A Marxist take on Pakistan’s classist education system

Everybody should gain equal education so that they are able to avail equal opportunities. This way our country would develop at an equal pace

In a developing country like Pakistan, where gaining knowledge is not as easy as other countries, some exceptionally hardworking people are still vying to strive for education. These few people still know that life is of no use without knowledge and education. Double thumbs up for them!

But the tragedy, that our education system is, still needs to be restructured if we want our country’s name to be included in the list of developed nations. The ways to gain education and knowledge remain uncertain for most people.

Which education board, school, college or university should they choose in order to acquire the best education? But wait, does education tend to be good or bad? I am always confused when I hear people or advertisements of various universities, schools and colleges stating, “Providing you the best education since this and that time” and “Best Quality education providers” etc. Since childhood we have all been hearing about the word ‘Education’ and no one has ever told us about the types of education. Even from an Islamic perspective, the hadith about education says: “To acquire education is the obligatory right of every Muslim, man or woman”.

I never heard about the ‘best’ or ‘worst’ education until the educational institutions of the present decade introduced this very term – of course, for their own competitive and profit-seeking purposes. And this is where our education system got obliterated.

The profit-seeking institutions who claim to provide us the best and quality education are the major contributors to an ever-increasing knowledge gap between people of different classes. These institutions are facilitating the elites of the society in a way that a normal person cannot even perceive. So how about viewing this dichotomy with a Marxist perspective?

Just like Marx’s idea of the bourgeoisie ruling the proletariat in a way that they are not even aware of the demons of this setup, our education system has also inherited this tradition. This mismanaged and unequal system has created more issues in the society. Different education boards like Pakistan education board, Cambridge International Education Board, Edexcel Board and other educational systems including local and international systems (O/A Level, Metric) have made it even more complicated for people to choose. I’ve seen most of the people carrying out an extensive research before choosing what they should opt for with regards to the educational system and institute for their children. And believe me, the search for the best education system matters to them more than education itself.

Now what happens after that process is over is that some people choose O/A Level while the others go for Matriculation/Intermediate and then my dear fellows, the comparison begins. The ‘knowledge gap’ comes in and widens the space between both, which becomes the actual problem. There is a massive disparity between the thinking capacities of O/A level and Matriculation/Inter students, but of course the latter should not be blamed for this. This is a major flaw in our own country where no government (older or newer) has ever tried to emphasize on equal standard of education.

Why on earth can we not offer the same education to everyone? I can’t really comprehend the resistance against the introduction of the same education system for all. Everybody should gain equal education so that they are able to avail equal opportunities. This way our country would develop at an equal pace.

I reviewed an interview of Dr. Saeed Shafqat (founding Director of the Centre for Public Policy and Governance) in which he said that almost 40% of our people are bureaucrats, highly educated and qualified, but most of them leave the country. He said that if they stay in their country and work for it, they can be a source of betterment and progress.

And where do you think, the roots of such trends originate from? The origin again is the class based education system. Everybody studies different courses; as a result of which all students possess different knowledge and skills. Thus the poor ones find jobs inside the country and are often underpaid, whereas, the rich ones with a strong educational background pursue jobs overseas. This trend is also the reason the rich get richer and poor get poorer in our country.

If studied in detail, all these dilemmas of our society are inter-connected. The inequality that is sown in the beginning (i.e. in education system) then persists in the later stages as well. The people who are at the lower levels and acquire low level of education do not get well-paid jobs later on. These people end up being more inclined towards crime and thus, the society and the system gets corrupt.

So the difference in education system, which I would term as a capitalist form of education system needs to be changed in order to keep our country balanced and in the right hands.

The writer is a Media Graduate and a Broadcast Journalist by profession. She has a keen interest in reading, storytelling, writing and possesses a critical view of the various dilemmas of Pakistani society, especially those concerned with the oppression of women. Follow her on Twitter.

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