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Standard of Education in Pakistan: Is it designed to produce Scientists or Radicals?

The colonialist destroys the social fabric, the values of the society, the local human wisdom, and evolution of mind and leave behind a huge intellectual vacuum; where they can implant their stooges or lackeys and above all drill in the minds of people of colonies, that they are inferior and should accept the language, values of the superior race.

Dr. Khurshi Alam 3Education is defined as;

  • The act or process of imparting or acquiring general knowledge, developing the powers of reasoning and judgment, and generally of preparing oneself or others intellectually for mature life.
  • The act or process of imparting or acquiring particular knowledge or skills, as for a profession.

I intentionally copied the above definitions from dictionary, for the reader’s satisfaction that it is not my view but an established definition.

After reading a lot on this subject, my version follows.  There was a time that knowledge and the beauty of nature were considered as a commodity belonged to the aristocracy and elites of the society; I was told by my guide in Paris while taking me around the palaces of Napoleons dividing the slums on one side and gardens and institutes on the other.

The gradual human evolution, a long struggle by the philosophers to create awareness in the masses eventually broke the yoke of slavery and education was shared by all, but those who could afford. It is still the case in almost all the developing and developed; but the clever aristocracy introduced a system that was class based in character to maintain their ruling interest and this going till today.

To me the flow of information or skill is knowledge. The wisdom, how to apply it, is the knowledge. To give it a humane touch; to make you aware of your own weaknesses and enable one not disregard objectivity. Knowledge makes you an integral part of the society instead of being confined to yourself. With the flow of information and being an integral part of a social enjoinment, ultimately creates awareness in the masses. It is the awareness that ultimately promote human evolution.

The present concept has undergone a tremendous evolution. The technology is so advanced that information is made available by a click of chip technology. Technology cannot replace the power of human mind and wisdom. If one thinks over the advancement of technology; it owes its advancement to human mind, here comes the role of a teacher. The new concept of a teacher is; not only sharing information but to invite the students to think. It is the crux of the matter.

Is our present education can give us knowledge and know how to face the challenges of tomorrow. My feelings are; that it is an outdated, non scientific system. I do confess that this class based education; we inherited from a colonial power.  They introduced proper education system in sub –continent India.  They evolved the system for their colonial interest not for us. They had the right to do it. At no time there were than 42 thousands Brits in India. It was impossible for such a small number to control India; the most populace and vast country. They needed two types of people; one who are from Indian Elites who were more loyal to King than the King himself and brown Baboos to the clerical and other menial jobs. It was impossible for the colonialist to send half of their population to rule over the colonies, they had many other colonies to rule beside India. It was less expensive and serving their purpose.  Apart from education the Brits should be given credit to lay down the communication system like roads and railway tracks. Above all it gave unity to India. They did not colonize us to give us education and develop the country; they did all this for their vested interest. They educated the people to serve their interest and the communication system to export the raw material to their country and develop their textile mills and other Industry in their own country. To be logical if they would have not in their national interest hoe they could rule the colonies.

I hope that the readers don’t this get me wrong that I support the colonialism or imperialism.  The colonialist destroys the social fabric, the values of the society, the local human wisdom, and evolution of mind and leave behind a huge intellectual vacuum; where they can implant their stooges or lackeys and above all drill in the minds of people of colonies, that they are inferior and should accept the language, values of the superior race.

But we were proclaimed as an independent state in 1947.  The question arises; why the rulers did not make the desired changes in education, health and the style of governance and other developmental projects.  It will be my intellectual dishonesty not to share my core feelings with them.

I just don’t have the feelings that I am a free citizen of a sovereign state. Still my raw material is being carried somewhere, the power and man power is taken to develop other areas. I have no freedom to express my views, to have control on my revenue, to promote my history, tradition and values. I am not allowed to study in my mother tongue and read my history. Instead, I am taught in a foreign language and history of India or Arabs. The state machinery is constantly discrediting my history, language and ancestry; that is to say negating my identity. At this stage I will quote Late A. Wali khan when I was a student of Dow medical college, Karachi. He was invited to Karachi to speak on foreign policy of the country in Beach Luxury hotel. At the end the reporter of Nawa-e- Waqt asked him that why Ajab Khan Afridi is not returning to Pakistan, the Brits have left the country. Wali Khan dodged the question twice, saying it is not relevant to the topic. When forced by the reporter, he said and I quote,” Probably he thinks we are not yet a free nation.”

What I want to convey to my readers that Pakistan was created for a class, who were the creation of the colonialist. It was a proclaimed State, in other words, a gift by the masters to the loyalist and no changes were made in any field including education. If any changes were made that was corruption and hatred. Had positive changes been introduced, we would have been a nation of scientists in different specialties, and would have been dependent on other states? We would had our own policy makers to establish institutions, revive the cultures and local wisdom of different nation to reconnect each to its past. The status quo was maintained and the flow of cash and arms were kept flowing.  In fact; it was that we don’t develop our economy or planned the developments programme. To be honest to the history; whatever was the system of education during colonial rule; at least it was not corrupt. A matriculate of that time is hundred times better than a master degree holder today.

Not only we corrupted the system of education but we made it more class based. Since the public education flopped, the private mushroom growth of educational institutions cropped up, with no regulatory body. In the name of quality;” scoring system” was introduced. “Score” was saleable commodity. The institutions owners had no financial problems. The society was plagued by corruption, the board, universities, examination halls were all on sale. Examination halls were sold in advanced. Who is the owner? Who is going to appear? How to earn name? Money can make the mare go, no problem? I was told by the Chairman of the federal board in 1989, that the price is Rs. 300/ mark.

Teachers from primary level up to the university including the V.Cs. of the universities are not on merit basis. All the institutions were corrupted and politicized thoroughly.

The dropping of the standard was starting by Z.A. Bhutto. Radicalized by Gen; Zia and politicized and further corrupted by Gen. Musharraf. It was not the end of the damage; the real damage was to corrupt the next generation. To create a nation; having no tomorrow. The recent example is, the appointment of V.C. of Engineering university of Peshawar. All these reasons are responsible for producing the radicals, criminals and terrorists instead of producing intellectual, scientists, economist and other professional. The same is the condition of health getting worse day by day.

How can we claim to be free nation when our water, electricity budget allocation is Washington, instead of London during the colonial rule?  The education is not designed to build a nation, the rulers cannot tolerate a farsighted leader particularly from the security risk provinces like; K.P.K., Sind and Baluchistan

The thief and corrupt cannot catch a thief or corrupt. This is vicious circle, waiting for a Masiha. I am not educationist and cannot give alternatives. Being a doctor of medicine, hopefully, my next article will be on health and there will be suggestion how to improve it. But corruption from to bottom is sabotaging every new idea. Pakistan is sitting on an Atom Bomb of corruption.

By Prof.(Dr) Khurshid Alam

The writer is a columnist with THE PASHTUN TIMES. He can be reached at



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