Special edition on education in Pakistan and Renaissance Education Foundation(REF) please read and help us to educate st...
Education in Pakistan
Before jumping in to the present strength and weaknesses of the system let us critically examine in brief the past At the time of independence the literacy rate was just over 16.48 percent. Illiteracy therefore was one of the major problems of Pakistan. More recently, the national Social Action Programme has focused major attention on education and 66% of SAP finance has been allocated to this sector. Despite the special attention, the national enrolment ratio, especially for girls, has actually de clined. The major issue in reforming the school system is to make education accountable to the people. This process requires building pressure and forming monitoring institutions. Delegating school relate related d decisi decisions ons to the commun community ity serves serves societ society y by furthe furtherr democr democrati atizin zing g it and helps helps institutions building. Most Most impor importan tantl tly, y, it is believ believed ed that that provis provision ion of sound sound educat education ion has a direct direct and strong strong correlation with a decline in economic and social injustices and poverty. An education system that responds to the need of the poor and the disenfranchised would empower them directly and profoundly. Catholic missionaries in Education
The Catholic missionaries have played a vital role in the field of educational development in Pakistan. Through a large number of early missionary orders have been persistently working in this field, in a very dedicated manner towards uplifting of education in the country. Present Scenario:
Though our constitution assures compulsory education up to the age 14 the poor cannot afford to send their children to school since the present scenario is grim. The government, especially the state-governments, are never in favour of new appointments of teachers both in colleges and school; now granting recognition to new schools. In this situation the students have to pay for their education, which is impossible for the poor. Already for a few years many new courses initiated in the colleges have been self-financing. The government does not pay the faculty. The result is that students have to pay for everything, which is an enormous burden on the parents of the students, especially the poor and the marginalized. INTRODUCTION OF REF: ………….
………………….. I need to quote the story of a man who says: "We are Missionaries by our Baptism and we have the same task of up lifting the poor and marginalized as of our forefathers." So the main aim of our mission in Youhannabad starts there to educate the poor and vulnerable communities and to eradicate illiteracy from the society. The other objectives are, to reform the society to produce the creative mindedness and to produce the responsible individuals of the society. The aim of technical education is to enable the students to earn their livelihood.
So we are in a dilemma: whether to cater to the poor – out target people, or to run the institutions efficiency with the help of those who could afford to pay for education. On the one hand our religious call is to serve the people of God who are in need of our service but on the other hand we need to think of the survival of our educational institutions. We perhaps know that the focus of Yahweh Yahweh (Almigh (Almighty ty God) God) in the Old Old Testam Testament ent in his redempti redemptive ve histor history y was the poor, poor, the marginalized and suppressed lot in Egypt. Again we are aware that the focus of Jesus was the poor of his time. And we cannot deny that majority of the Church is of socially and economically poor people. Thus our mission is at cross-roads: should we serve the affluent or the needy? Do we dedicate our time and energy to the suppressors of the society or to the suppressed? Hence so many schools founded and run efficiently by non-religious, our focus and preference is still on the poor and disadvantaged. Our Basic problem: Lack of parental involvement in school operations. Lack of student involvement in the school.
Lack of Funds.
Lack Lack of resour resources ces direct directed ed toward towards s the kachi kachi (nurse (nursery) ry) class, class, where where the major majority ity of dropouts occur.
Poverty/ no possibility of good jobs due to illiteracy. Students unable to afford textbooks and related materials.
The net result is dysfunctional school with high dropout rates, the dropouts then entering the vast child labour markets. Thus, disenfranchisement and poverty perpetuates. Christian Christian Community Community in this area is not only backward backward literary literary but also practicall practically y that is;
Lack of parental involvement in school operations and policies I mean the parents (mostly if not all) would not make a sincere effort to reach out for the education of their child with the small economic resources that they have but will wait for some one who would do every thing for them. I don't mean those who are really helpless but those who can do something. In fact "it is the duty of parents to make every effort to prevent any invasion of their rights in this matter and to make absolutely sure that the education of their children remains under their own control in keeping with their Christian duty". Nevertheless we are forced to admit that it is a poverty of our community to be ignorant at important issues. Here is also a challenge for tireless people of REF team to up lift also the thinking of parents and to invite them to go side by side with them for the sake of their bright future. REF continues his story to make effort in motivating people by going house to house. It is some time discouraging for them not to have the positive response from the parents, but the Missionary Spirit help them to focus on their objectives and the Lord helps them with new candidates.