Government Schools Dilemma in the Developing World
By Hafiz Jawad Sohail, Global Schools Advocate, Pakistan
The Global Schools Program was a unique opportunity for me in a context that this project was both- global and local in its impact. Although I confess, I could have contributed more but the poor response from government schools made it tough for me. Despite of the fact that English is being used as official language at government level, in offices and educational institutions but the government schools are very uncomfortable when it comes to communicate something in English. They don’t even bother to respond on such queries. The administration of government schools doesn’t like to go out of their comfort zone and welcome any externalities for which they are not accountable to someone. Therefore, the only way to approach them is through proper channel via education ministry or regulatory authority. Actually, like many other developing countries, education in Pakistan has never been a priority for political leadership, it remains a subject which is given least attention. This, clearly indicates lack of vision and political will in governments, bureaucracy and incumbents of education ministry and boards. As far as primary and secondary education is concerned, I never witnessed quality or contemporary learning contents in government’s schools. The worst part is, “our curricula is outdated and even sometimes smells colonial times context”. How can ESD or visionary & informed youth leadership be produced with such outdated curriculum and outdated educational system? Alternatively, this has bifurcated our society for aristocrats and common people. Eventually, two education systems have evolved; one for poor and second for rich, creating inequality and uneven distribution of resources.
After decades, there is now a federal government that wants to uniform the primary and secondary education system but with the 18th constitutional amendment, it looks impossible because the education has become an autonomous provincial subject. Of late, some higher education institutions (private) have started educating entrepreneurship and sustainable development in their courses but ESD still is not a part of primary and secondary education. Anyhow, to get started with ESD, the implementation starts from embedding ESD into Education Policy which marks the first step. The second step is to develop competencies in primary and secondary educational boards and commissions where sustainability leaders are currently nowhere. Our curriculum, learning contents & outcomes and pedagogy should be reoriented and aligned with the needs of modern society and its needs. Teachers and trainers should be highly paid to attract the talents in education sector. Awareness at public level should be disseminated through every possible channel so that people can hold their leadership accountable. Informed young leadership on decision making positions are essential for achieving SDGs in general and ESD in specific essence. I learnt something special by being Global Schools Advocate which I want to put in words here. I realized that advocacy and creating awareness are very powerful tools particularly when we are dealing at the level of common public that is unaware of the global development and issues pertaining in the contemporary age.