Bags, books, uniforms and schools – all the pieces in the puzzle of education – and yet the blank faces with empty minds and hands full of graduation degrees. Not so long ago education was a world of its own, wearing its own colors of its true meaning. Since we are a nation that defines everything, by definition education literally means the process of receiving or giving systematic instruction at a school or university. But in Pakistan education is merely a business of producing students with degrees, aimed only at obtaining jobs.
The word actually originates from Latin roots, derived from the word Educare, which means to train or mold. In some dictionaries and other words it also means an enlightening experience. You might be thinking why the emphasis on the definitions. That’s exactly the root of the problem. With the passage of time we as a nation have lost our values and meanings of being educated. The fact that education along the road was somehow changed into the concept of schooling, students as objects that are trained and minds that are only molded to graduating, not learning.
Pakistani society and educational culture are divided by two systems that are weighed by your range of affordability. The two systems are a result of the divide of the ideologies of capitalism and communism. Pakistan’s constitution states that it is the government’s duty or responsibility to provide free education (a socialist idea) to all in the land of capitalist mindset. Not only does it fail to keep up with that, owning to the lack of resources, budget constraints and poor infrastructure, it also negatively impacts the quality of education itself. The second system is the private one, the world of education that is the right only given to those who can afford it. The more you pay the better you get idea.
We often sit and discuss so many issues with our educational institutes or the system, proposing ideas of uniform education when we are at heart and by mind confused ourselves what education really means. It’s a point to ponder upon a contentious issue that needs to be projected without the complexities and in a simpler manner with a practical model of implementation.
As I pen my thoughts, I have no model solutions to fix what’s wrong but, we need to come up with something to project and paint a new way of looking down the road of education that is different than schooling. Albert Einstein beautifully put together words to define the notion of education as “Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think.”
This perhaps is the solution, a model on a very small scale but one that needs to be embedded in our society.
Once we are clear on what the difference between education and schooling is we just might get the gist of gaining knowledge and learning for the sake and love of it. A major role in this is played by our teachers, shapers of our world and life… role models and nation builders. Alas! We have also lost such blessings in the cause of education, for all is left are money makers, tutors and sir/madam that charge you so that your children can cram the text in a better way.
For once, this nation needs to open its eyes and view things realistically. Institutes that claim to be educating our backbone – our children – should embed the process of learning through logic and reasoning in the children. We often mistake the solution of getting quality education to be somehow the uniformity of the educational system, yet the solution is to produce teachers that take education as a tool that can shape lives and change the student’s way of thinking. We need to learn how to train our empty minds into bright minds rather than making brighter gowns.