Education like Apple Gourds

Education Like Apple Gourds by Rai Azlan

Education is one of the most uncool things in Pakistan. Perhaps, as Fasi Zaka said in his TEDx talk, it is as uncool as apple gourds (teenday). Just as we avoid such vegetables unless we are forced to eat them, the case is similar with education. One major reason for this is that education has never been a priority of ours as a nation (or society). We therefore lack an understanding of the changes it is undergoing around the world and, as a result, we are still stuck with schools and education that might have been fashionable in the 19th century.

One of the most unfortunate factors with Pakistan is that it had grown rapidly in terms of population, and seems to be exceeding its size and capacity. On the other hand we have failed miserably when it comes to growing in terms of resources, education, and standards of living. The number of children out of school is so high – according to official statistics 6.2 million children of school-going age are out of school – that we should hang our heads in shame. Having said that, those who are in school are not necessarily receiving quality education either. That is probably because education as we know it has come to an end. Yes, it is an era of the end of education.

While the world is working on integrating the latest developments in all walks of life into schooling and education, we are still dealing with the same old methods and the same tired questions like “Should I opt for science or arts for my Matriculation?”

There is a lot to say about the problem but hardly anything about solutions. It is a proven fact that the foremost step towards solving a problem is to admit that there is a problem. It is high time we admit that education as we know it has ended.  It is out of fashion and utterly outdated. We now need to start talking about developing schools of tomorrow.

School of Tomorrow International Education and Cultural Festival taking place in Karachi on 28th and 29th November seems to be an effort to understand the flaws we have in our education setup today, explore the challenges education sector can face in the future, and how we can prepare today for the tomorrow today and how we can make education look cool. It certainly is about time that such efforts are supported and appreciated, hence I am truly looking forward to attend the sessions on education featuring at School of Tomorrow Festival 2015.


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