The text books fail to relate to the outer, real world. Usually the syllabi is focused solely on filling the young minds with an immeasurable amount of data
The whole educational and professional training system is a very elaborate filter, which just weeds out people who are too independent, and who think for themselves, and who don't know how to be submissive, and so on -- because they're dysfunctional to the institutions.
— Noam Chomsky
Let’s leave aside the sorry, low literacy rate of 58 per cent. Let us not bother about the fact that only Nigeria’s performance on literacy front is as dismal as Pakistan’s. There are 5.1 million out-of-school children while 7.5 per cent female literacy rate in the Tribal Areas mocks at us indeed.
However, the quality of education even in the case of lucky ones who attend a school, leaves much to be desired.
Our conventional education boils down to nothing more than grading,’ Rataa’ (cramming) and passing the classes. The education system fails to make anyone realize the true beauty of education that is the power to ask question instead of confiding in the pre-explored territories, living at the cost of minds that have already contributed to this world by research and inventions. In the words of renowned writer Dorris Lessing, ‘We have not yet evolved a system of education that is not a system of indoctrination’.
If a seven year old is taught with an aim to make him/her a walking textbook in itself, merely shows the restricted goal of dispatching the class to the next level. The idea of a thriving, healthy and questioning mind is lost somewhere in between; probably it was a conscious effort to lock it down there. It might smack of some conspiracy theory but in real it is the reflection of our collective thinking process where the obedience is counted among the prime most virtues. Thus label of the ‘questioning’ mind is fit to be thrown out of the window of our education system.
The situation is not any better at the level of higher education either. But it is already too late to mend anything at this level in any case. The minds are not as fresh or impressionable as during the times of primary education. The primary-level text books serve as a window to gauge the inefficiency prevailing in the teaching methodology. The 4th grade social studies text book reserves a chapter on ‘Environment of Pakistan’ that describes the seasons, forestation, plantation as well as briefs on indigenous flora and fauna. This writer chooses not to analyze the content being taught here, only the method is under discussion. The chapter is followed by a question and answer exercise, forcing the children to rely only on their memory and close the book before giving the whole matter a second thought. It would have been better to ask the children to come up with their ideas of saving the forestation. A sapling planted at the school premises could have been used to invoke a sense of responsibility among children regarding environment preservation. Another chapter in the same text book deals with ‘Professions is Pakistan’. Without any attempt to invoke interest in the subject, the narrative gives a very crude picture how adults do their work. Again, there is not a single question at the end of the paragraph that may serve as food for thought. A child might have shared a more passionate story if asked what s/he wanted to be when s/he grows up. But apparently these are useless questions as they can waste the ‘rutta’ time. The Stanford University in a guideline book developed for ‘Center for teaching and learning’ explicitly states, ‘Critical thinking is an important goal in most fields ……Discussion is an excellent tool for developing students’ reasoning skills because it gives you access to their thought processes and an opportunity to guide students to a higher level of thinking.’
The text books fail to relate to the outer, real world. Usually the syllabi is focused solely on filling the young minds with an immeasurable amount of data, supported by a maize that keeps them pushing through the whole walk for finding text book answers; without building an analytical capacity in their brains. The more a child is used to sticking and licking the books word to word, higher are the chances of gaining better grades , fashioned as a ‘puka ratta’ oriented person in the end. This is the time to change the course.