Saturday, 4 September 2010
Education and exclusion
During the developmental stages of the present Education Policy (in 2006 perhaps), it was opened for debate/deliberation among people in the education sector on the grassroots level. One such deliberations session was held in the Khyber Medical College, Peshawar in which teachers/educationists and stakeholders from schools, colleges and universities in the province took place. I was teaching at the IER University of Peshawar and was asked by my HOD to attend the session on his behalf. I was included in the group which deliberated on 'The aims of Education'. The first question that we were asked to delibrate on was: What should be the first aim of Education? I was selected as a representative of my group and I proposed that the first aim of education should be 'The development of a good HUMAN BEING'. I was confronted with an uproar of opposition from the whole gathering of 'educationists' consisting of headteachers, DEO's, EDO's, Teachers, Principals and students, all of them proposing instead that the first aim of education should be 'The development of a good MUSLIM' and not a good HUMANBEING!. When I tried to tell them that the National Education policy should represent not just muslims in Pakistan but every Pakistani who is a citizen of the state, I was shouted down by a few firy ones among them as a 'dictator' who wanted to impose his views on the majority of the attendents. There were a few who tacitly agree with my view but did not come up in my support openly. Consequently I had to relent and the 'majority' prevailed in fixing the first aim of education as 'The development/creation of a good MUSLIM'. Ms Zubeida Mustafa(http://epaper.dawn.com/ArticleText.aspx?article=14_07_2010_007_007) is pointing out that deeper malaise. Its not just the madrassa. Probably that is insignificant in comparison to the prevalence of the ideology of 'exclusion' in the mainstream education system in Pakistan.