Education corruption in Pakistan benefits in business

Yousuf Ibnul Hasan : The writer is Columnist, Teacher, Trainer, Broadcaster, Contributor to Islamic Banking, Economics and Finance since 1981. He can be reached at:

“Read in the name of your Lord”, Surah Al-Alaq”


The Holy Quran, addressing and urging the humanity to explore the unlimited blessings of Almighty Allah through the wisdom and knowledge endowed to them. It is an invitation for the society to bring about social improvement and justice through cooperation and participation. Allah Almighty has blessed mankind with resources immeasurable in number as well as in quality, which can be put to a beneficial use once man explores these resources by using all his efforts aided by rationality and wisdom. By means of these resources, several options have been created for a man’s livelihood. Owing to this endowment, he is conferred with the status of “unique creation” among all the other creations.
Islam insists its believers’ total acceptance in the oneness of Almighty Allah and an acknowledgement of the fact that Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alayhi Wassalam is the last messenger of Allah the Glorious. It entails from the believers to put a firm belief in Holy Quran and the three other holy books, as well as in all the messengers of Allah sent to different nations before the birth of Muhammad Sallallahu Alayhi Wassalam. The Holy Quran is a complete “Code of Conduct ” and a sufficient source of guidance for its believers as it enlightens the believers to live in the world and to seek knowledge for a better lifestyle at all levels.
Prophet Muhammad Sallallahu Alayhi Wassalam was born as an orphan in a malicious, impolite and filthy society during a period when ignorance was common in the land of Arab. He Sallallahu Alayhi Wassalam lost his mother at the age of six and was fostered by his grandfather who died as well before the Prophet Muhammad Sallallahu Alayhi Wassalam reached maturity. He Sallallahu Alayhi Wassalamcould neither acquire education, nor seek any teacher’s guidance in such circumstances. As a result, Prophet Muhammad Sallallaho Alaihi Wassalam never used a pen and a book to understand how to have an education. However, these deficiencies that the Prophet Muhammad Sallallahu Alayhi Wassalam faced in the early period of his life did not hinder him from being enlightened. He Sallallahu Alayhi Wassalamwas led to knowledge, intelligence, wisdom, will, and spirit for acquiring knowledge through the revelation of verses in the form of the Holy Quran. The Hadith and the Shariah that Prophet Muhammad Sallallahu Alayhi Wassalamhas put forth in accordance with Almighty Allah’s commands are the practical accomplishments of the said prophetic knowledge, as the guidance of the three sources of knowledge: Holy Quran, Hadith and Sunnah derived from the Prophet Muhammad Sallallahu Alayhi Wassalam’s life become the cornerstone of Deen (Islamic system of lifestyle.) which is obligatory for Muslims to believe and follow.
Almighty Allah blessed Muhammad Sallallahu Alayhi Wassalam with the qualities which made him the “executive judge, Ultimate lawgiver, Architect of modern trade techniques and a seasoned General of Battlefield with matchless war tactics. From the example of Muhammad Sallallahu Alayhi Wassalam’s life and from Almighty Allah’s special bestowment of knowledge upon him, one can quite sufficiently infer the significance Islam has rendered to education and knowledge. It is well-thought-out that the life of a Muslim is imperfect and incomplete without education and knowledge.

The rise of Islam is the growth of knowledge and hence it is incumbent upon Muslims to acquire the highest level of education. Muslims must have appropriate knowledge, wisdom, behavioral patterns and professionalism, so that a Muslim individual’s personality may reflect the Islamic ethic rather than a mere exhibition of one’s devotion to the religion and religious values like the mill-donkey going around and round without moving from the place. Undeniably, it is knowledge that distinguishes a true Muslim from an ignorant as Education makes Muslims act by using heart and mind, eye and ear simultaneously, while an ignoramus, devoid of faith and knowledge, sees only with his ears and heart and therefore lacks the ability to think and act rationally.
