Educational institutions come under fire Karachi, Government apathy, negligence and greed have played a large role in the dismal standard of Pakistan’s educational institutions, and as a result the nation’s graduates can only be considered as partially educated.

This was the general opinion expressed at a seminar on “Role of Educational Institutions in Progress and Development” on Saturday at the Fyzee Rahimin Art Gallery.

Organized by the Institute of Ethics and Culture in collaboration with the Community Development department of the City District Government Karachi (CDGK), the seminar featured several speakers in different capacities.

Registrar Sir Syed University of Engineering and Technology (SSUET) Shah Mahmood Hasan Syed presided over the program and said that the government has failed in its responsibility as provider of primary and secondary education due to the lack of proper planning and corruption.

He pointed out that the country possessed several education systems that were highly polarized. Madressas had their own “brand” of graduates that were affiliated with various sects, while government schools and colleges were both physically and academically inept, he said. He observed that foreign education systems such as Oxford and Cambridge only catered to the needs of the upper echelons of society.

Syed criticized the gradual removal of Urdu as the language of instruction from schools and said that this was the reason why students were deficient in both the languages.

“Urdu was a language that had proved its worth before partition and in the early years after the creation of Pakistan but people with western training and perceptions replaced it with English which proved to be lethal. One can understand and assimilate knowledge far better in one’s mother tongue than in a foreign language”, he pointed out.

Syed suggested that the government had to make education its top priority if it wanted the nation to be truly educated. “We are capable of performing the most difficult tasks when it is prioritized. We have the example in our nuclear program,” he added. Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of a private TV channel Jehangir Syed also denounced the government for its role in the current state of Pakistan’s educational institutions.

“The government has been playing a game of hide and seeks with the educational system for the last 63 years. By introducing and removing educational policies over time has resulted in a state of confusion in which the very fiber of Pakistan’s education system has been torn. We are creating masters and slaves with the current system that is in shambles,” he said with disappointment.

A senior journalist from the Jang media group, Dr Ishtiaq Ali Khan, expressed that the first step for the government to take towards improving the state of education is to set a new bar for the standards of primary and secondary schooling systems in the country.

“If the base is strong only then can higher education institutions set their standards accordingly. Our graduates are half-educated because they rely on rote-learning and they lack the linguistic knowledge in their chosen subjects,” he told the audience. Director Institute of Ethics and Culture Haleem Sharar said that the disintegration of government schools and higher education had turned education into a lucrative business where incapable people were opening schools and hiring incompetent teachers.

He also mentioned a survey in which officials from 40 private schools were asked if they would allow a student to complete his studies if he or she was unable to pay school fees after the death of the household’s bread-winner.

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