that have been made redundant by the new, TV based distance learning 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 become colleges, all boarding schools and cadet colleges become residential colleges and universities.
ALL. ABSOLUTELY EACH AND EVERY ONE.
No more cadet colleges, military colleges or provincially or federally funded boarding schools. No more grant dependent, crippling tuition fee demanding elitist schools dotted across the countryside providing education to a privileged few under the garb of nation building. Convert all this prime real estate into quality institutions, providing the best possible higher education to not only local Pakistanis but also foreign students and children of Non resident Pakistanis. These new colleges and universities will need top quality professional staff. This is to be selected from the huge pool of teachers and instructors that are already in the present, decadent system. As the 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 us Pakistanis translate our sentiments into action instead of just paying lip service. Everybody; Flat Screen TV manufacturers, Tablets, Laptops and allied technology hardware manufacturers, Software houses, Elitist schools, colleges and universities owners. Internet Service Providers, Advertising Maniac Cellphone companies, GPRS and other network owners, owners of TV channels, Media moguls, Shrill and vociferous anchors, bombastic politicians, emotional clergy; EVERYBODY.
A SUGGESTED TIME LINE WHICH NEEDS REFINING BY PROFESSIONAL EDUCATIONISTS 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 FIVE YEARS OR LESS WE CAN HAVE 100% LITERACY. 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 DEVELOP IT.
OR, COME UP WITH A BETTER ONE.