Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Education and the Idealogy of Pakistan

1. Ideology
Before knowing about the ideology of Pakistan it is necessary to know about what is meant by ideology in common terms. The oxford dictionary (2001) interprets ‘Ideology’ as “ a set of ideas that an economic or political system is based on. It is a set of beliefs specially one held by a particular group that influences the way people behave.” The word ideology is in French region it is made up of two components namely ‘idea’ and ‘logy’. Hence, ideology is a systematic body of concepts, especially about life or culture. It could be the product of the great and influential of minds or it could evolve as a result of divine guidance (Ahmad, et al, 2007)
Ideology of Pakistan
The ideology of Pakistan took shape through an evolutionary process. Historical experience provided the base; Allama Iqbal gave it a philosophical explanation; Quaid-i-Azam translated it into a political reality; and the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan, by passing Objectives Resolution in March 1949, gave it legal sanction. It was due to the realization of the Muslims of South Asia that they are different from the Hindus that they demanded separate electorates. However when they realized that their future in a 'Democratic India' dominated by Hindu majority was not safe, they changed their demand to a separate state. The ideology of Pakistan stemmed from the instinct of the Muslim community of South Asia to maintain their individuality in the Hindu society. The Muslims believed that Islam and Hinduism are not only two religions, but are two social orders that produced two distinct cultures. There is no compatibility between the two. A deep study of the history of this land proves that the differences between Hindus and Muslims are not confined to the struggle for political supremacy but are also manifested in the clash of two social orders. Despite living together for more than one thousand years, they continue to develop different cultures and traditions. Their eating habits, music, architecture and script, all are poles apart. The basis of the Muslim nationhood was neither territorial nor racial or linguistic or ethnic rather they were a nation because they belonged to the same faith, Islam. They demanded that the areas where they were in majority should be constituted into a sovereign state, wherein they could order their lives in accordance with the teachings of Holy Quran and Sunnah of Holy Prophet (PBUH). Evolution of 'Two Nation Theory' Concept of Muslims as a Nation developed before the establishment of Pakistan. Pakistan was the product of this concept of nationhood rather than Pakistan creating a concept of nationhood. Retrospectively the Muslim nationalism emerged with the advent of Islam that introduced new principles pertinent to every sphere of life. It pledged the redemption of the humankind establishing a benign society based on Qur'anic teachings.


Nationalization and privatization of education in Pakistan
Since independence, successive governments in Pakistan have been endeavoring to bring improvement in the education system of the country. The education policies have undergone many phases: nationalization, privatization, Education Sector Reforms (ESR) and, last but not the least, Education for All (EFA). During the last decade, political and economic pressures, especially those from external sources, have impacted the nature and extent of the education interventions extensively in Pakistan. Policies, such as EFA and ESR, are directed by the international organizations targeted to bring about radical changes and adoption of neo-liberal approaches in the education sector in Pakistan. However, the participation of the major stakeholders has been minimal. (Tahir, 2006)
The concept of Public Sector emerged under Economic Reform Order (ERO) of January 1972, when major nationalization of educational and industrial sector took place. Accordingly, the Government set up a new ministry namely Ministry of Production to supervise the affairs of newly nationalized Public Industrial Sector. From 1990, the year of the World Conference on Education for All (EFA), through mid-2005, the World Bank committed approximately $12.5 billion in support of the expansion and improvement of primary education in developing countries. By the early years of the current century support to primary education was nearly half of the Bank's lending portfolio in education. Sector studies and Bank strategies have emphasized the critical role of primary education --especially the basic knowledge and skills it provides. Expansion and improvement of primary education are often at the center of a country's poverty reduction efforts. In 2006, the Independent Evaluation Group issued From Schooling Access to Learning Outcomes: An Unfinished Agenda, which assessed the development effectiveness of World Bank assistance to improve countries' knowledge and skills base through the provision of quality primary education to all children, especially since 1990.The evaluation drew on many sources of information, including desk reviews of the portfolio of primary education lending and analytic work, in-depth project evaluations and country case studies.
The privatization of a men's college in Lahore has raised strong feelings across the country. There are two grounds for this controversy. First, this privatization has taken place despite assurances, agreements and official memoranda from the government that more public education resources will not be privatized. Secondly, the de-nationalization of Forman Christian College is contentious because the college has been handed over to an American group, the United Presbyterian Church of USA.( Iqtidar,H.2003)
Showing blatant disregard for the agreement reached in 2002 with the protest movement against privatization of healthcare and education whereby the government had agreed to halt further denationalization without consultation, the 'Real Democracy' government of Gen. Musharraf decided to privatize, or 'grant autonomy' as the spin doctors like to call it, to the college in March 2003. As a result of this decision there were protests by students and teachers, which were brutally crushed by the police. A Joint Action Committee that had been formed as a response to the promulgation of an ordinance in 2001 stipulating the formulation of Boards of Governors in public universities and colleges as a first step towards privatization stepped up the level of protests. Still, the government officially handed over the management of the college to the United Presbyterian Church of USA, whose claim on the college is dubious at best, on March 19, 2003.
The overall consequence shows that the privatization of education in Pakistan has played a pivotal role in the education system and its progress. One of the main benefit that is given by the private sectors is the quality of education. Though now we have an access to some extent to the basic education but the need is to standardize the quality in our education system. That is what the private sectors try to do but how far can they sustain this quality? It is an impotant and demanding question for the private or/and Non-Governmental Organizations(NGOs) and Public educational sectors.

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