Where is Quality in Education? By Attiya Munawar

HIGH quality education and training play a crucial role in the development of any country.

Without education, no nation and society can achieve its goals and objectives. Only a conscious Nation can establish an ideal society, and this is not possible without education.

The importance of education is best illustrated by Nelson Mandela, the revolutionary leader of South Africa, who said that education is a powerful weapon, which you can use to change the world.

Our dear homeland is among the countries where the quality of education is in negligible roots.

According to the latest UNICEF report, more than 60 million children in Pakistan are deprived of primary and more than 20 million children lack secondary level education.

Our education system is not only suffering from many shortcomings but also suffering from inattention.

The government may give colleges the status of universities, but unless the shortcomings from the educational institutions and education system are rectified, the quality of education in the country can neither be improved nor the sense of deprivation can be completely eradicated.

The Punjab government’s Higher Education Commission these days is focusing on building new universities in every district of the province and the strategy being adopted is to turn the largest college in each district into a university but no steps are being taken to improve its quality and meet its needs.

In this regard, a high-level review meeting chaired by Punjab Chief Minister reviewed the issues related to the Higher Education Commission and decided to set up 15 new universities.

While considering partnership and joint venture issues, it was also decided to introduce the concept of smart university in the province.

The Chief Minister was informed during the briefing that 197 higher education projects across the province will be completed at a cost of Rs 15 billion.

The process of transfer of land of 21 colleges for setting up of 88 new colleges has been completed.

Emphasis was to be placed on the process of filling up vacant posts of college principals and ensuring appointment of controllers and secretaries of education boards on merit.

There is no doubt that everyone from the provincial Chief Minister to the Provincial Ministers chatters about merit, but in practice all appointments are made on political grounds, then expecting a good performance is tantamount to deceiving the people as well as oneself.

It is not known who has advised the government that the creation of new universities will revolutionize the promotion of education in the country.

In this whole matter, no attention is being paid to the fact that the new universities that are being built are standardized or from where standard libraries, laboratories, and above all well-trained teachers will come?

Nowhere in the world are universities set up to replace one board with another and to change the position of head of the institution. Several important issues need urgent attention.

Instead of seeking advice on political grounds, the Punjab Chief Minister should form a high-level committee of education experts to formulate a better strategy for the establishment of new universities and their affairs in consultation with them.

Otherwise, how new universities are being built instead of improving the quality of education will lead to further decline, while the conversion of colleges into universities will increase fees and other tuition costs, bringing the common man closer to education will go further away instead.

—The writer is a regular columnist, based in Lahore.

Source: Published in Pak Obsever​

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