Pakistan appeared on the world map as a sovereign Islamic state, created in the name of Almighty Allah. This creation was a replication of history, proving the concept of migration as a move towards socio-economic opportunities and expansion. The first migration to the City of Madinah developed the Islamic State of Madinah and gave birth to the idea of Rule and Ruler for a state with “Trust in the Leadership” and “Confidence in Masses”. This process characterizes “Muslim Ummah” as unique among the whole of mankind: Their Land is one, their War is one, their Peace is one, their Honor is one, and their Trust is one”. The migration superseded the period of ignorance to the rise of knowledge.
Exactly after fourteen centuries, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan was created in an undeveloped infrastructure and poor living conditions. Scarcity of resources and multicultural inhabitants further exacerbated its apparent weakness as a sovereign state. Despite all odds, the newly formed state was firmly tied up and unified with the rope of Islam. 20th-century migration integrated the multicultural and traditional Muslim population of the sub-continent under one recognition, “Pakistan,” to build this Pakistan as the “Nation”.
Pakistan as a sovereign state embodies the emergence of the socioeconomics system as guided by the Islamic concept of rule and ruler for a form. People trusted their leaders, and leaders kept their confidence in their followers, reaching the destination where leaders developed the nation and the nation developed the State.
The current development of Pakistan is an achievement under challenging conditions. The abundance of natural resources is yet to be fully utilized for the development of the state due to the lack of adequate educational facilities and poor infrastructure that is insufficient to bring healthy change and upgrading. Development and proper utilization of the available human resources as per the international academic standards and bringing practical and rational growth in the socio-economic sector is only possible through educational growth. But the early period of Pakistan, characterized by inadequate educational facilities, penetrated corruption in the educational sector, resulting in the minority’s rule and a majority of fools.
The earliest educational institutions established in the state only catered to the elite class of the society, which consisted of Zamindar, Sheikhs, Maliks, and Khans who were honored by the British Raj. The generations of these classes were prominent education seekers. But their academic endeavors and achievements were not for Pakistan; they had no such aim as employing their capabilities and faculties for the betterment of their homeland. Rather, their education was only for the sake of the advancements of their own personal interests, predominantly to secure for themselves an accommodation in the developing countries. The admission criteria in such institutions were not the knowledge but the status of the applicant’s family in society.
The lower class of society was denied access to education as the people belonging to that class were considered as the ones responsible for production and supply of basic needs and provisions to the elite class and workforce for economic growth. The genius minds of the low labor class were not eligible to seek knowledge along with the pampered, arrogant and impolite child of lords and ladies. As a result, the poor man preferred to remain content on the available sources and recruited the poor children for child labor so that they can help as bread earners to reduce poverty which haunts their home. Disregarding the Islamic concept, which begins with “READ”, deems education as the fundamental right of every believer despite his/her social status and regards education significant for socio-economics growth, Muslims of the Islamic republic of Pakistan adopted “GREED” for self-economic needs. Consequently, the State created in the name of Almighty Allah sank into educational corruption, having a corrupt and unequal system of education.
The class-based prejudice and corruption prevalent within the educational sector gave rise to class disparity within the newly founded country, as the power fell to the hands of the privileged minority, while the unprivileged majority was left in shambles of ignorance and poverty.
This class inequality resulted in a split of the educational system into two different sectors. The conventional or secular education largely remained accessible to the upper class of the society. Whereas, the traditional Madrasas provided inexpensive or free education but only concentrated on Islamic education. Worldly affairs and information were never an important part of the curriculum taught in Madrasas. Conventional education and knowledge were misconceived as the “Education of Kafirs” (non-believers) and its acquisition was considered an act of sin or rebellion against religion. The students graduating and passing out from these Madaris we’re becoming rebellious towards the west-oriented educated class of the society. As a result, the conventionally educated intellectual class of the society started maintaining a distance from the Madaris. This attitude divided the community into two ways of thinking. One is an acceptance of DEEN (lifestyle) as the only valuable way to follow while disregarding all the worldly knowledge, while the other deems the DUNYA (world) and worldly success and achievements as the only goal of life. The two antithetical schools of thought resulted in creating two disparate and incongruous social classes in a society formed as the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
In such a divided system, secular educated class considers itself as “Civil Society” and justifies its role as “Born to Rule ”, while the Scholars from Madaris are content to be called Maulvi (Person who has the Islamic knowledge). Subsequently, the Maulvi’s role within the society has been reduced to reciting “Azan” (Call of Salah) in newborns’ ears, teaching the Holy Quran to children, executing marriage contracts, leading the prayers in the Masjid five times a dayand carrying out funerals or Eid prayers. It is evident that both the classes gained the highest level of education in their respective fields. Yet, Maulvi is not considered eligible for receiving salary or wages by State or organization. His portion of income is usually paid from the collection and contribution of Sadaqat or Fitra (social obligation) either chipped in by the people who gather in Masjid to pray, or paid out of compulsion for assistance in the name of Almighty Allah. The conventionally educated class is classified as the active class for economic development, and the Maulvi is deprived of socio-economic benefits and its fruits as his role is seen as an insignificant one that does not contribute to the process of capital generation. It is a rotting poison proliferating within the education sector of Pakistan, which is incessantly spreading like termites therein.
