Qual­ity ed­u­ca­tion for de­vel­op­ment

Pakistan Observer - - OPINION -

PAGES of the his­tory show the year was 1631, when the Mughal Em­pire in In­dia was at the height of its glory. The pe­riod of this reign was con­sid­ered the golden age of Mughal Ar­chi­tec­ture. Shah Ja­han also erected many mon­u­ments. The third wife of Em­peror Shah Ja­han passed away dur­ing the birth of their 14th child. Shah Ja­han be­ing grief stricken of death of his wife, to honor the mem­ory of his lov­ing wife, or­dered the con­struc­tion of the Taj Ma­hal with the strict di­rec­tion not to spare any ex­penses in the con­struc­tion of this mas­ter­piece. Thou­sands of crafts­men worked day and night for 22 years 1632-1654. With their ef­forts and de­ploy­ing heavy money, the Em­peror Shah Ja­han was able to cre­ate one of the seven won­ders of the mod­ern world.

The Taj Ma­hal is well rec­og­nized the world over for its beauty and grace, but it is no more than a unique re­minder that the Em­peror must have in­deed loved his third wife very much. Although the Taj Ma­hal is an ex­cel­lent re­minder of past glory of Mughals, but it is ab­so­lutely use­less to our present or fu­ture. It only at­tests to the mighty and grandeur of a once pow­er­ful dy­nasty but it is noth­ing more than a sym­bol of long lost past.

Around al­most the same pe­riod when Em­peror Shah Ja­han or­dered to be­gin the work on Taj Ma­hal, a col­lege was be­ing set up in 1638 in the newly dis­cov­ered Amer­ica and a Godly gen­tle­man and an ed­u­ca­tion lover young min­is­ter John Har­vard of Charlestown do­nated half of his es­tate and his en­tire li­brary to this pro­posed col­lege af­ter his death. This small col­lege later be­came Har­vard Univer­sity.

To­day while Taj Ma­hal is merely a sym­bol of glory, Har­vard Univer­sity has be­come the old­est and most pres­ti­gious univer­sity world over hav­ing to­day more than 20,000 stu­dents and pro­duc­ing 500 PhD’s ev­ery year. About four cen­turies af­ter the self­less will of that young min­is­ter, this Univer­sity con­tin­ues to be the cra­dle from which new gen­er­a­tions of global lead­ers emerge and it is best known be­cause of its en­dur­ing his­tory of in­no­va­tion in ed­u­ca­tion.

While in­au­gu­rat­ing Metro Bus Project, our Prime Min­is­ter Nawaz Sharif said “Peo­ple are say­ing this project looks like we are in an­other coun­try”. This is not an­other coun­try. This is Chang­ing Pak­istan.” Like Mughals our Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment is not at all ready to con­sider it to be its duty to prop­erly ed­u­cate the peo­ple and pro­vide them health­care fa­cil­i­ties. It has no Min­is­ter for Ed­u­ca­tion and is al­lo­cat­ing noth­ing out of the pub­lic rev­enue for the spread of lit­er­acy. Ed­u­ca­tion to­day has be­come a pri­vate af­fair. Our ten mil­lions chil­dren are out of school. Univer­sity ed­u­ca­tion has made so ex­pen­sive that it is now out of reach of an av­er­age cit­i­zen. In spite of this dis­as­trous sit­u­a­tion our rulers are proud of reck­less spend­ing they are do­ing on projects like Metro Bus, mo­tor­ways, fly­overs, ex­pen­sive bridges, Orange Train, Nandipur and so on….. which matches the be­hav­ior of Mughal Em­per­ors.

A coun­try’s hu­man re­source is shaped through its high qual­ity ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem not through Metro Buses, Mo­tor­ways or roads / fly­overs. Ed­u­ca­tion is gen­er­ally seen as the foun­da­tion of so­ci­ety, which brings so­cial pros­per­ity, eco­nomic wealth, and po­lit­i­cal sta­bil­ity si­mul­ta­ne­ously. Higher ed­u­ca­tion helps in main­tain­ing a healthy so­ci­ety. At present, ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem in Pak­istan is down in the dumps. Not even a sin­gle Pak­istani univer­sity fea­tures in the QS World Univer­sity top 200 list. If Pak­istan has to be­come eco­nomic tiger in the re­gion, it has to take up ma­jor ed­u­ca­tional re­forms by de­ploy­ing max­i­mum funds in ed­u­ca­tion and health sec­tor.

The “acad­e­mies friendly” changes made in the syl­labus dur­ing PPP regime be­yond the nat­u­ral hu­man ca­pac­ity of ma­jor­ity of teenager stu­dents needs to be re­versed im­me­di­ately. Gov­ern­ment should pay full at­ten­tion to­wards ed­u­ca­tion by sup­port­ing it eco­nom­i­cally and morally. It should raise ex­pen­di­ture on ed­u­ca­tion at all lev­els en­sur­ing that no­body is de­prived of univer­sity level ed­u­ca­tion merely for lack of fi­nan­cial re­sources. Take les­son from the his­tory and act like Moon to get big car­rot, I would say like ma­jor­ity of peo­ple thinks. Con­struct­ing Met­ros, Orange Trains, big build­ing, can­not de­velop na­tions but max­i­mum in­vest­ment in hu­man cap­i­tal do. — The writer is for­mer banker based in Islamabad.

Shaukat M Za­far Email: smza­far101@gmail.com

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