The Changing Environment

We all would have come across this question in our childhood. What you want to become in future? And 99% of the answers were Doctor, Engineer and Pilot. Is this true for today? Let’s see!

Current era

We live in a fast evolving era where things become obsolete in months. Do we remember the black and yellow taxis? It took around thirty years to replace that black and yellow taxi with the yellow taxi when the Nawaz Shareef Government introduced Yellow Cab in 1993. How much time does other ride hailing services required to launch after the advent of Careem in Pakistan? Almost simultaneous, within months Uber, Daewoo Cab, mLift, Paxi, and the list goes on. The pace of evolution has increased exponentially.

Professions

The changing environment has also impacted the work we do. Every now and then we hear about the robots and AI replacing humans in every day routine jobs. There is a website named willrobotstakemyjob. It shows that what are the chances that your job will be taken over by robots. Guess what it says when you type accountants in there?

94%

There is a 94% chance that accountants’ job will be taken over by Robots. Seriously!

So, what should we do to secure a good career for our self and the next generation. As per LinkedIn the following are the most searched new skills:

•       Content writer •       Animator
•       Cloud Computing •       Artificial Intelligence
•       Analytical Reasoning •       People Management
•       Mobile Application Development •       Business Analysis
•       Journalism •       Digital Marketing
•       Industrial Design •       Competitive Strategies
•       Customer Service Systems •       Software Testing
•       Data Science •       Computer Graphics
•       Corporate Communications •       Data Analytics

But is our educational system ready to cater the change?

Pakistan Education System

In Pakistan we have one of the most disordered education system where several streams of education run with their own distinct domain and output. First, there is a mixture of provincial and federal boards than the Cambridge system of education where only the privileged class have access. The students belonging to working class either go to the Government School System or succumb to the Madarsahs.

As a surprise, the Constitution of Pakistan claims that the State is responsible to ensure free and compulsory education to all children of age 5 to 16 years. However, in reality we know that the performance of the Government schools has not performed at par.

In a normal private school, children are admitted from the age as early as 2-3 years and in some cases even before their birth, where the institutions test their ability to memorize rather than their ability to apply and create something out of what they learn.

As per the latest figures available with the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, the total educational institutions till the 10th grade and the teachers teaching in those institutions are as follows:

Total Educational Institutions* No. of Teachers*
Year Total Female Male Total Female Male
2015-16 242,899 108,262 134,637 1,377,600 816,500 561,100
2016-17 251,073 101,970 149,103 1,501,200 929,100 572,100

*As per Pakistan Bureau of Statistics year book for 2017

Whereas the population of Pakistan in the same period was:

Population under the age of 14 years**
Year Total Female Male
2016 (est.) 61.28 million 31.65 million 29.63 million
2017 (est.) 64.28 million 31.27 million 33.01 million

This means that we have around 1 institution for every 256 students and 1 teacher for every 43 students. That’s not bad, but what the above stats don’t show is the quality of the educational institution and teachers. Government often declares inflated number of schools to show the educational reforms. Recently a renowned artist and social worker, Shahzad Roy quoted in one of his articles that when his NGO took over the Fatima Jinnah Government School[1], there were actually 8 schools operating under a single premises. It is also a very common practice that 10th graders having no experience or training of teaching is hired to teach the primary students.

Some of the common problems that you will witness in our schooling system are:

  • Lack of qualified and trained teachers
  • No one standard of education, multiple education systems are in operation
  • Lack of innovation. Students still have the same limited number of options i.e. either to select pre-medical, pre-engineering or commerce.
  • Rote learning. Students are judged based on what they remember rather than how to apply a particular concept

However, if we look at some of the established nations such as the Scandinavian countries which have revolutionized the education sector, we found that they have implemented the following to achieve excellence in educating their children:

  • Elevated teaching profession – A teacher must have a minimum master’s degree to qualify as a teacher
  • No standardized tests – Focus on collaboration and not competition
  • No home works – Integrating fun and play in studies
  • Shorter school days – appropriate time is provided to students to spend with their families and play
  • Starting school at an older age – Students are enrolled at the age of 7

Conclusion

The world is changing and changing rapidly. If we want to keep pace with the changing dynamics, we need to change our self and change the way we do things. Our Child’s future is our responsibility and we need to take steps now to help him to be compatible with others.

A lot has to be done at the Government level, but small steps can always be taken by individuals. In this information age, you can’t make the excuse that you don’t have the resources to be what you want to become. Resources such as Khan Academy and Coursera are available for all to benefits at no cost.

The world is changing and it’s important that we change our thinking caps. Let’s promise that we all will put in serious efforts in the education of our children and let them have the freedom to choose what they want to do.

[1] https://www.dawn.com/news/1450245

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