By Engr G R Bhatti.
Ex-GM(KESC), Ex-Advisor PEC, Ex-Director Services SSUET.
As Muslim we know that our Prophet Hazrat Muhammad SAW said “Seek knowledge from the cradle to the grave”. To understand see the emphasizes that how education in early childhood will be long lasting until the adult child and that education at this age is the foundation stone specially the technical education which clears the difference between a cradle and a grave. That was the wisdom behind this Hadith.The planning, design, architecture and construction of cradle and grave are the examples of technocracy and is message for future research and development.
In the present scenario we have experienced that if a young poor child is illiterate or jobless, he is ideal worker for terrorists and can easily be persuaded and brainwashed for violent activities. This means the poverty, illiteracy and unemployment are directly proportional to extremism and terrorism, as such it is the State to find ways and means to keep the young breed away from the approach of the radical elements. Better environment and different IT based/computer aided practical oriented teaching methods in technical education will change the approach of kids for learning and subsequently engage themselves in earning through self-employment.
At present about 27 Million ie 13.5% kids are out of schooling whereas the literacy rate in Pakistan is only 60%.The inter provincial statistics of literacy is given hereunder
Since the present conventional education systems do not provide opportunities nor ensure employment/self-employment, as such according to a survey conducted by the Federal Bureau of Statistics, out of the estimated 40 million children about 19 million are working as child laborers. See graph bellow.
In the present era of technological development, Pakistan is obliged to upgrade and enhance the skill level of human resource. Due to the shift from unskilled economies to the skilled and technical knowledge-based economies more focus should be on technical education and make it more meaningful and relevant for the youth development, human capacity building and train human resource for export to earn tangible foreign currency for remittance.
Looking at the day to day needs we require the services of experts including but not limited to TV and computer technician, plumber, paramedic staff, electrician, carpenter, mason, steel fabricator, tiles fixer, painter, tailor, industrial stitching, driver, auto-mechanic, beautician, barber, baker, handicrafts, etc, etc.
In the present setup we not only educate in polluted environment but also burden the children by heavy load of books according to competitive syllabus. In some cases, there are 10 text books, 10 work books and 13 exercise books for class-I, the result is as under:
We know that the unemployment is main impediment in the development of any country. All over the world the skilled personnel play the main role for the progress and advancement of the country.
As per recent study, the unemployment ratio in Pakistan is more in graduates with conventional education than skilled ones with technical education.
As a strategy, the technical education should start from primary level as per the aptitude and skill of the child. Students should be encouraged to attend classes in workshops and draw and prepare the sketches, blocks or samples for example:
- Toys; to prepare them for manufacturing, etc
- Clothes; to prepare them for tailoring, garments, textile & fashion industry, etc
- Shapes/models; for future architects, and so on and so forth.
- The syllabus should be same throughout Pakistan for parity and in the national language.
You may be aware that the books authored by Dr Atta ur Rehman are being taught as text books in Japan, translated in their language.
The onus is on Government to establish workshops in each city nearby schools or hire private workshops for experiments and hands-on-training. Experts should be appointed as mentors for counseling of parents and children/students. During regular Parents/teachers meetings the courses should be devised suiting to the local market as well as international needs so that the technical labor is exported to increase their socio-economic standards, eradication of poverty as well as to boost health of country’s economy.
The factors affecting the literacy rate includes allocations of funds, gender issues, fertility rate as well as infrastructure which are not being given appropriate attention neither at Federal nor Provincial level.
As regards the finances, donor agencies can easily be approached with a comprehensive plan for alleviation of poverty, increase in literacy rate, creation of employment opportunities and upgrade the living standard as well as boost per capita income in Pakistan which at present is the lowest in the region.
Pakistan allocates only 0.29% of its GDP to R&D, while India earmarks 0.82% of its GDP ie there is ample space for Pakistan to invest in R&D to fill the gap of technical needs of present world and that is only possible by spending on technical education.
Pakistan is home to a lot of talent and our youth is second to none if they are provided proper guidance and chance, they will excel in the world and Arifa Karim is one the glaring example.
It is my considered opinion that if our kids are provided facilities in early childhood and polish them when adult, can produce excellent results and will excel in their respective specialized fields. Some examples are given hereunder.
- Awais Imran has designed an application called ShotDropwhich got 50,000 downloads in only six months.
- Laraib Atta is Pakistan’s first and youngest female visual effects artist in Hollywood.
- Haris Khan is the youngest smartphone app developer in the world. He developed his first app ‘Super Soccer Kick’ 3D.
- Babar Iqbal is the youngest professional computer record holder. He has the international records of youngest MCP, CWNA CIWA, MSP, MCTS.
- Maaz Imran launched eTuition Hub, a website that provides online tuition to people from all over the world.
For achieving the goals set in the following recommendations, Federal Government should constitute an Advisory Board, setting aside the politics, the eminent experts be nominated such as Dr A Q Khan, Dr Atta Ur Rehman, Dr Peerzada Qasim Raza, Pervez Hoodbhoy, etc.
Conclusion and Recommendations
- It is concluded and recommended that mandatory free quality technical education should be offered to all up to matric level so that they can excel in their practical life without depending upon government to create jobs and while they are provided chance to work abroad, promote the country’s name at international level as well as contribute to Pakistan’s economy.
- The classy business of private schools providing general education should be stopped through presidential ordinance so that the class differential making adverse effect on the raw minded children is mitigated and the loss to national exchequer in the shape of tax evasion is stopped.
- Teaching to be made obligatory in schools only on the part of teachers and that the tuition centers must be closed and declared offence under law, cognizable by police.
- The private schools and tuition centers must be nationalized.
- With Matric Technical a certificate in the relevant field/trade should be awarded to work as skilled labour whereas after F.Sc(Technical) a diploma be awarded to work as Technician and degree with B.Tech for all technical posts oriented to practical nature.
- Re-set the mindset of teachers and in order to provide strong base, the appointment of teachers at all levels should be made through an autonomous Commission free of any influence.
- Ban be imposed on child labour through legislation earlier than matric and declared punishable offence.
- Through legislation, the admission of kids (both boys & girls) in school should be made mandatory, failure be declared cognizable offence and the MNA, MPA and LB members be held responsible along with the parents.
- Paradigm be shifted from quantitative to qualitative technical education and decrease the load of books on the back of innocents.
- In order to fully understand the theme and wisdom as well as for parity the syllabus should be same and that the medium of education should be National language as in the case of developed countries may it be Japan, Russia, China, France, Germany, etc.
- Committee of senior experts be formed to act as Think Tank and monitor implementation of National Policies regarding education and mentoring of parents, teachers as well as students.
- The gender bias be banned and declared offence to stop the females from attending school.
As result of above recommendations, provided they are implemented in toto, the following tangible results can be achieved:
- the literacy rate will upsurge from present 55% to 100%
- the unemployment rate will drop to 0%
- remittances from expatriates including technical labour is expected to be doubled from present $19.8 billion
- tax net will expand from present 0.57% to at least 1%
- expected increase in tax from 3,361,046 Million in 2016-17 to Rs. 5,896,571 Million
- the export to increase by double from present $11.685 billion