The dying Education sector
Right to education has been recognized as a fundamental human
right and its promotion is one of the most important agenda of
the Millennium Development Goals. Unfortunately, in Pakistan,
especially in Chitral, this sector has collapsed resulting in
degeneration of our national life. There are many reasons for
this malaise but I would confine myself to just one area and as
an educationist, I believe that by addressing this problem area
we can jump starts the improvement process, not just in
education but also in other sectors of the Government.
Government employees are governed under the Civil Servants Act
and rules made under this Act. These rules, codified in the
Estacode, oblige all government employees not to indulge in
politics or become members of political parties or externally
funded NGOs. Any one violating these rules is liable to be
dismissed. These rules are being flouted with impunity and in
most cases with active support and connivance of elected
representatives and senior officials. All efforts to rectify the
situation are being blocked by political leaders. If law makers
are bent upon breaking the laws, there is not much that one can
do about it except waiting for some miracle to happen or just
become a spectator while the system goes asunder.
In Chitral we held three seminars on education since 2005, one
was organized by the then District Government, the other by a
private college and the third one held recently by the DCO. All
three seminars came up with an agreed suggestion that without
enforcing the Conduct and Discipline rules made under the Civil
Servants Act the drift can not be arrested. Sharing their
observations and experiences speakers in these seminars stated
that most of teachers remained on NGO sponsored tours or
seminars during the major part of the year completely ignoring
their teaching duties. They get salaries from the Government but
work for NGOs and political parties. NGOs offer them easy money
while political parties give them protection.
During one of these seminars the District Government promised
action and appointed a committee headed by a young motivated U.C
Nazim, Mohammad Wazir. The committee report was approved and the
EDO Education was directed to take disciplinary action against
all those teachers who were working for NGOs. Show cause notices
were issued to all those teachers but no actions were taken.
There is a strong perception that powerful local politicians
having links at the corridors of power came to their rescue and
defeated the much needed move of the District Government.
Recently a civic spirited citizen, running a private college
filed an application with the EDO Education requesting him to
take action against teachers doing politics and NGO business.
The official tried to intimidate him saying that he had no locus
standi to file the complaint. But he argued that his college
results were badly affected by the quality of students coming to
him from Government schools. Moreover, as a tax payer he had
full rights to hold the system accountable. Even this argument
did not move the authorities, forcing him to threaten the
officials that he would move the courts to get justice. Only
then the complaint was entertained but no action has been taken
A few days back the young man came to me and narrated the whole
story and requested me for help. I told him that my own efforts
in this behalf, including the three seminars, which the mafia
has made ineffective. I advised him not to lose hope and
continue his noble work. Meanwhile I wrote an application to the
Prime Minister for help as a last resort and sought help from a
batch fellow holding important position in the Prime Minister’s
Secretariat but so far nothing has come out it. There is an
impression that a local politician having access to the Prime
Minister may have blocked action on my application. There is a
general perception that some politicians are patronizing these
teachers in return for support in elections.
This is a tragic that some politicians are playing havoc with
national interests for petty political gains. Some people say
that there is a pattern in this madness. They want to maintain
their stranglehold on the society by keeping the majority
uneducated. It is therefore not surprising that their own
children are receiving education in private schools. This is a
suicidal course. Sooner or later the public wrath would wipe
away their castles, built with stolen money from the public
exchequer, if they do not wake up to the emerging realities of
our national life.
Meanwhile will the Supreme Court take suo motu notice of the
situation to ensure the citizen’s fundamental human right to
education? --(Islamuddin, Garam Chashma,
21 Nov 2010).
With reference to the letter by.Islamuddin, I can only add my
profound sorrow and dismay over the state of affairs in
Education Department in Chitral. I borrow a sentence from a most
current article of Dr Faisal Bari who wrote "if we want our
children to be better educated, we need better teachers ...."
