EDUCATION AS AN AGENT OF CHANGE
Education brings change and if there is no change then there is something wrong with the education system.
Extent of the issue
- Education brings economic change.
- People learn skills to survive.
- Improvement in social status and living standards is caused by education.
- Emergence of middle class.
- Overall progress of a country.
- Education brings intellectual change which revolutionise life.
- Political awareness.
- Social awareness
- Religious understanding
- Cultural understanding.
- Behavioral understanding understandings.
- On oral understandings.
- Education promotes women empowerment.
- Education brings confidence.
- Education helps in solving unresolved problems.
Reasons for failure of education to bring change in Pakistan:
- Education system of Pakistan is examination oriented, not knowledge oriented.
- No uniform system of education.
- Education sector is not on the priority list of Government.
- Existing curriculum lacks relevance to the needs of life.
- Outdated curriculum.
- Unskilled teachers.
- There are hindrances in the way of women to acquire education.
- Education must inspire inquiry.
- Improving the relevance of curriculum to the needs of life.
- Research based curriculum.
- Nexus with industry and workplace.
- Focus on character building.
- There should be a uniform system of education.
- Increased budgetary allocations.
- Raising the status of teachers.
Education as an agent of change
- Education is an important ammunition in the arsenal of a nation that ensures and promotes its socio-economic development. Education brings economic, intellectual and social changes in the society. It is a catalyst for national development. Nations rise or fall merely on the strength or weakness of their education system. It changes the whole outlook of society. It helps in solving the unresolved problems of society. In other words, it is the education which promotes social progress of a society and if it fails to bring a meaningful change, as is the case of Pakistan, then there is something wrong with the educational system.
- Education brings change in the economic structure of society. It results in the economic emancipation of individuals. Modern societies are open and an individual can move in upward or downward direction on the Socio-economic Scale. Education helps an individual to move in an upward direction. People learn the skills to survive through education. It equips a person to cope with the unfavourable circumstances. Education teaches the art of living that can be utilized to live a better life.
- Modern world is knowledge oriented. People with education are more likely to succeed in this modern world. An educated person can improve his social status and raise his living standard. On the other hand, an illiterate person is trap in a vicious cycle of poverty. There is a tendency among the poor people to send their children to workplace instead of school in the hope of earning some extra pennies. But what they do, is ruin the prospect of career advancement of their child. It is only the education that can help in destroying the shackles of poverty. Without education a person cannot find a suitable and respectable source of earning. Thus, education can help in reducing poverty and promoting individual as well as national development.
- The most noticeable change brought by the education is the emergence of middle class. Middle class is created when people belonging to the lower strata of society are able to raise their status. In other words, it is created as a result of the development of poor people. Only education has the capacity to raise the status of a person. This middle class which emerges as a result of education is extremely important for the progress of a country. Middle class acts as a stabilizing factor of society. It helps in furthering the democratic principals in a society. It also raises the savings of a country which can be used for investment purposes. This results in the overall progress of a country and it changes into a more better place to live.
- In addition to the economic change, education also brings intellectual change. Intellectual emancipation of a society is imperative if it is to attain its rightful status among the comity of societies. Education helps an individual to come out from the shadow of superstitions and understands the realities of life. It creates awareness in him. A person becomes more conversant with his surroundings. In this democratic world, political awareness is imperative for the protection and promotion of rights. In countries where there is high literary level, there is an increased level of public participation in polities, hence, established democracy. People become more involved in the national policies which keeps the government on the right path.
- Education also brings social awareness. People raise themselves from the parochial prejudices. They do not become prey to superstitions. On the other hand, an illiterate person easily becomes target of social evils. Internal feuds and ethnic jealousies destroy the social fabric of society. A society does not become fully integrated. As a result, conflicts break out continuously. Throughout the world, from Asia to Africa internal feud is the outcome of illiteracy. Almost all the countries that are suffering from internal chaos have low literacy rate. But when education is given to the people, society inevitably comes out from the internal conflicts. The example of Sri lanka is most obvious. Sri lanka struggles for two than two decades in becoming a fully integrated society, resulting in an internal conflict, almost of the magnitude of civil war. But when she raised the level of her education and achieved 99% literary rate of her people. She was able to overcome its domestic problem and embarked on a road to progress.
- Similarly education helps in understanding religious injunctions. An illiterate person can easily be misguided on religious issues. He is more prone to adopt fundamental views of religion. An educated person, on the other hand, does not become victim to the religious extremists. He understands the religion in its true spirit. The problem of Muslim Ummah of becoming religiously fanatic is due to illiteracy. Islam, the religion of peace, is interpreted as an extremist religion by many religious leaders for their ulterior motives. People believe in them owing to their inability to understand the religious issues. The result is disastrous not only for an individual, but also for society at large. This radicalisation of society can be cured through education. Education will give more liberal, tolerant outlook to society. It will save individuals from falling prey to the religious opportunists.
- In the same way, education helps in challenging the evil social practices of society. Every culture has some good norms and some bad norms. An illiterate society, however, has more bad cultural practices than the good ones. The problems in the culture of Pakistan are also due to illiteracy. Problems like honour killing, wani, domestic violence are also because of illiteracy. These problems can be tackled through education. Education will improve the cultural understanding so as eradicate the evil customs of a culture. This will also help in understanding the culture of other societies. Cultural understanding of other societies is imperative for peaceful co-existence in this modern world.
