Education: A tool for political revival

Education is the heart and soul of Pakistan, if the state wishes to reap the benefits of a burgeoning economy, and population, then education should be regarded as a strategic imperative as a tool to expand the understanding of the people. This is one of the main pillars of a functioning democracy, the greater the rate of education, the greater the rate of political activity amongst the people, and hence a more fitting state. The book wields immense power over the political map of Pakistan and is one of the greatest tools to make Pakistan more than a crisis state.

Education is supposed to be an opportunity for all, regardless of caste or creed. This should have been the standard but in the status quo, there is an issue of female representation, along with opportunities for the underprivileged. The flaws of the education sector fall into one of two categories, either negligence or incomplete policies. This disparity in education has opened the door to radicalization by multiple militias and terror organizations, along with indoctrination into radical political philosophies, such as that of ethnic purity. The greatest way to hinder the progress of any great nation is not to oppress the people, that they may not speak. But to make sure that a nation is illiterate, that the people do not know how to speak. By allowing discrimination in education, a society inadvertently creates people who are easily radicalised and hence this begins a chain reaction ending with the complete political polarization of a nation.

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A failure to provide, along with a failure to guarantee quality allows the alienation of societies, an example of both is the Single National Curriculum: a grand gesture to create an equal opportunity for education and so a level political map; ended with the dissolution of a government and Islamabad no longer paying attention to the SNC any more, leaving it as a shadow of an unfulfilled promise. To have adequate political representation, along with participation means that the state needs to prioritise education as a budgetary policy. Of the over 9000 Government Schools in Balochistan, more than half of them do not have access to running water. The failure of a stable education system in Balochistan only exacerbated a concurrent security crisis, by allowing students to be easily politically indoctrinated to radical groups, along with allowing them to be easily indoctrinated as child soldiers. Even the minute task of paying teachers their salary can lead to a better functioning democracy when you have a literate population.

Hoping for a prosperous state while simultaneously creating a disengaged population is a misnomer. If a state can spend a quarter of its budget dedicated to the sale of arms and establishing the economic stability of the armed forces, then it is not a grand task to expect Islamabad to increase spending on equal education instead of constantly slashing its budget. Islamabad dedicates 1.7% of its GDP to the education sector, under this circumstance if we expect a properly functioning democracy along with a non-violent population then the state and its people are living in fiction.

Ahmed Arif Piracha

Lahore

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