A month ago I was called for an interview for a writer’s position during which, I was informed that I would be working for students who were going to pay me for completing their assignments, projects, research papers, and even their final theses. If the research included primary research, I would be paid more. I was completely taken aback by this notion of hiring people for such academic work that would form the basis of someone else’s final grades and subsequent jobs. Moreover I asked myself, isn’t this intellectual dishonesty?The anarchical situation that our society is facing today cannot be fixed overnight by just selecting different faces with the same mind-set; who only have the desire to maintain their own hegemony in the country. The situation needs to be fixed by changing the way people think, and the best way to accomplish this is through education. By that, I don’t mean the piece of paper we get after graduating from school or college; instead I in terms of intellectual enlightenment. Long term strategies need to be drafted in order to bring about this significant change in our society, and a project of this complexity cannot be entrusted to greedy politicians, which only leaves the intellectual elites to take up the mantle instead. While the number of intellectuals in our country may be lower that desirable, they are quite influential in terms employing critical thinking, building narratives, using their individuality, analyzing actions on the basis of their cause and motives. They also question the under-lying assumptions, read between the lines, and ultimately expose the truth hidden behind veils of misrepresentations. However, we cannot solve all our society’s problems by shifting the responsibility on to the shoulders of the intellectuals. As we have observed in the past, the intellectuals in our midst are either not fulfilling their duties as they should, or they lack the motivation that would enable them to take a leading role in future nation building. Regardless, something is not right.People, who are aspiring to become the intellectuals of our society, are cheating the academic systemThis brings us back to the original dilemma; that people, who are aspiring to become the intellectuals of our society, are cheating the academic system. Their sole purpose becomes the attainment of a degree, on the basis of which they might get a job later down the line, and that they have no qualms in hiring others to do their work for them so that they can pass it off as their own. It is quite a troubling trend. Christian Smith, an American sociologist, expressed the problem in his article ‘Higher Education is Drowning in BS’, saying that the accumulated effect of such education systems – which do not serve their basic purpose- contribute to the country’s disastrous political condition ultimately, put at risk the very viability and character of a decent civilization.Education was given high priority in the manifestoes of all major political parties and perhaps all of them meant to divert financial resources to this cause; but what is the use of such an education system that is clearly not fulfilling its basic functions. When duplicity and unaccountability are so rampant, it means that the system itself is flawed and needs to be revamped in order to curb this worrisome trend. Only with an open exchange of ideas and mutual accountability to reason and argument, can true intellectuals be created, who can later guide our country to the very precipice of success. The writer is a Project Assistant at Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), IslamabadPublished in Daily Times, August 3rd 2018.