- Education acts as an agent of change by helping in understanding the behavioural attitude of other persons. This understanding is imperative for developing and maintaining social cohesion. Every society is a mixture of different ethnic, religious and sectarian group. Countries which have developed education system are more liberal and tolerant of conflicting views and opinions. Thus, education brings a change in the intellectual and social life of an individual and moves him in a positive direction.
- Another important social aspect of change brought by the education is the increase in the status of women. Education promotes women empowerment. Modern society is patriarchal in nature i.e., male dominated. Education has helped women to become the part of mainstream society. For centuries, women are suppressed and oppressed due to a perceived notion of them being weak and dependent upon man. Education has helped them in achieving a better status for themselves. The empowerment of women is certaining a good omen for the development of a country. Women constitutes more than a help population of the world. The much needed progress cannot be achieved if the half of the population remains dependent. The women of Europe has managed to become a part of mainstream society with equal rights and duties to man. It is the education which has brought this significant social change in European society.
- There is yet another way by which education helps in promoting change i.e., by solving unresolved problems. Every society has some unsolved issues. Pakistani society is also facing the problems of terrorism, extremism, energy crisis, corruption, poverty etc. all these issues can be resolved with the aid of education. The solution of these problems will undoubtedly usher a new era of social and economic development of Pakistan.
- At this point, it would not be out of place to discuss some of the causes that have hindered the way of education to bring a meaningful change in Pakistan.
- First of all, education system of Pakistan is examination oriented, not knowledge oriented. Education is acquired primarily for the purpose of economic benefit. The intellectual and social aspect of education is totally neglected. The whole system is set-up to get more graduates, rather than nurturing them as good members of society. As a result, rot culture has crept in the educational system. Students cram few important questions to clear examination without understanding their concept or grasping full control over subject. This inclination of examination orientation of our educational system has badly affected the capacity of education to bring out change in Pakistan.
- Closely related to the problem of examination oriented system, is the problem of having multiple systems of education. In fact, there is no system of education at all. Many systems are running simultaneously rendering the entire education system a nullity. In Pakistan, we have a Cambridge School System, Elementary School System and religious Madressahs. All are quite different from each other. The medium of instructions in all the above systems in also different. This hinders the integration of society on equal education and social division ensues which does not allow the education to bring change.
- The reason for this ailing condition of the education system of Pakistan is the fact that education has never attained the status of priority item of any Government. Not a single Government can claim to make a concerted effort to promote education in Pakistan. A Government’s commitment toward any issue is best demonstrated through the allocation of funds in the national budget. Education has received extremely cold response from succeeding governments as only 2% of GDP is reserved for education. This is insufficient to give education to 180 million people.
- The succeeding governments have not even managed to devise a curriculum that has relevance to the needs of life. The existing curriculum lacks relevance to the needs of time. The present curriculum is outdated and have no relevance to the needs of modern times. This irrelevance of curriculum has made the entire education system as an aimless and directionless system.
- Another problem faced by the education system of Pakistan is the presence of unskilled teachers. A person who is not able to find any other job, then opts to become a teacher. It is generally said about the teacher that teacher is only one lesson ahead of the student. There is no training system for the training of teachers. Teachers are paid nominally and there is no criteria for the evaluation of teachers. Teacher is an important pillar in any educational system. When the entire process of selecting teachers is flawed, how come the education system be expected to yield results?
- As stated earlier, women constitute more than half of a population. There are hindrances in the way of education to get education,. Education of women means the education of a generation. In the absence of education of women, education cannot bring real meaningful change in Pakistan.
- A few suggestions can be pinned down here to improve the educational quality, so it to enable to bring a change in Pakistan.
- The first thing which needs to be done is to make the education system as knowledge oriented. Education must inspire inquiry. An education must be devised in a way that broaden the horizon of mind of student. After getting education, a student must have the ability to use his education in practical life. Rot culture must be replaced by the spirit of inquiry and research.
- The curriculum must also be improved to meet the needs of time. Curriculum must be set in a way that promote research culture. It must have a nexus with industry and workplace.
- Similarly, the education must be imparted is a way that develops the character of student. Character building and personality development of the student must be the aims of the education system. Only if the education focus on the personality development; it is only then the education can act as an agent of change.
- All the above referred reforms in the education system can only be done, if there is a system at all. Working of numerous system invalidates all. An education system must be developed that represents all segment of society. In other words, there must be a uniform system of instruction. All inequalities in the education system must be removed forthwith. A uniform education system that is at par with the international standards is the agent of change and that is what is needed in Pakistan. In order to establish a uniform educational structure, government must increase budgetary allocation. After the 18th amendment education has become a provincial subject. Provincial Governments must increase the budgetary allocation to improve the existing educational infrastructure. Investment on education is an investment on the future of country. Heavy investment must be made to secure the future of nation.
- Teachers are the third side of the triangle of education system along with students and government. The status of teachers in the society must be enhanced to attract competent persons to teaching profession. Further, the pedagogical skills of teachers must be increased through training. An effective control must be kept on the teachers to ensure maximum results. Teacher evaluation must be introduced and incentives must be given to teachers on good performance. Last but not the least teacher absenteeism must be curbed.
- From the above discussion, it can be concluded that the education is powerful agent of change. It ensures the development of an individual and moves the society on the path of progress and prosperity. In case the education has not brought the desired results the education system of a country must be reformed as the problem is not with the education itself, but with the system.