Education has failed us

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Whenever an occurrence shocks us, such as Mashal Khan’s lynching, the killings of two brothers in Sialkot, the brutal murder of Priyantha Kumara, or even the happenings at Minar-i-Pakistan, one of the immediate reactions is that education has failed us.
However, there is an instant demand, maybe in the same conversation, that education should be doing more. Only by education will we be able to manage, decrease, or eradicate such behavior. This may appear to be a contradiction. However, this is not the case. It is true that education is crucial. However, the substance of the course and how it is delivered are equally significant. This is where we’ll have to unload our belongings.
For example, Nazra is included in the Single National Curriculum, and a pledge has been made to incorporate Seerat-un-Nabi (SAAW). Even the prime minister has stated that their research would assist youngsters in becoming better human beings.
Our choice to make Islamiat and Pakistan Studies obligatory decades ago is still a source of contention. Was it assumed that making these topics obligatory would ensure that everyone knew fundamental facts about the nation or articles of faith, and therefore this goal would be met? Did our decision-makers imagine that making these topics obligatory would have an influence on identity formation, allowing the state to mould young Pakistani minds by exposing them to a specific picture of the nation and religion? And that this, in turn, will make Pakistanis and Muslims stronger or better?
Changes in educational material will have no effect if teachers do not teach well. What should we do if we want to find empirical proof for this? The issue is that there has been so much change in other areas that it is difficult to identify what should or should not be attributed to educational advancements. However, things have certainly not improved as policymakers may have hoped. Today’s Pakistanis and Muslims are not ‘better’ than those of the 1980s and 1990s. This might, however, be primarily attributed to the much broader global developments that have occurred in the region in which Pakistan is located, rather than to what has occurred in the sphere of education alone.
Many things happened in Pakistan after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan: the entry of guns and US money, the import of Saudi Arabian doctrine, the birth of the Mujahideen, the Afghan conflict, the drug trade, the devastation of Afghan society, the refugee crisis, and so on. Then came 9/11 and the so-called “war on terror.” When there are so many other elements to consider, how can we determine the precise impact of having Islamiat and Pakistan Studies compulsory?
If an unfortunate incidence occurs, adding an ethics course may not be the best approach to handle the problem. If morals aren’t where we think they should be, this observation may lead to more material in the topics under debate. If Pakistani youngsters are not “good Muslims,” just adding to current educational curriculum may not be sufficient.
This is due to a variety of factors. It’s not that instructional materials have no effect. Obviously, it does. This is the purpose of education. Content forms brains, dictates knowledge and comprehension, and so gives identities and fundamental ideas shape. There is no way we can dispute the relevance of education or the importance of content in education since there is so much scientific data on learning and connections with material.
The problems are distinct. A child’s capacity for learning is limited by his or her age, ability, and earlier learning levels. More material per topic and the number of subjects a kid reads does not necessarily help learning, understanding, or knowledge. There is already some research that suggests we, particularly in South Asia, are placing too much pressure on our children. In such a setting, what effect would add additional content and subjects have?
Literature also suggests that the instructor has a significant impact on student learning. How a teacher teaches, how she engages students, makes information exciting, interacts with and supports her students, and explains or makes knowledge relevant in the context of the students’ reality and comprehension levels are all critical. A change in content will have no effect if the instructors are not teaching well, as we know is the situation in the great majority of Pakistani institutions.
We also know that student learning improves when students are more engaged with the topic, are able to ask questions, and critically assess what is being taught, among other things. Many professors, on the other hand, would not consider critical involvement in the disciplines under consideration. They aren’t taught that way in most schools, either. I recall my personal experience: I memorized a large portion of the Pakistan Studies course merely to be able to recite it (rote learning) for test reasons and finish the course.
So, if this is what new content would do, how will it help us become better Pakistanis/Muslims and address the societal concerns that we want education to address? I haven’t even mentioned the modification of material. However, when conservative and even radical beliefs are already widespread, this might be a problem.
Will we make the same mistakes we’ve made many times before if we don’t think things through? That appears to be the case. But it gets even worse. We never step in the same river twice, as the saying goes. Every time we fail, the stakes for the next intervention rise, and the likelihood of success decreases. Are we ready to take a chance once more, or is it time for a more thorough thought before making any changes?