University Education in Pakistan By Muhammad Wajahat Sultan
There are two broad functions of university education in the world. One is the manifest function, which can be termed as to produce students for the competitive market economy to compete in society. The other is the latent function, which means teaching the norms, mores, critical thinking, and long-term sustainability of knowledge and wisdom. The former is functioning well in Pakistan’s university education while the latter is deficient in coping with the flexibility in society. The spirit to compete is ubiquitous due to a capitalist economy, while social ethics is still persistent to continually absent from the university set-up. Education without philosophy is blind; the spirit of philosophy in university culture is diminishing day by day due to technological advancement. The science, which is the cultivation of philosophy, is more enthusiastic in the educational realm, while the philosophy to understand the difficulties in life which can be originated due to commercial setup is absent. In our universities, the intellectual culture, rationalization, and discussions have partially become estranged due to the ban on gatherings and a lack of consciousness in the teaching sector. In the 21st Century, our university education is still steadfast to the outdated, obsolete, and monotonous curriculum in which one can quickly scrutinize that material itself is copied and plagiarized. The lack of social ethics in pedagogy is a new normal, which will cause disastrous consequences for coming future generations.
According to the theory of Irrelevant Classes in homo sapiens by Yuval Noah Hariri, the contemporary educational system and policies would produce irrelevant classes if they demonized critical thinking, statistically analyzing and consciousness of science and technology. In the educational system of Pakistan, particularly university education, we are producing irrelevant classes for the future, which do not incline to science and technology, and only the defined curriculum and zealous cramming system is the favourite mantra. For the last 70 years, our universities have failed to produce any Nobel laureate except one to two; universities remain deficient in making any philosopher or historian. This is the demon of inefficiency destroying and decaying the social fabrics in terms of intellectuality in Pakistan. Our educational setup carries the traditional outlook of educational policies in universities; they produce “zombies.”
If Thomas Jefferson had never challenged the authority of the Church, West would still be in Slavery.
Why do I call it a zombies’ production? Because the current system of education in universities only induces passive conformity and compliance. Without a culture of intellectual biases, intellectual reservations, and critical knowledge, no nation can compete globally. For example, Noam Chomsky wrote more than hundreds of books against American Atrocities. However, still, he is living a pleasurable life in America. Still, in Pakistan, if a single student at any university shows any reservations over the ineffectiveness of policies, they are expunged and terminated, which further causes social annihilation for individuals in socio-economic setup. It is problematic to run 224 million people with such a congested and subjective approach to Educational Policy.
Now, I wish to discuss the two models of education, which are named as Master Model and the Factory Model. In the Factory Model, indoctrination is entrenched through systematic methods, sometimes through ideological consent, and sometimes with cultural supremacy. On the other hand Master Model of Education is what Finland and Scandinavian Countries adhere to in which innovation, creativity, and newness are induced. Our universities are afraid of newness and criticality, which is again problematic. This intellectual assault on young minds evolved them into an irrelevant class for the global community. Systematically removing the ability to conceive, speculate, and reflect evolved young minds as incompetent human beings in the course of tomorrow.
We are lacking free thinkers; Europe and Western Countries flourished due to the challenging ideas of freethinkers. In Pakistan, the free thinker is associated with cultural taboo or pessimistic attitudes. Nietzsche referred that hierarchical obedience is the morality of enslaved people. If Thomas Jefferson had never challenged the authority of the Church, West would still be in Slavery. They allow the free thinkers to point out the issues and rectify them accordingly. In Pakistan, free thinkers confront apostasy, blasphemy, and religious bigotry. Free thinking is also systematically vanishing from the Universities Setup.
Universities provide the goals and expectations to youth, but the Institutional means to acquire those expectations and goals are drastically insufficient. After graduation, when Young minds come into the real world, they find themselves confused and befuddled. When universities fail to enrich and upgrade their graduates, they become inconsistent youth which causes more burden on our economic and social setup. We used to boast that we have a young influx of population, but we failed to acquaint that we have no means to accommodate the young influx of population.
Neil Postman, a renowned social critic, and educationalist focused on technology in schooling and technology education. Uncontrollable technology is converting schools into controlled social agencies by defining curricula and syllabi to make students less creative and more attentive. So he focused on re-defining and re-aligning education in some ethical way as uncontrollable technology use in education has failed to make a socially moral society. In Pakistani Universities, we need intellectual diversity and intellectual plurality rather than intellectually bankrupt to compete and be Homo Deus in the global world.
A quick solution is to introduce scientific methods, technological innovations, and social philosophy to respond to any situation in their life. The culture to have extracurricular activities in terms of academia, general reading, and research-based habits should be nourished in students from the first day of graduation to the end day of university for being relevant, efficient, and empowered.
Coming to the way forward, our universities are the hubs to exchange cultures, ethnicities, and diversity. We need little and gradual reformation through the constitution in which Student empowered culture should be introduced, in which rationality, logical reasoning, cognitive abilities, and critical thinking should be more reverend than any Parochial approach of Pedagogy. In Japan, students before the entrance to universities are accessed through the ability of students to respond to critical situations, logic, and reason rather than numbers. Stats are troublesome to navigate the abilities of individuals. Universities need to update their software from the bottom up to the top bottom for being relevant in academic exchange in the international arena. Education is the right of all citizens but flexible education, not the rigid model, which evolves them functionally literate to be just economic men rather than social men.
The writer is a student.
University Education in Pakistan By Muhammad Wajahat Sultan