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Militancy in Education

Saeed MandukhelWhy does modern Pakistani education produce educated militants?

Education is a continuous process of behavior formation. Similarly, Russell believes education is not information; it is formation of character. Each advancing step or level leads to a new observation, exposition and acquisition. In his thoughts on education Imam Ghazali says it is a process which enables an individual to distinguish between the true and false, the good and bad, the right conduct and evil doing. Thus, every bit of new learning adds into the life long process of a refined citizenry.

Though, at a very primary level learning is natural and spontaneous, although it is timed, systemized and well programmed in disciplinary domains. Either be it involuntary or consciously purported sphere of learning, education homes to an advanced exposure of experience. Furthermore, it introduces newness, novelty and change.

Education that comes through academic process is well designed, somehow pre-calculated and objectified to be leading to a certain level of acceptance, inclusiveness, flexibility and rationality. The more one embraces, the better one learns. The more one acquires, the better one performs. With these aims in mind a state intends to educate its public so that its individual and national self may be elevated.

What happens when some of the highly academically trained individuals turn towards militancy? What is it that is detrimental to the whole process of education? Instead of obedience, peace, acceptance and change why does modern Pakistani education produce educated militants? And after all what is it that correlates militancy with education?

Basing arguments on Benjamin Bloom’s Taxonomy most of the research in education, particularly about curricula development (content) reveals a direct relationship between the effects/outcomes of a text and its level in term of grading, applicability and relevance. In other words, a text that should be included in a course for matriculates cannot be taught to primary level students. Because, any of the incorporated text must have age and relevancy wise scientific justification to satisfy what Bloom calls affective domain and psycho-motor domain of human memory.

Furthermore, if there is no easy and clear-cut application and use of the newly acquired information, there emerges a sense of alienation between the text and its reader. This in turn leads to cramming, with little or no sense of usefulness. Unfortunately, in Pakistan most of science subjects, engineering and medical studies home to this dilemma. On the other hand, it is suggested that philosophy, history, literature and few other social science subjects are very much relevant, applicable, and thus produce social inclusiveness, flexibility, rationality and acceptance. To this effect, research in curricula and pedagogy unfolds a direct link between root learning and extremism, applicably-relevant knowledge, obedience, submission and Arts and Social Sciences. Yet, one really cannot deny problem solving and technical aspects of science related subjects.

Someone has rightly said that education is not meant to produce scientist, engineers, doctors, scholars or intellectuals; but exposure to education is aimed at taming the untamed; at social mobilization; at a sense of looking forward for the better tomorrow from the worst today. It calls for an organized endures instead of exclusion. Confusing broader learning with technical spheres, Pakistan is bent upon investing in today’s non-conformists, who perhaps may turn tomorrow’s educated militants!

20th century saw marvelous advancements and scientific feasts in every walk of life. From science, technology and many other modern and so-called civilized systems developed, there emerged martially objective absolutism which sought imposing single prism on thoughts. In this way, one view of life, one perspective and unipolar narrative was not only developed, but out rightly established. This totalitarianism of thoughts and matter further consolidated Western colonialism. Any other world view was bitterly suppressed, thus leaving no room for multiplicity, diversity and acceptance.

Owing to its colonial past, Pakistan started treading on unquestionable paths of western objectivism, and absolute belief in miracles of material science. In this way, Pakistani education system has produced generations of brainwashed who are bent upon imposing their own world view by hook or by crook. Furthermore, any halt or prevention on the part of security forces or society leads them to explosions and brutal destruction of the country.  In fact, unscientific, irrational and emotional religious explanation and justification of every bit of learning has brought us to the very brink of collapse.  Exactly opposite in nature, education and militancy could have never thought to be in a common enterprise, at present in a union that seems to be detrimental to the very idea of education.

Writer: Saeed Ullah Jan Mandokhail

The writer is a cultural critic and political analyst. He can be reached at


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