For 31 years out of the 75 years of Pakistan’s life as an independent state, Pakistan was ruled and administered by the Army, while the civil and elected government governed for 44 years. But under both the forms of government, the civil bureaucracy acted as “Jack of all trades and master of none”. The policies that were developed by the civil bureaucracy rendered an emphasis on such economic development that benefits one class only. The socio-economic development was transferred as the responsibility of the country’s business class, giving a clear message, “listen, and remain silent, and you risk nothing”. The civil bureaucracy clearly explains to the people of Pakistan that if they need a good source of economic development, they should use their resources and means, keeping a sense of patriotism to contribute to the national exchequers for rulers’ livings. As a result, such policies and messages converted Pakistan into a breeding ground for the privileged child who has to make policies aiding him in ensuring “his” better future. The policymakers divided the population into two professional classes, the “in-laws” and the “outlaws”. Despite seventy-five years of Pakistan’s existence and its emergence as an atomic power, the current parliament has not been able to produce three hundred graduates from the population of 200 million. It is a clear indication that education is not the priority in Pakistan; instead, it has become a commodity that could be bought or sold.
From 1958 to 1968 Pakistan was in the golden era of economic development but was still unable to achieve social-economic growth. Best food, fashion clothing, and comfortable shelter were attached with the educational strength. Few educational institutions in the private sector were facilitating the middle and upper class of the country. At the same time, the state-owned institutions catered the educational needs of those who could not afford to get their children enrolled in the private educational institutions. However, these state-owned institutions were seen to lack basic facilities. In addition, professionals, experienced teachers and educationists were not keen to associate themselves with these state-owned educational institutions. Human resource development in the field of education was insignificant. Those who head the prestigious education institution, restrict the academic achievements and progress of the subordinates out of fear of losing their jobs. Free education has never been a part of government education policy. Whatever budgetary allocation was made for education, it always proved insufficient to fulfill the essential institutional requirement as well as the basic needs of the teachers. Any shortfall in the financial resources resulted in a cut down in the budgetary allocated to the education sector. It created a vacuum in quality teaching, research, and education. Teaching and educational professions enter into trade and a money-spinning business for those who paid less and have absolute power and authority. Islamic thoughts signify “teachers and pupils participating equally in Allah’s reward”. The educational policymakers spurned aside the said Islamic doctrine and converted the education system in the country into a process of “earn as you pay and pay before you earn”. Academic qualification, which is certified by an academic degree, consequently becomes a salable commodity from the choice of educational institutions and its value is reduced to a mere license for acquiring a well-paying job rather than a certification of eligibility to seek knowledge.
1970 was the period that put the country in a demoralizing condition. The selfishness of the politicians, mismanagement of the civil bureaucracy, and lack of administration in the Armed Forces divided one Pakistan into two nations. East Pakistan changed into a sovereign state as Bangladesh and West Pakistan converted into the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Unlike the constitutional name, the country lacked the practical following of Islam in daily life. This dilemma pushed Pakistan back to square one position. The politicians did not end the distraction and transformed the economy into so-called socialism by nationalizing the educational institution in the name of “People’s Power”. As a result, the remaining educational institutions that were bringing “something better than nothing” started producing nothing but duffers and donkeys. From 1974 till 2001, Pakistan was the highest producer of clerks who preferred to obtain a degree and join government jobs at the lower division and retire as the upper-division clerk. This ambition to seek low employment does not increase their ability to make them productive members of the society but gives them an opportunity to attain a better living conditions through bribes and hidden earnings which can quite easily be procured by using unfair means while being employed on such low-level designations.
