Imran Khan as next Prime Minister of Pakistan and education emergency

  • Hopes are high, intentions seem to be pure and voters are determined to question their leader. Will Imran Khan take up the education challenge and succeed?

Imran Khan’s 22 year long struggle in politics has earned him success in General Elections 2018. His PTI stands first in the National Assembly by winning 115 seats according to the Election Commission of Pakistan. This massive change is evident throughout the country where more than 16 million people have voted in favor of Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaaf. Undoubtedly, the majority of these voters have only voted for the 1992 World Cup winner, not for his candidates. At the same time, his voters are entirely different from the traditional political supporters as they expect massive reforms leading to the well-being of masses and provision of fundamental human rights.

Education crisis in Pakistan demand a political will never witnessed before and the public at large firmly believes that only Imran Khan possesses the ability to bring the change. Education related issues are not easy to resolve for a competent, honest and practical team of experts can only bring improvement.  Some of the most pressing issues in our education system include out-of-school children, Madrassa reforms, wastage of finances and pathetic infrastructure and curriculum reformation.

Out-of-school kids

Around 22 million Pakistani children are out-of-school due to multiple reasons and unfortunately, the number is not due to come down any time soon. Before preparing any policy, the coming government must understand the dynamics depriving kids of the education. The enrollment is very low in underprivileged areas of Pakistan which include Balochistan, interior Sindh, FATA and southern Punjab. War-like strategies should be opted in these areas. These out-of-school children can be divided into three parts on a larger scale:  poverty-stricken, who belong to the backward and terrorism affected areas, economically active children earning bread and butter for their families and female segment which is considered as a lesser being in our male dominant society.

Yet another reason for the failure of reducing the number of out-of-school children is mainly due to misunderstanding the statistics. Oft time while talking about enrolment issues people consider that all these children are between 3 to 5 years old but it isn’t a fact as these 22.6 million kids are of different ages. Hence, without establishing special schools and appropriately trained teachers skilled to teach these altogether different kids well versed with social practices, coping with enrolment problem is impossible.

Poverty-stricken children

The majority of the children deprived of education belong to impoverish families since their parents are unable to even provide proper food, sending kids to school can only be a dream for them. Instead of discussing the much-debated numbers and conditions, Imran Khan must initiate certain strategies to overcome the problem. Provision of meals at schools coupled with a weekly or monthly stipend which is at least PKR 3000 to 5000 will play a vital role in attracting the unfortunate parents grappling with adversaries posed by the poverty. It’ll double the benefit since one of the biggest issues in Pakistan is the growth of the children and a healthy food can only eradicate our undernourished kids’ health problems.

Economically active children out of school

In the land of pure innumerable children are economically active since their families can’t survive if they don’t work and generate finances. These children’s exposure to the cruelties of our society is not less than a horror dream. Their lives are filled with miseries and pain. Pedophiliac monsters, child molesters, inhuman bosses all hunt and exploit these kids’ helplessness and compulsions. Their innocence and playfulness are snatched from them at a very early age. Educating such children is a challenge demanding a careful understanding of the issue. Traditional schools and teachers can’t teach them since a normal classroom is not suitable for them. Special schools should be established for them as their pre-mature exposure to the hardships of life changes their ambitions, habits and they have a practical approach toward life. Whereas, not all these attributes are found in a child leading a normal and healthy life. Yet again, without financial support bringing bread earning kids to schools is impossible.

Predominantly, the economically active children are victims of pedophiles and there are chances that these kids also opt for the same path. Therefore, its necessary to build rehab centers where efforts to bring them to normality are made along with inculcating knowledge.

Girls’ education

The female segment of our society is the most suppressed one where a female is considered incomplete and highly vulnerable in absence of a male supervisor.  Often girls are not sent to schools in poor, backward and religiously influenced areas. The poor can’t afford and label educating girls as a wastage of already scarce finances while people dwelling in backward areas are afraid of the cultural norms that hinder girls from sending to schools. Simultaneously, in some areas where Taliban and likewise anti-state militant groups had their control, girls’ formal education is considered a sin. For instance, most of the girls’ schools were destroyed by TTP in the province of KP.

Apart from these, the number of public schools for girls in Pakistan is less to the unjustifiable extent. Next government must take unprecedented steps to educate the girls since without educating them, empowerment, prosperity and development will only stay a dream.

Madrassas

Not streamlining Madrassas who accommodate about 4 million kids of the nation was a criminal act of our previous rulers. All of the Madrassa-boarding children get education, food, shelter, and clothes, and in absence of these religious schools, the number of out-of-school children must have been closer to 27 million. From funding to curriculum and teacher-training to infrastructure all require government’s attraction. If these problems are resolved and these Madrassas are provided funds by government, most of the terrorism-related issues will diminish.

Better Spending

The annually allocated finances by the governments, federal and provincial, and foreign funds are ample to transform our education system if spent in a smartly. After the 25th amendment, education has become a provincial responsibility, yet the federal government can play a vital role in policymaking.

Voters of Imran Khan are aware and educated at large, hence expect that sweeping change will take place in next five years since PTI’s most chanted manifesto thoroughly depends on the eradication of corruption. Economically, Pakistan is under tremendous pressure, but by eliminating corruption and attracting foreign investors Imran Khan can succeed in making NAYA PAKISTAN.

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Naeem Ahmed Qazi

Naeem Ahmed Qazi

Naeem Ahmed Qazi is committed to helping achieve SDGs through efficient practices for human development. As an educationist by training and social influencer by passion, he has a keen eye for current societal transformation. He serves as a development consultant for national and foreign institutions.