Food for Thought

On the basis of religion, in 1947, Pakistan emerged as the largest Muslim country in the world. It was believed that the citizens of this newly born country will enjoy a better quality of life, equal opportunities, fair play and justice. With this hope, Pakistan started its journey towards modern democracy 63 years ago under the leadership of a “visionary” leader but has ended up fighting against war on terror & corruption. Education is the only hope to win this war.  

 Education is widely accepted as an instrument of socio-economic change and the backbone of national development. Unfortunately, education in Pakistan has become a national dilemma.  Low quality education, tuition culture and jobless graduates are three major problems of Pakistani education system. The poor quality of public sector institutions has forced parents not to make public schools as their first choice for their children. From the last decade, Pakistan government has encouraged private sector to increase their contribution in education sector. Unfortunately, the private sector exploited this opportunity and made education one of the most lucrative businesses.  They are, intentionally or unintentionally, playing with the emotions and fate of innocent parents and their children through offering self designed English medium curriculum without any educational planning which covertly promotes the western culture.  As a result, the young children studying in such schools grow up with confused personalities.

 The latest technological advancements have brought a paradigm shift in all aspects of human endowers; ranging from routine tasks to highly sophisticated scientific actions. As a result the social, political, cultural, and economic landscapes of the global society have changed dramatically. It is an undeniable fact that these multidimensional advancements of mankind are the outcome of untiring efforts of the non-Muslim world; known as “Developed Nations”. Due to these efforts, they have not only raised their status as the masters of this world but also created strong impact on social, cultural, economic and religious aspects of developing countries like Pakistan. Unfortunately the socio-economic conditions and political instability has further deteriorate the morals of Pakistani nation who has now become  a crowd of heavily privileged and unprivileged misused and misguided people who are unsure about their future; living in a totally insecure hostile environment; some are ready to grab any opportunity – legal or illegal ethical or unethical – which could improve their socio-economic conditions; some are agitating against the system which  is under the control of heavily privileged people who are trying to secure the  interests of developed nations, the rest have  lost their hopes and just waiting for any miracle that will change their fate.

 Lack of skilled manpower, poor planning and implementation strategies, ineffective infrastructure and insufficient energy supply have further damaged the economic progress of the country. According to the Global Gender Gap report (2009) out of 134 countries Pakistan is ranked at 132nd position. From Global Information Technology report (2008-09) a comparison of Pakistan and India is listed below:

  Pakistan India
Quality of Maths  & Science Education      109 of 134 17 of  134
Quality of  the  education Systems     104 of 134    37  of 134
Internet access  in schools                     81 of 134        60 of 134
Network Readiness Index 98 of 134                    54 of 134
Infrastructure environment                 121 of 134          76 of 134
E-Governance Readiness                  105 of 134           94 of 134
Individual Readiness         111 of 134     45 of 134

The situation in educational institutions in Pakistan is particularly grave, and some consider the whole education system to be in a virtual state of collapse.  The Government is busy in policy formulation without considering the implications of its implementation and educational institutions are engaged in producing low quality graduates. Education has become the most profitable business; no quality control, no accountability, no ethical or moral values; making money is the only objective. As a result, the society is over crowded with unemployed/lowly paid frustrated angry young people. 

 As a nation, it is important for all of us to realize that the latest Knowledge Revolution has brought unprecedented opportunities for Pakistan. These opportunities could only be achieved if we get mastery on ICT and strengthen those traits which are required in today’s knowledge economies.  It is equally important to avoid repeating the same mistakes due to which we had missed the opportunities of 1980s’ economic wave. History tells us that countries like South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand responded timely and appropriately; as a result industrialist countries moved their manufacturing units to these countries which strengthen their economies. Once again, today’s Knowledge Revolution has brought another golden opportunity in the shape of globalized knowledge market and knowledge process outsourcing.  All over the world, companies in the domain of banking, finance, insurance, healthcare and others are restructuring their organization and re-locating them to countries which offer trained manpower and cost advantages. We should not miss this opportunity and must remember that those who has not pace with Information Revolution are facing political instability & cultural alienation which is fostering political, ethnic, ideological, and religious extremism. But those who will not pace with Knowledge Revolution will become virtual colonies of those that do succeed in this regard.

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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.

Categories General2 Comments

2 thoughts on “Food for Thought”

  1. I M YOUR STUDENT SIR AND I TOTALLY AGREED WITH YOUR THOUTS AND THIS ARTICLE IS REALLY AN EXELLENT INITIATIVE TO GIVE AWARENESS TO THE PEOPLE.

  2. really a thought provoking message for educated pakistanis and especially for politicians and authorities who are beating about the bush instead doing something good for the betterment of education.

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