The nationalization of education institutions in 1973 under the so-called Islamic Socialism in particular and other industries and sectors, in general, greatly make worse corruption within the education sectors. The said corruption has flourished greatly during all these years and has trickled down all the way to the present day. It is increasing day by day in the following manner:
1. Properties belonging to schools are used for private purposes in rural as well as urban areas.
2. Some properties have been illegally converted into a project for commercial purposes in urban areas. While in rural areas, lands allotted to schools are being used as cattle stores, gambling dens or drug addicts’ restrooms.
3. Passion for teaching has been replaced by ghost teachers and personal need and greed.
4. Private tutoring businesses have been started outside school hours by the school teachers for those students who can afford to pay additional amounts other than the school fee. This practice has reduced the teachers’ motivation in performing their duty at schools, forcing the students to take coaching on compulsory topics in the private sessions held at the private places. This practice has deprived the financially weak learners from acquiring quality education as they could not pay the tuition or coaching fee alongside the standard school fee.
5. Through unfair means students quite easily obtain high grades whether or not they appear in the exam. Teachers, educational staff and public officials are bribed to assist students in the said action. These bribes have to be paid up-front.
6. Children from specific communities and classes are favored for admission, while others are subjected to extra payments.
7. Illegal charges levied for children’s school needs, which are either supposed to be free altogether or included in the tuition fee. This further adds to the burden of those who can barely afford the basic tuition fee of their pupils.
8. Funds allocated for teaching materials, school buildings, student facilities, and student welfare are commonly embezzled, and procedural audits and monitoring are cleared on mutual sharing with stolen funds.
9. Bribes or sexual favors influences teacher recruitment and postings.
10. The examination authorities and educational board leak out the exam papers and sell them in advance.
11. After 1974, the practice of ‘Ghost teachers’ developed in the education department as another mode of corruption. From the education board level to public representation level, a number of employees have involvement in the said practice. Salaries of such ghost teachers are drawn and shared between various authorities. The staff’s names appearing on payrolls of government schools and colleges are never hired.
12. Dead employees were not reported as deceased. Salaries, perks and privileges of these dead employees are released regularly in their names to unknown.
13. The huge sums of money paid in the form of bribes for employing a teacher creates scarcity of teaching staff which affects the student-teacher ratio. This prevents unemployed teachers from taking vacant positions.
14. Licenses and authorizations for teaching are obtained on false grounds via unlawful means.
15. Politicians allocate resources to particular schools in order to gain support, especially during election times.
16. Staff exploits and abuses pupils in many ways (physically and sexually).
17. Prestigious and renowned educational institutions have become a fashion house where the children from rich families create temptation among the fellow students who belong to poverty-stricken households. The students coming from financially strong backgrounds flaunt their luxurious lifestyle which inculcates the poor children’s mind with a strong desire to acquire similar luxuries by unfair means.
18. The male students have ways to match the status, while female students put themselves up for the dirty trade of prostitution and escort services to make quick money in order to meet their educational expenses.
19. The teacher-student relationship is converted into a dysfunctional one, characterized by fear, threat, force, abuse, discrimination, bribery, and fulfilling demands and gifts.
20. Students’ political affiliation with political parties has created a power game within the educational institutions.
21. Textbooks and educational material for different academic grades are prescribed, keeping the price of the material and volume of sale in an ordinary educational session. As a result, poor quality of the text is incorporated on simple cut and paste method taken from websites, which happens to be an open violation of the copyright law and academic norms.
22. Media projection of glittering lifestyle creates unrealistic temptations in the students’ minds. The desire to match and keep up with the glamorous life leads male and female students towards vulgarity, immorality and rebellion against the traditions and customs as they are usually drawn towards drug addiction and free sexual enjoyment. They opt for any unethical and discreet way which might provide them with the idealized lifestyle.
