Need to Revisit Pakistani Education System

According to UNDP’s report Worldwide Trends in the Human Development Index 1980-2010 Pakistan is ranked on 125th position with HDI of 0.490. This is a worrying indicator for national economy.  In parallel, the high pace of technological advancements and exponential rate of information explosion have made the issue of sustainability more competitive and challenging. This alarming situation demands academia, professionals and policy makers to analyze the situation seriously and devise national strategies to meet the unprecedented challenges of 2st century.

It is a globally accepted that education plays a vital role in the development of a civilized society. It is equally true education helps oneself to improve every aspect of his/her life, but today’s knowledge revolution has radically changed the concept of education. Generally, education is defined as acquiring knowledge, skills, attitudes and values that will be part of students’ life. Education also involves caring for the development of students’ intellect, emotional, social and physical growth. But, knowledge revolution demands for a broader understanding of John Dewey’s views of education that is ’re-orientation, re-organization and re-construction of experience’. By experience he meant knowledge, skills and values, attitudes and actions.

The point to consider here is to understand what does mean “re-orientation”, “re-organization” and “re-construction”. Particularly, these aspects become more important when education is classify in different band starting from pre-primary to higher education. We need to explore the meaning of these concepts in the light of different learning theories; particularly, Behaviorism, Cognitivism and Constructivism. It is equally important to understand these concepts in the light of today’s technological advancements and easy access to information. We have to accept that 21st century students are more informative and demanding. In contrast, the academia is treating them as conventional students. Time has come to rethink about the whole concept of education in Pakistan otherwise we will fail to produce knowledge mangers for today’s knowledge economy.

Though it is very much worrying that Pakistan is ranked on 125th position with HDI of 0.490, but the issue of unemployment is more serious as our graduates are unable to meet the challenges of today’s technology oriented knowledge driven work places. The issue of unemployment is not more alarming as, on the one hand, it is promoting frustration among the graduates; making them easy prey for terrorist and criminals. On the other hand, it is the wastage of all that investment which the nation has made on them. More than that, the nation is unable to utilize their services towards the socio-economic growth of the country.  The existing dilemma of unemployment is only due to the mismatch of our education system with the needs of the 21st century.  If we understand the dimensions of the knowledge economy, stream line our education system and trained our youth accordingly, then the trained human resource will become the biggest strength of this nation.

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Published by: Dr. M. A. Pasha

I have obtained a M. Sc. in Physics (Gold Medal) degree from Islamia University Bahawalpur in 1981 and a Ph. D. degree in Computer Science from University of Southampton, UK in 1996. I have more than 30 years experience in tertiary education, ten of which have been in strategic leadership positions, including as Professor of Computer Science and Dean, Faculty of Computing & Information Sciences, Imperial College of Business Studies, Lahore; Professor of Computer Science and Director, Division of Science & Technology at University of Education, Lahore; Pro-Rector of Dadabhoy Institute of Higher Education, Karachi. Director, Institute of Computer Sciences & Software Engineering, The University of Lahore; Dean, University of Central Punjab, Lahore; Advisor to the Vice Chancellor on Information Technology, University of the Punjab, Lahore; Principal, Punjab University College of Information Technology, University of the Punjab, Lahore; Professor & Pro-Rector, Dadabhoy Institute of Higher Education, Karachi. I also have the honor to work as Vice Chairman, National Computing Education Accreditation Council (Pakistan); Chairman Inter Universities Faculty Board for Policy and Framework Development of Computer Science and Information Technology Degree Programs (Punjab, Pakistan). In addition, I have worked in various academic and administrative committees of public as well as private universities performing diverse nature of assignments. Presently, I am member of the Chief Minister’s Committee to “Develop a Vision for Information Technology in Punjab”. I have delivered various teacher training workshops and taught at undergraduate and postgraduate levels, supervised postgraduate students and published 40 papers in national & international journals & conference proceedings. Knowledge Management, WWW Multimedia Content Management, and Artificial Intelligence are the key areas of my interest. I have attended various national & international professional trainings, conferences and took part in international ICT consultation sessions in Cambodia and Bangladesh in 2005 and 2006 respectively.

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