Good day people!
Today with my cup of black coffee in the morning, I decided to skim through the classified pages from Sunday's Dawn newspaper. I quickly rolled over the ever-thinning jobs section. To my dismay, each time I open the jobs section, I find opportunities that are not within my reach. And it's obviously sad because the industry demands for people who come out graduating from the 'big names' of the education sector. Most of the ads you read have these words: ‘LUMS or IBA graduate required’. And if you don’t belong to these business schools, you’re definitely not their priority! The education fraternity in Pakistan is still malnourished. The standards of our universities do not meet the international criteria and do not qualify to be named in good words.
Only a handful of universities are deemed as 'good' universities and the remaining are considered as underdogs, and the students enrolled as underachievers. So what makes a certain university good and its students creme de' la creme? I guess the matter of the fact remains that the education elite of Pakistan is primarily those who can afford to be educated. The affluent can get themselves enrolled in the much-too-expensive universities or obviously they always have the backup plan ― go abroad and study there.
Now the remaining ones are those who can go to an extent to afford higher education or then there are those who simply cannot do it and end up at various ‘cheaper’ but obviously unequal alternatives. The middle-class people can take the risk of investing a great deal of their fortune in their children’s education reckoning that one day they will get the return of their investments and things will turn in their favour.
I used to teach in one of the biggest schooling networks of Pakistan and it was of a (pleasant) surprise to me that mostly parents that came to drop their children to school, usually used a bike or rickshaw as a means of transport. Initially, I used to think that perhaps bikes and rickshaws can zoom-in and pave their way in the traffic easily which is why they choose it as a means of transport, but later on, as I happened to go through the personal files of the children including their background information, I found out that it was totally different than what I used to think.
The families actually couldn’t afford to get their children enrolled in such expensive schools, but they did. Because they didn’t want to compromise on their children’s future. Well, I felt happy about it because in a way it is a very positive decision. But on the other hand, I would feel depressed for those people who cannot afford to take such decisions because their limited resources do not allow them to do so.
So now, what actually is the outcome of this disturbed equilibrium of the education system of Pakistan? We are not capitalizing on the current human resource. The employers keep filtering the potential candidates on the basis of the label they carry. IBA, LUMS, GIK and yadda yadda. The list goes on. The employers need to realise that there is an enormous chasm between the haves and the have-nots and some people can actually have inborn talent and an unmatched IQ even if they have not studied from a top-notch university.
Education is not ‘better’ for everyone. Better education demands affordability, not only in Pakistan but elsewhere too. Therefore, the employers should keep this notion in mind whilst hiring somebody, that Pakistan only has a handful of good universities and not everyone can afford to be there. Therefore, rather than labeling the human resource and defining their worth only by the university they’ve come from is mere foolishness. Capitalize on the given resources and we will definitely break the barriers.
When such criteria are put aside for sometime and unbiased, fulfilling jobs are offered, I guess we will have a better Pakistan to talk about and people will not have to leave their homeland for better prospects abroad!