23. The schools and universities are owned by builders, contractors, retired government servants and all others except educationists. The people who own these educational institutions have no emotional attachment with the field of education, as they are by no means related to the field of academics. Hence, the only aim with which they run these institutions is minting money with any and every means and methods. For their personal gain, they burden parents with continuous financial torture without realizing the fact that professional educationists working for habitual black marketers would not be able to preserve their integrity and honesty for a long time.
24. Open violation of educational regulations by the education houses are reaching a level where every violation now seems to be a legal practice. However, this is done on the cost of students and their parents. Teaching and learning are optional, and certification of learning level is a market product.
25. The class attendance is jam-packed, while the teachers’ income is low and doesn’t do justice to the efforts which honest teachers tirelessly put into their jobs. Such burden of responsibilities and duties on minimum wages makes the job of teaching seem like forced and grueling labor.
The above reasons and many other motives are the outcomes of corruption in the education sector, resulting in a high drop-out rate which inevitably gives rise to the level of poverty. Low-quality teaching methods are leading to a dearth of achievements. With such massive corruption deeply rooted within the system, the educational system is susceptible to adverse political, religious and ethnic influences that will deepen the inequality between rich and poor and prevent entire generations from pursuing a meaningful future. The sale of education is breeding unemployment, which ultimately blocks the development of the country and damages the social sector and social needs. Lack of education is creating a class that has no regard for the concept of honesty and hard work; it desperately seeks ways and tactics by means of which they can change their net worth overnight by using unfair methods of earnings.
The consequences of flawed and corrupted educational system can be observed as we look towards the national economic front, the closures of the industrial and business sector, High rate of taxation creating high-level inflation, ignoring the private sector and obliging government sector to meet the daily need, the fall of production that increasing the prices and decreasing the affordability, export-oriented economy, converting into import preferences are shutting down the opportunities for earning. As a result, the public educational institutions pass out thousands of human forces classified as graduates and master degree holders every year. When they do not find jobs despite being qualified, their unemployment coupled with social pressures pushes them to become qualified criminals whose aim is to earn capital by hook or by crook. Such criminals prefer to earn rightly or wrongly rather than adopting honest and honorable ways. The massive corruption that sets in motion right from the Montessori level makes the citizens certain about the idea that they can either achieve their goals by force and unlawful means or remain in jail to get free food, shelter, and vocational training to be the best and perfect criminal.
An unfruitful and traumatic experience with the corrupted educational system causes disastrous physical as well as psychological aftermaths for youth which inevitably impact the entire society. It is for the same reason that frustration among youth has increased to such a great extent that sexual abuse of minor children is reaching the highest level, and even the dead bodies of deceased women are not safe from adultery. The newborn, teenagers, minors or children, male or female, are subjected to kidnapping and then tortured and sexually abused. The extent to which the youth is perverted by the frustration resulted from their negative social experience is evident from the fact that the aforementioned heinous act is often filmed while its execution. Such film are then exported to developing countries for a few Dollars, as the elevated value of one dollar, which equals to 180 Pakistani Rupees, deludes them and blurs their sense of morality. Unquestionably, the youth resorts to such odious ways of making money after having denied access to other decency ways of earning despite having pertinent academic qualification.
Decade’s old elite monarchy, colonial rule, followed by the oppressive rule of corrupt bureaucracy has brought moral and spiritual degeneration among Pakistanis. To retrieve them from this degeneration, it’s about time every Pakistani restructure its educational priorities and aligns it with Islamic directives, while simultaneously fulfilling the existing conventional needs that would aid in upgrading socio-economic life. Nurtured under such an educational program which synthesizes the Islamic codes and conventional standards the future generations will become the torchbearers of Islamic values and play an influential role in the present world.
The challenges of modern times call for rebuilding the structure of our educational program on such a foundation that can fulfil our spiritual and material obligations. Today, we need an educational system that can produce knowledge that can be pursued and practiced with modesty and humility, leads to beauty and dignity, freedom and justice and which promotes a pattern of living guided by the Holy Quran and performed by Prophet Muhammad Sallallahu Alayhi Wassalam.