State uses to be like mother who cares about her children above all prejudices. State cares about its children without cost benefit analysis. We call this approach as humanistic approach on behalf of the state. Those states are called welfare states which cater all the necessities to its people. Based on this relationship state and its inhabitants have certain rights and duties toward each other. It is only possible that if the people would be able to have venues in life provided by the state then they would be best able to serve the state. The state keeps the environment for its masses conducive where they develop their personalities in different fields of life. Among all the institutions of personality development, education is on the top.
According to Article-25 (A) of Pakistani Constitution, “Right to education.—The State shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of five to sixteen years in such manner as may be determined by law”. Under the constitution it is the duty that it will make the environment favorable for education. Before the inception of Pakistan enlightened Muslim leaders in subcontinent asked their brethren to get formal education along with religious education. The reason was because religious elites strayed by telling people that worth knowledge is only religious knowledge not the formal. That behavior still haunts because one can see many people against female education or even against formal education. How can only religious knowledge be the only knowledge when formal knowledge is too about the secrets of Mother Nature?
It was the duty of the state to abreast its coming generations with education by developing standardized sectors. We have different strata in our society who get education in different education systems. The dilemma with our country is that we stopped developing our public sector education institutes, started commercializing the private education sector, and let the development of unshackled madrassa sector. Basic thing is that our education system from the very beginning is “rote” centric. It is not based on critical thinking, diversity, observation, curiosity, and enhancing the creative capability of the child. For all our history of seven decades we have suppressed free thinking and not focusing on the building of our society through education.
These developments have made the youth of our generations aliens for one another. They consider others as living beings of another planet. This happened because the government disown the education system and thus these institutions turned into ghost institutions. The recent example is the suicide committed by a girl, Saqiba Kakar, who was barred from sitting in the examination upon her protest against the lack of teachers. Majority of the madrassas students are either from down trodden circles of our population who just need free boarding and lodging or the one who is considered by the family not good for formal education. The private sector, that is playing positive role to keep the boat of the state sailing but highly commercialized.
We didn’t invest in minds of our generations but the state invested to make them fodder for the different strategic interests. We invested in them to hit hard the Soviet Union in 1980s, which Asim Sajjad Akhter called our today’s generation as Zia’s children. The recent words of director General of IB, “that Zia’s policies will haunt the country for next 10-years is in complete agreement”. After 9/11, when the state turned against its blue eyed babies then international community blamed madrassa with terrorist activities but the recent arrests of students and professors from the institutes of high stature, lone wolf attacks across the world showing something different.
After the suicide attack that Atizaz Hassan, student in Hangu, thwarted and sacrificed his life, the heart wrenching attacks on APS Peshawar and Bacha Khan University, our students are living under the shadows of terror and despairs. After these attacks, State almost gave the security of the schools to teachers. The picture of the schools is like concentrated camps covered with barbed wires. The guns on the shoulders of teachers signify that “gun not pen is strength”. The challenge for the State is to play multiple roles. On one hand it has to secure its children from going into the hands of those who give them suicide wastes instead of school bags. On other hand the State has to make its children assure that they are secure by providing invisible security. Otherwise the last words of Saqiba Kakar that, “Ab khush hojain nahi awongi teray imtehaan may aay dushman e jaan, Zara soch k aana imtihaan e mehshar may tera muqabla muj sy hai” would be the last words of every Pakistani child.
Writer: Sajid Khan
The writer hails from South Waziristan Agency. He is pursuing M.Phil degree in Peace and Conflict Studies at National Defence University Islamabad. He is working as Education Youth Ambassador at Idar e Taleem o Agahi. He can be reached at
THE PASHTUN TIMES