PAKISTAN’S education is in the doldrums. The more the crisis deepens the more anxious do our policymakers and education stakeholders get. The outcome? They make formal education more rigid and complex, thus driving away children from the process of learning. This intensifies the crisis and the vicious cycle goes on.
Reforming School Education in Pakistan and the Language Dilemma By Zubeida Mustafa ISBN: 978-9692102346 330pp.
We have a broken system of education in our country; not many will dispute that. An estimated 22 million youngsters are out of school, even though Article 25A of Pakistan’s Constitution states that the state should provide every child between the ages of five and 16 “free and compulsory” education. We don’t even have universal enrolment at the primary level. Only six to eight percent of enrolled children reach university level.
OUR society seems to have been obsessed for long with the idea of matrimony. Mercifully, the growing trend towards female education has to an extent weakened this obsession — but not in communities still deprived of the benefits of education and enlightenment.
In these underprivileged classes, which constitute the majority, it is a common practice for mothers to start planning their child’s marriage soon after birth. They informally decide who will be whose life partner. Termed ‘baat pukki karna’, the arrangement is irrevocable. The girl’s mother even starts collecting her daughter’s jahez. Obscurantist parents even consider it a sin if the child is not married before puberty.
‘JUSTICE and accountability’. These were, among others, the demands of the 150 or so demonstrators who gathered near the seaside in Karachi last Sunday. There is a paucity of both these principles in Pakistan but the worst hit are the poorest of the poor — the janitors. There are hundreds and thousands of them who live below the poverty line all over the country and do not even earn the remunerations fixed by law as the minimum wage. But what good wages alone cannot ensure is respect and dignity which only a culture of civility can bring.
WHETHER it was intended to be such or not, would its citizens wish the establishment of Pakistan be a receptacle for any variant of Islamic/Muslim fundamentalism pervading politics and determining social behavior?
Citing words and conduct, most would say history shows that this was not the motivation or goal of the Quaid-i-Azam and his lieutenants. Indeed, some of the leading Ulema were critical of the concept of a separate state for the Subcontinent’s Muslims.
THE current issue of the Journal of the Pakistan Medical Association carries a supplement sponsored by Pathfinder and titled ‘Keeping the FP promise alive’. This will no doubt be a formidable challenge. A look at the family planning data contained in the supplement gives rise to a sense of hopelessness about the promise ever being kept. In 2012, Pakistan had promised at the family planning conference in London to double the contraceptive prevalence rate to 55 per cent by 2020.We are nowhere close to it.
OCT 16 was a red-letter day for Balochistan. In Lanjar, a village in Awaran, a schoolteacher brought together some girls and boys after school hours to teach them the Balochi language. One could well ask what was so special about this that it must be celebrated? The fact is, the tragedy of the Baloch is that they have been robbed of their language. For years we were fed the fiction that Balochi is only a spoken language with no literary tradition. The emergence of scholars and poets such as Zahoor Shah Hashmi and Saba Dashtiari belied this myth. Now we know better.
ا16 اکتوبر بلوچستان کی تاریخ میں ایک یادگار دن تھا جب لنجار کے ٹیچر نے سکول کے اوقاتِ کار کے بعد لڑکے اور لڑکیوں کو جمع کرکے بلوچی لینگویج کلاس کا آغاز کیا۔ کوئی پوچھ سکتا ہے کہ اس میں ایسا کیا خاص ہے جس کا جشن منایا جائے؟ حقیقت یہ ہے کہ بلوچ سے اس کا زبان چھینا جا چکا ہے۔ عرصہ دراز سے یہ فسانہ گڑھا جا چکا ہے کہ بلوچی زبان جس کی کوئی ادبی روایات موجود نہیں صرف بول چال تک محدود ہے۔ مگر اسکالر سید ظہور شاہ ہاشمی اور پروفیسر صبا دشتیاری کی کوشش اور کاوشوں نے اُس تاثر کو غلط ثابت کیا۔ اب اس حوالے سے ہم سب باخبر ہیں۔
IT is not possible to view politics in Karachi without factoring in the Mohajir constituency’s voting strength. And as Karachi was once Pakistan’s capital; was and still is Sindh’s capital; a port that didn’t become another Hong Kong, and is almost too strategically located for its own comfort, all this gives its particularized constituency an inalienable national relevance – apart from the fact that it opted for Pakistan in 1947 with its feet. From its founding day the country ‘owes’ them the security of the nationality they came for. Or at least as much as any and every citizen is owed by the state regardless of ethnicity and creed and not in consequence of any preferred badge.
WITH new Covid cases in Pakistan having fallen to below 1,000 per day, some semblance of normality seems to be returning. But the normality appears to be a bit surreal because of the masks and the required social distancing. These are not always observed.