Plight in the Flight of Education in Pakistan
Remarks of Allama Muhammad Asad about current education system in Pakistan
One of the most remarkable Muslim thinkers of twentieth century, Muhammad Assad (formerly Leopold Weisz) who was revered as ‘Europe’s gift to Islam’, was assigned the charge of formulating the system of education in Pakistan by the founder of this newly founded Islamic state. Allama Muhammad Assad opined for shutting down all the schools in the country for a year or two, as of the entire education system being so rusty that it would produce mere slaves of the West. As of the clinching of rogue elements to the status quo, Muhammad Assad’s work was discredited. The flight of education in Pakistan, to the world of progress, was intercepted even before its over-hauling.
Entire education system being so rusty that it would produce mere slaves of the West
Why we are failed in spite of having one of the most fertile minds in the world
Target of our education system
Despite having one of the most fertile minds in the world, least has been the outcome every time there is any educational reform in the country. If we look at the modern education system of Pakistan and its goals, we can outline the following focuses. The primary target of our education system is to equip the local population with the skills and knowledge required in the modern world; instilling the Islamic teachings among Muslims; and of making Pakistan a guiding star among the comity of nations with the help of advancement and progress in science and technology.
We are failed in spite of efforts
In spite of great efforts made by public as well as private sectors, time and again in the course of last seventy years, seldom has been our educational structure viewed as exemplary. Individual achievements which often come to the scene however, reflects the remarkable potential hidden in the minds of Pakistanis.
As a nation, we have identity crises
We, as a nation have an identity crises since the very inception of this state of Pakistan. Our confusion reigns over unity in politics, geography, culture, language and education of this country – with the sole exception of religion. As we find ourselves in confusion of being Arab or of the origin of Indian sub-continent, the mindset regarding our education too is no different. First of all, we have many educational systems running parallel with the state system. Secondly, there lie religious educational systems and that too varying with every religious sect. Both the systems tend not to ‘accommodate’ each other. Resultantly, more confusion prevails among the masses, already hit by an identity crises.
Islamic education system or modern education system?
The most debated question in Pakistan is how to take along both the religion and the state (with all its systems) to the ultimate goal of progress. Lack of clarity lies among the policy makers as well as the masses in regard to education in particular. Three and a half scores of years have passed; however, we still remain undecided as to whom shall we follow: Islamic education system or (Western-oriented) modern education system? Whatever the different and distinctive aspects its answer may have, it can only be both the religion as well as the modern world.
How we had succeeded in the history?
The structure of our education system should be the amalgamation of progressive Islamic teachings (which in itself are progressive) along with respect for other religions, into modern education system. As in the Islamic history, it is not unprecedented. The foremost Islamic thinkers and scientists were pious Muslims yet they revolutionized the world of sciences. Jabir bin Hayan was the disciple of Imam Jaffar Al-Sadiq; Al-Farabi, Ibn Al-Haitham, Ibne Farnâs Az-Zawâhiri, Ibne Sina and all the rest of the Muslim thinkers did not negate religion in their pursuit of scientific knowledge. The reason was that they did not need to. Same can be applied here, as our religion welcomes questioning more than any other religion, and which is the basis of all knowledge. In contrast with Christendom which achieved renaissance only after divorcing religion from state and science.
For such a take-off for our education, we need to be careful and wise for the amalgamation of true spirit of Islam and humanist character of modern knowledge.