Posted @ DailyLahorePost
Quite a lot of ideologies are being coached in one country, eventually culminating in a clash of civilization like situation in the same civilization it seems. The political turmoil within and an unwinnable war at the border has highlighted the flaws in our education system more than ever. Now approaching a threshold, it has turned into a matter of survival and a pragmatic solution is imperative. Beyond the poor and the elite, today there are several social and religious classes depending upon the school or madrassa one has attended. No wonder a depiction of collapsing education system. The only solution is declaration of education emergency and provision of one sallybas for all.
Irony is that, every school of thought here has its own schooling system. Substantial resources are spent and scores of children pass out each year with top grades from the best-known schools but desolately there is dearth of ample knowledge as regards our ideology, Islam, and Islamic history. On the other side of the spectrum, we have madrasas producing unskilled, futile pupil with distorted Islamic ideology, a degree not acknowledged even in their own country and categorically no hope of enrolling into even the lowest ranked professional institutes. In spite of tall claims, not much has been done in context with the madrassa reforms. Instead, education in public schools has further deteriorated. Nonetheless, a fare number has never been to any kind of school.
Indeed a state responsibility, but keeping political will aside, an emergency state demands pressing measures and for that matter, relying exclusively on government would not be enough. Even, the finest of the authorities will now struggle to clear the mess. Presumably, private sector, particularly corporate schools must come forward. Objective must be a uniform modernized curriculum which ‘d not only turn children into proficient professionals but also install strong moral values, flawless character and develop deep rooted love, comfort and awareness of their origin, values, ideology of Pakistan and Islam.
How to muddle through nominal capital is the core issue. There is a model productively functional in our very own country for decades- the missionary convent schools. For constructive community edifice, I suppose there is something beneficial to gain from them. They have this convent school for the privileged and an adjacent associated school, usually called the “urdu school” for the indigent Christian minority run by the same admin. In addition to backing, income generated by the convent school covers the Urdu school overheads as well. Lodging facility is presented to some of them in the form of a convent. Education provided in the Urdu school if not of the convent standard is still adequate and perhaps better than many state schools. There is reduced disparity between the two. Pupils from the Urdu school have a reasonable chance of later getting into professional institutes unlike our madrasas fellows.
We can adopt an “Elite School-Madrasa” relationship based on “Convent-Urdu School” model for madrasa reforms, where one generates funding and the other is a beneficiary. A portion of income generated from the elite schools can be used to reform and uplift an affiliated madrasa or build new lodging facility, boarding school, sheltered accommodation etc. It will be like a self-sustained, self-sufficient system. Once the emergency settles, alternatives may be adopted.
Several elite school systems operative in Pakistan have their branches in every nook and corner of the country making mammoth wealth. If they adopt one madrasa for every school they have for a specified period, such a model can be designed. The hefty charges will not make them starve, I bet!
If doctors and hospitals are expected to serve humanity, why not schools. Alternatively, the state can enforce it or perhaps, the philanthropists, the patriots, and the civil society should come forward and form such two in one budget friendly schooling systems.
Orphan, destitute, and underprivileged seeking shelter in madrasa needs to be accommodated before the enemy does. Already delayed, still if disowned, this vicious circle of revulsion and exploitation will not end.