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September 24, 2019

The business of education


September 24, 2019

Although Islam stresses upon the importance of seeking education and so did Quaid-e-Azam, it is shocking that the Pakistan government has abdicated its primary function of regulating and providing quality education and promoting research and development, and has instead outsourced it to the private sector. At the time of Partition, the Subcontinent had two medical colleges attached to hospitals, one of them was KEMC in Lahore and other was in Calcutta. Some of the best pre-Partition educational institutions were located in Lahore, Peshawar, Rawalpindi, Karachi etc, such as GC Lahore, KEMC, Kinnaird College, Gordon College Rawalpindi, Edwards College Peshawar, Murray College Sialkot, Mama Parsi and Madrassatul Islam in Karachi etc. Government-owned schools like Central Model in Lahore were as good or even better than private schools. It is unfortunate that instead of improving the quality of education, successive governments have only deteriorated it. Education is the primary constitutional function of the state, which it has outsourced and today education has been commercialized. Universities, colleges and schools have become a booming industry, reaping profits. Quantity has replaced quality. Similar is the fate of healthcare.

It is the state’s failure to regulate which has resulted in over 4,000 of our doctors with post-graduate degrees in MS and MD employed in the Middle East and the Gulf having their contracts terminated because private commercial institutions lacked structured training programmes and did not meet SCFHS regulations. For over a decade, the state closed its eyes until there was an international scandal exposing fake degrees; and so powerful are their protectors that till today nobody has been given punishment they deserved. No state in the world can survive and achieve economic self-reliance unless it invests in promotion of science, technology, economics and arts etc. Educational institutions must not be reduced to commercial business ventures.

Malik Tariq Ali


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