The article being worth reading may be accessed at
May I also remind the sitting EDO Education of the enormous
professional responsibilities she owes to Chitral as an educator
and top educational administrator in the district. The youth of
Chitral deserves to benefit from her professional acumen and
wisdom as graduate of not less than the world renowned Aga Khan
University. Failing to manage the educational affairs with
efficiency and effectiveness will yield highly deplorable
consequences. May I also dare to remind the mighty district
administration, headed by a vibrant and vocal DCO, that dealing
a few disgruntled and black-sheep called teachers (if any)
should not be a problem at all. A couple of stringent actions
Is this that a serious matter that the worthy writer had to
approach not less than the Prime Minister of Pakistan for help.
What a pity that local administration is helpless".
--Sajjad Haider, Department of English
NUML, Islamabad, 25 Nov 2010
In continuation of the very important letter of Islamuddin sahib
I want to add a few lines through this letter. Though I am not
educationist , but during my visit to Chitral last year I had
noticed that, the political gathering not only of teachers but
the government servant of almost all agencies in the name of
“SHAPIK" was in the peak. The hosts were mainly those who work
in clerical position in various government departments specially
in food and C&W and live like kings, were in competition to
offer batter service (Shapik) to their illegal political guests.
I noticed that, even a local politician organized similar nature
of get together in governor cottage, where 80% hosts were
government employees including doctors. It is beyond imagination
that, formal party based organizations of government servants
are formed having fully functional panel. So far I was thinking
that, permission may have been granted for such activities, but
the letter of Islamuddin shows that it is illegal under
government servant act. How surprising it is that, head of
departments, even minister who has taken oath in front of 140
million people to remain faithful with country is openly
violating an act of constitution.
NGO bribery to key segment of the society including teachers
specially journalists, in the name of exposure tour is there for
decades, and every new NGO offer this bribe to journalists and
news reporters (save noble exceptions) to use the media for its
advertisement and to spread propagandas in is favor. The news
reporters then stand tough to report any thing against the NGOs
which blocks their vocal cord with one single exposure tour.
Similar are the teachers and head of departments who grant
permission to their staff to do so. NGOs bribe to higher ups of
government departments first in the name of consultancy, despite
knowing the fact that they have zero knowledge about the subject
of consultancy they are hired for.
I strongly support Mr. Islamuddin to keep the teachers and other
government officials specially the clerks who control their
bosses, away from politics, and concentrate on their primary
responsibilities. I will also request the journalists and media
reporters to avoid participating in activities which tapes their
mouth and hands to write and report the truth in the best
interest of the nation specially Chitral.
--Dr. Khalil (Jughooru), Hamilton Ontario Canada, 25 Nov 2010.
The learned writer has rightly pointed out basing his arguments
on the ground realities. Here I would like to add few points in
this regard on other perspective but my points will at the end
certainly converge to the topic.
It is a universal fact that every thing revolves around
education. Education is the bedrock and very foundation of the
nation. Alexander the great says about Aristotle (his tutor and
great Greek philosopher) “father gave me life and teacher
endowed me with the art to live. Would it be better to broaden
my knowledge in lieu of stretch in my empire and I could reach
to virtue”. I can conclude here that the real powerful empire is
knowledge not money and empire but unfortunately majority of our
people have created gap between knowledge and education. We
think that teaching is an easy and cozy profession. There are
more vacations and less accountability in this profession. I
think and most will be agreeing with me that teaching is not a
profession but a most difficult task of dedication and
commitment for a noble cause of nation building.
Both public and private sector teachers, not all, are recruited
without considering their orientation, aspiration, knowledge and
philosophy of education. These uncommitted and least dedicated
teachers, either most of the time remain absent from educational
institutions or taking no interest in their duty or leave to
another department on the behest of others having partisan dual
Another important thing is our philosophy of education. We get
education more for the sake of money and less for the sake of
knowledge. Our educational policy at national level seems to be
based on short term objectives without considering long term
goals. Unless we make multi-disciplinary research based approach
for preparing such a curriculum which could integrate all aspect
of human life and development, can never improve education
system and quality of life in this class based education system.
Now we need to develop a conducive educational culture every
where inducing students to have a positive approach to
understand what exactly the philosophy of education is?
Government and private sector should collaboratively make black
and white rules bring all the points in questions in exhaustive
consideration of educationists and research scholars
guaranteeing their implementation with letter and spirit.
--Alhaj Muhammad Khan, Charun, Chitral.
26, Nov 2010
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