The song spoke about the rigid education system
Karachi, July 05: We don’t need no education
We don’t need no thought control
No dark sarcasm in the classroom
Hey! Teachers! Leave them kids alone!
When Roger Waters, bassist of the seminal English rock band Pink Floyd, wrote the band’s magnum opus, ‘Another Brick in the Wall’, the song became an anthem for the rebellious youth.
The song spoke about the rigid education system prevalent at the time, which did not allow students to think out of the box, nor did it grant them any leeway to explore and research independently. In short, the song argued for education to be a thought process, rather than merely rote learning.
However, one could never fathom that three decades later, a young position holder from Karachi would actually voice this sentiment in the presence of her teachers and peers at a ceremony which was held to honour her achievement.
Asma, daughter of Altaf, secured joint-second position in the Secondary School Certificate-part II (SSC) examination, which is more or less a stepping stone for students in their academic careers. To hear her declare that “education is not worth the effort” despite scoring 88.23 per cent was quite a shock for everybody present at the awards ceremony.
This disclosure makes one consider the reasons why a bright student like Asma would express apathy and pessimism towards education, which is often labelled as the key to success. Sadly, however, upon scratching the surface it is easy to see the reasons for such disillusionment expressed by Asma and so many other students towards education; the disrespect for merit, honesty and hard work.
Many students feel helpless when they see that despite spending hours upon hours studying and preparing for exams, some of their peers get more rewards as they take their exams in especially sanctioned, illegal examination centres with the connivance of board officials and others. It is disheartening to see the culture of rampant cheating prevail across examination centres and complete indifference shown by authorities to curb the menace. It is just as de-motivating to see same incompetent cheaters getting fake degrees, lucrative jobs and above all, landing the coveted title of Member of Parliament.
The media has been trying to raise the issue of corruption which is prevalent in the education boards across Karachi for two years now, but despite clear evidence against those responsible, cosmetic measures have been taken to eradicate the menace of cheating.
Merit is flouted left right and centre, with utter disregard for any sense of ethics or morality and accountability. The curriculum taught is completely obsolete and which only cultivates rote learning, instead of developing skills for logic and rationality. Questioning in class rooms is often suppressed and discouraged. Above all, as mentioned earlier, corruption is rewarded far more than honesty.
Only a few months ago, this newspaper reported about a school in Jamshed Town holding an illegal Sunday Bachat Bazar on its premises. Last month, a school in Gulberg Town was razed by the land mafia. Another school in Orangi Town is a den of drug peddlers and heroin addicts. All of this clearly points out the absolute incompetence of the authorities who are only keen on filling their coffers instead of performing their duties with diligence and sincerity.
Education in Pakistan is grappling with wide ranging such as curriculum design, rampant cheating, and negligible budget for development programs but above all, corruption remains the biggest hurdle.
When the chief minister of the country’s largest province states on record that a degree is a degree, whether fake or genuine, or when a member of the National Assembly is made to resign by courts for having a fake degree and yet he gets re-elected within two months, it only shows a complete lack of honesty and the kind of importance, or lack thereof, given to the education sector of this country. No wonder Asma chose to follow Roger Water’s advice, albeit for more reasons than one. The news