Ashraf’s Column

Monday, April 27, 2009

Education Commission

It is good to note that the present government has felt the necessity to reform our existing education system which is not only obsolete and ineffective but also corrupt. It has constituted an education commission with some of our illustrious educationists as its chairman and members. May be within next three to six months the commission will compile a report and submit it to the government for its consideration. The government will probably take another about six months to study the report to find out how quickly and efficiently it can implement the recommendations accepted by the government. Finally, in about another six months or so, the government will forget about the report and put it in the deep fridge. One may ask why I should be so pessimistic about the new education commission. The answer is very simple. All the reports submitted by the past education commissions in our country had met the same fate. In the face of agitations on the streets the parties or persons in power never found it expedient to take any action on these reports. However, in the process the state every time had to spend in vain huge amount of money to launch and run the activities of such education commissions.
Every existing system has its own group(s) of beneficiaries. Whenever any effort is made by a government, with all its good intentions, to bring about reforms in it in public interest the beneficiaries feel threatened mostly for financial reasons. As in the past, the present corrupt and inefficient education system has also many groups of beneficiaries. Such groups are present at all levels right from the ministry of education down to the lowest level. These groups include sections of politicians, policy making bureaucrats, education administrators, teachers, textbook writers and publishers, over aged student leaders etc. From our past experience we know that no education report was, as a whole, questionable or unacceptable. For example, if a report had, say, one hundred major recommendations, may be, only one or two of the recommendations were controversial for technical, political or religious reasons. One or more of the threatened beneficiary groups took advantage of such controversies and opposed tooth and nail the whole report. They never said that except the controversial one or two recommendations they accepted all the remaining recommendations, and they would cooperate with the government in implementing the acceptable recommendations. They hired the services of the over aged student leaders, misguided and incited the young students to bring out processions on the street to repeal the report, as a whole, of an education commission. Every time in the past an education commission released its report members of these vicious circles played this dirty game in their petty self interest. If nothing is done in advance by the present government to defeat these self seekers in the education sector the report which will be produced by the present education commission will, I am sorry to say, meet the same fate as the previous reports did. And again a large sum of the poor tax payers’ money spent for the exercise will go down the drain.
Under the circumstances, may I humbly request our education minister, who is known for his personal honesty, efficiency and patriotism, to kindly ask the present commission, or may form a separate committee of experts, to find out first why the reports of the earlier education commissions did not work? Once the answer to this question is found out and the government can be sure that this time no group(s), however powerful it/they may be, will not be allowed to sabotage the government’s present initiative to save the nation from the existing corrupt and ineffective education system, only after that the government should go ahead with the new education commission.


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