I have just returned from the examination hall at the Narayan Jagannath Vaidya College aka NJV. It was a Matric Board examination and I was provided to write the cherished ethical principles prophesized by some of the most enlightened and respected men among the entire humanity, including Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), Prophet Moses (A.S.), Gautama Buddha, Shri Krishna, Zarathustra and Guru Nanik.
The difficult part was not to memorize their teachings but was to write them in a building which once stood tall as a symbol of enlightenment it self – when it was erected as the first government school in Sindh in 1885, but today, leaving aside the awe-striking architecture, words like enlightenment and spirit of knowledge had completely disappeared. The scenes of open cheating and authority immersed with pride and impoliteness were prevalent and it was an experience filled with shame and disgust.
The more dismal reality was that, these were the few privileged members of the Pakistani youth who could even access education but no one seemed to recognize that it was not education that was being delivered, instead ignorance was being furthered, that too with pride. For anyone with the slightest of foresight and value for education, stepping in there would have been a distressing reality.
If we are to implement the Right to Free and Compulsory Education - enshrined in the Constitution Article 25 A, anytime soon in Pakistan, we must debate and re-conceptualize what we mean by Education!!