As you sow, so shall you reap
Annual Status of Education report this year around too paints a very sad picture of our education system. Although we keep hearing about millions of out of school children that need to be put to schools and towards whom no one paid any attention over the years, it is the quality of education that should be of utmost concern for the parents as well as the authorities. And ASER tells us the same. They rather have been forced to report the same sorry state of affairs from rural and urban centres with a slight improvement in statistics every year. The gist however remains the same: there is no intent at any level to have a relook at the how our education is in a downward spiral preparing our children for the 19th century economy at best.
Under the circumstances, bitter as it is, those who do not join any school either out of choice or forced by circumstances, should be better off than the ones who go and waste their time at public schools as the former would know how to get some apprenticeship to equip themselves to earn a decent livelihood in later life. Their time is put to good use and the earlier they get on job the better they are at their trade. There are many examples around. There is a good chance you will bump into some uneducated yet skillful auto mechanic or a plumber. Under the toughest of circumstances, you will find them managing fine; they at least are far better than the ill-educated and the unemployed, under confident young men who consider manual jobs beneath themselves whereas the top executive jobs are not their cup of tea.
The said report quotes harrowing figures of grade five students from both urban and rural areas who cannot read an Urdu or English text meant for grade two students. Same is true for mathematics. The urban centres are only marginally better than rural ones.
Toilets, other sanitary facilities, drinking water situation is not satisfactory either.
All this while the PTI government has been talking about bring in a uniform syllabus. They have approached the issue from a wrong angle. They already are facing strong resistance from the madrassa people. Reforming the government run schools syllabi and introducing Urdu as medium of education is all they will end up with. Here too they are ignoring the fact that after the 18th amendment it is provincial subject. Does that mean the PTI, well-meaning though, effort shall only be limited to the federal territory?
This yawning gap between what the rich kids get in elite schools and ASER points out in the public sector will only further deepen the divisions in the society that is already coming apart at seams. It will mean more frustration and disenfranchisement of the have-nots. Brace for the consequences.