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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Reformed Pakistan is a Skillful Pakistan

This piece emphasizes reforms in Pakistan to develop a skillful society. What is critical to success in this world? Education or knowledge or knowledge-based skills. What is the difference between education and knowledge? Education may groom you as a clever, cunning, and argumentative individual, and knowledge trains you as a skillful individual.

Education makes you well-informed, and knowledge makes you experience the facts and information that comes to you. Now the question is, does education make you knowledgeable or otherwise? Knowledge makes one educated. Since knowledge grooms you up after experiencing the hard facts of life. Education gives you the theoretical aspects of life that are yet to be tested. Therefore, it is better to be knowledgeable rather than educated.

Many rich people have never had a Ph.D. or been doctors or engineers. Their riches belong to hard work and life experiences. When a person exploits the skills, he inherits but is forced not to use them accordingly, he becomes rich when using them independently. It may also make him knowledgeable.

Bookish knowledge is a limited and confined way to be educated. The world as an open book makes you knowledgeable at a broader level. It also enhances the canvas of learning to a greater level. Books usually confine the human brain to think or practice what is written or suggested in the book. People who question the existing literature deny accepting its authenticity and challenge it with their worldly experience and observation. It sustains the argument of happiness or prosperity because one thinks out of the box. Therefore, the thinking process reveals that success and failure are a matter of time.
Pakistan needs to get free from the yoke of slavery. For this purpose, we all need to know that English is not the key to success, but our native and mother dialects would help to sharpen our skills. This does not mean we need not learn foreign languages. Those must be learned as needed.

Pakistan’s education system needs to be revamped to meet the needs of the present generations. We must develop a skill-based curriculum that engages students according to their propensity instead of parental wishes. This will create a more healthy and balanced society.

First, we must develop a clear-cut education system in Pakistan based on uniform syllabi, not curricula. The second thing we need to start with is having the same syllabi throughout the country. It will help our students wherever they go; they can attend school by paying nominal charges for as many days as they are visiting any place. For example, a primary, secondary, or high school student who goes to another city for any urgent task or in emergency conditions except recreation can join any local school, college, or university to continue his education without wasting time.

Third, we need to reduce books and increase the thinking process by engaging students in observing different phenomena. Fourth, all levels of study must be accompanied by the required skills of that level, and anyone capable of adapting to those skills can join that level. No degree or certificate is required for any level; only the skill set and its practice determine an individual’s capability level. It may look complicated at the initial stage, but it will be as more accessible at a later stage when you start practicing it regularly.
Fifth, education needs to groom human behaviors for different domains instead of making people more arrogant or superior to others. Sixth, it is only possible when grades, certificates, degrees, and diplomas are turned off, and skills are turned on. The seventh step would be the first step to a healthy and balanced society.

The secondary level of education is concerned with linking skills with industry. Research is needed to have complete data on the requirements of individuals at all levels in the open market inside Pakistan. We need to train our students to meet the needs of the industry. The rest of the students (who are not ready to train themselves for skill development or any other reason) need to find other ways to start entrepreneurs under the supervision of the government to make them successful as per their needs. The advanced level of education is concerned with appointing individuals in different domains. In Pakistan, people usually want lucrative jobs with more nuisance value, which creates a corrupt society. When people are recruited based on skills, it will create a society where everyone would have a competition with his capabilities or skills instead of others.

Institutions must stay within their limits and not transgress boundaries when acting as a public service body. This is only possible when recruitment is based on the proper propensity-based inclination of each candidate. It will also teach them specific skills to run the government appropriately. For example, in the military, we need people who are brave and peaceful at the same time. Who wants to defend the country, not to conquer the other countries? Police departments must recruit individuals who believe in serving the people instead of teasing them. In Pakistan, most officials create problems for the people instead of solving their issues. It increases unrest in the society. Not all offices are problematic; a few create merit-based environments for the people. We need to increase that to maintain a peaceful and satisfied society instead of an aggressive or unsatisfied one. It is only possible when we recruit people capable of working in a specific department based on specialization of functions.

Contemporary Pakistan needs skills based on Google Analytics and artificial/smart intelligence (we believe that artificial intelligence must be renamed smart intelligence). If we are serious about political, socioeconomic, and ideological development, we must work on a skills-based society instead of a degree-based herd. Today, the world needs user interface (UI) design experts and user experience (UX) designers who can add more value to the industry’s products. These are mere skills. It does not require a certificate or degree to work in any organization. The top organizations, including Apple, Amazon, Bank of America, Chipotle, Google, Costco Wholesale, Hilton, Home Depot, IBM, Nordstrom, Penguin, Publix, Random House, Starbucks, Whole Foods, and many others, need not any degree but skills.

Pakistan’s top institutions are undermining its very existence owing to a colonial mindset of leadership. Judiciaries, the military, parliament, and the executive (military and civil bureaucracy), along with media owners, are at the top, damaging Pakistan on a large scale. All neighboring countries have incremental developments, but owing to a slave mindset and greed for power and money among the elite, Pakistan is declining day by day. The inflation rate in Pakistan is at the highest level in history, and the devaluation of the rupee and energy crises are uncontrollable. All disparities in our system categorically prove that the individuals in the said institutions are void of skills, which is why we are facing the brunt.

Militaries and armaments are irrelevant to the contemporary world. Today’s world is smart and innovative; it contradicts and disagrees on specific issues but is unwilling to fight. The two World Wars in the twentieth century, the Cold War era, and the so-called war on terrorism, which was a war for terrorism in the twenty-first century, prove that wars are a gone method. Ukraine War and Palestine-Israel War in the present era also bring home to the world’s militaries that wars never resolve conflicts, but conflict management skills manage the conflicts.

Institutional monopolization can only be minimized or eliminated when they work for the people’s help through proper training. The existing bureaucracy is working with the upbringing of a colonial mindset. The same laws train officers in Pakistan, not public servants. These attitudes generate lacuna and de-alignment between leaders and the masses. This de-alignment gives birth to a dysfunctional society and ultimately makes a state politically, economically, socially, culturally, and ideologically unstable and insecure. The insecurity gives way to the military forces to intervene.

Who will bell the cat? The People of Pakistan need to come forward for their duties instead of their rights and insist the sitting government introduce reforms. Sit with university professors and start reforming the country without any further excuses. It is an evolutionary process. We are all responsible for our failures and successes collectively. Think tanks and civil society need to come forward for a collective action to create a Pakistan for the people of Pakistan independent from the monopoly of any institution. Without the participation of the people on a large scale, no country can progress. It may face some difficulties initially, but ultimately, it has to be successful because people are fed up with the ongoing elite capture, which increases the gap between haves and have-nots and produces a poverty-ridden society.

Rana Eijaz Ahmad
Rana Eijaz Ahmad
Rana Eijaz Ahmad
The author is a TTS Professor in the Department of the Political Science University of the Punjab Lahore.
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