PRINCIPLE CONCEPT: Uniform Education System
Benefits of the legislation:
While literacy is a major problem in Pakistan, another problem is that of numerous and parallel education systems that exist in Pakistan. This means that a student from a government school is ill equipped to compete with a student from a private school that provides the British or French (International Baccalaureate) system of education. Even though this disparity cannot be removed, the government can establish a standardized entrance and graduation testing system for school, college and university aspirants and students.
By having a progressive (at least) three-tier testing system, a parity can be created as it can ensure that all those who enter the education system have the base-line knowledge to succeed in future endeavors.
This will create a better work force and decrease the number of dissatisfied youth as passing the government’s standardized entrance (and also graduation) test would ensure that all citizens would have access to the same opportunities of education and employment in Pakistan.
BENEFITS TO THE COMMON MAN:
The creation of such a system would mean that a higher percentage of the annual budget would be dedicated to education, which would be an achievement considering the miniscule sum dedicated to it currently
The establishment of such a system would also require the creation of educational infrastructure and schools or the improvement of existing educational infrastructure, particularly in the rural areas of Pakistan. This will provide a much greater number of people with the opportunity to have access to education.
The standardization of testing would mean that everyone in Pakistan would have equal chances of getting into colleges and universities. Moreover, it would also end the reverse discrimination that students educated through the British system sometimes face (in marks conversion) or the preferential treatment given on the basis of domicile due to the quota system (which is extremely susceptible to malpractice.)
Consequently, this system will not just bring uniformity in the education systems across Pakistan but will also allow people from less affluent and poor backgrounds to become eligible for jobs that had been beyond their reach in the past, simply by passing a standardized test.
DETAILS OF THE PROPOSED LEGISLATION:
The proposed legislation would aim to bring uniformity in various education systems operational in the country, through listing compulsory subjects that all students would have to study at different levels and in different fields, from 3rd grade up to university level.
The choice of subject, curriculum and educational content would be decided on by a team of local and foreign education experts in the related fields. The team of experts would be asked to include character building content in the academic courses for inculcating moral values and strong ethical sense in the youth.
Another important aspect of revolutionizing the educational system of the country is to shift focus from the memorization culture to the understanding of basics, creativity, accomplishment and the capability to give back.
A baseline test would be created for primary, secondary, intermediate and university students, which would be compulsory for all in addition to the regular school exams. This would ensure that all students at different levels of schooling meet a certain set standard, nationwide.
Specific attention will be given to rural and less developed areas, where special classes will be conducted to ensure that students have the required training to sit for that particular test.
The results of the tests will also show not just the level of literacy in different areas of Pakistan but also the nature of literacy in each area. For instance, if a college student from a remote village in Baluchistan is incapable of clearing the standardized test for secondary school, then it would clearly illustrate that the level of education in that area requires improvement.
Tutorials, audio and visual guides, and coaching and training facilities would be provided to students belonging to remote areas. The test results would also highlight the areas where such training is necessary or requires improvement.
The government can approach various voluntary teaching programs operating in Pakistan for recruiting qualified teachers. Another option is making ‘3 to 6 months’ of practical education in form of “teaching internship/assignment” in rural areas, mandatory for graduate degree students. Classroom instruction or teaching a term in school can also be made an essential part of the graduate degree programs, in order to facilitate education in all parts of the country.
In order to encourage a learning culture across the country, the government must award scholarships annually from a bigger platform. Rewards awarded to exceptional students by the state must be publicized and posted on government portals. This would not just bring the brilliant minds of the country into the limelight but would also inspire the younger lot to strive harder.