Double Standards

May 5, 2013 by     2 Comments    Posted under: Opinions

A few days ago, I was invited to what was supposed to be a “mingle party” for the freshmen in my university. The agenda of the party was to introduce the new-comers to their seniors so that they can cope with the challenging environment of the university. The aim was also to encourage them to take maximum part in the university’s events, since it was up to them to add to the achievements and the name of the university. The idea seems a pretty healthy effort on part of the seniors except for a single fact; the party was just for the ‘A-levelers’. The intermediate students were not considered to be made a part of the meeting, primarily because the intermediate students generally lack the proper English communication skills due to a clear education standard distinction between the two modes of education systems prevailing in the country. Ironically, this is not the only difference between the qualifiers of the two disparate systems. The differences among the two are quite evident as day from night.

The GCE and BISE represent two totally different genres of education. The former is a well-organized system that targets the excellence in education by designing a curriculum that molds brains into creative, analytical and innovative entities and provides modern education in such a way as to ensure maximum knowledge acquisition by the students. Whereas the latter is a poorly administered system with outdated curriculum, that falls decades behind the modern education standards; a system much indifferent to the quality of education it is providing to the students, a system that is violating the very basic purpose of education – to widen the thinking dimensions of young minds and to enhance their innate abilities.

Apart from the curriculum, the other major differentiating element is the extracurricular. As the GCE system does not approve overburdening students with studies, they get ample opportunities to propel in extracurricular activities and discover their hidden talents and polish them, adding a lot of confidence to their personalities. On the other hand, the BISE Pakistan tends to strain its students with heaps of information that is not meant to be acquired for the sake of knowledge but only to cram every word into memory and then paste it in exams, much like a photocopier. The students, so preoccupied with this strenuous task, hardly ever find time for extracurriculars and hence get little opportunities to discover and enhance their abilities, which obviously leaves a vacuum in their personalities.

People may argue that the situation as mentioned above is extravagantly sketched. They may say that the ratio of BISE graduates to GCE graduates is considerably high and hence we cannot judge all the BISE students together. In higher educational institutions, the proportion of students with an intermediate background is much higher than those from A-levels, which explains the differences among the two groups. But they overlook the fact that BISE caters to a wide range of the society; from lower to upper class, from rural to urban natives, from people with well-educated families to those with not even a slight shadow of education in their whole family. So, it is the BISE’s responsibility that irrespective of the background these students come from, they must enjoy the same academic opportunities. Once they graduate with an Intermediate qualification, they must be as proficient in communication skills as the Alevel graduates and there should lie no difference between these students depending upon the education they have acquired with equal vigilance and hard work as any other student.

Apart from the curriculum, the BISE has also failed in providing an efficient education system in Pakistan. The education of the native residents is the responsibility of the state but our state has repeatedly failed in providing this basic right to its citizens. There are no doubt many government schools in our country which provide education for the minimal cost but their situation is so dismal that attending them is wasting both energy, and time. The infrastructure and maintenance of schools is so poor that they depict the facade of derelict historical ruins rather than that of a school. The teachers have no interest in teaching the students; they do not bother giving lessons as there is no accountability, and they receive their end-of-month cheque for doing nothing at all. Physical and verbal abuse is common and students are treated more like animals than youngsters prone to mistakes. The system of recruitment of teachers is also corrupt, with hiring done on the basis of nepotism, reference or bribe rather than merit. In remote areas, some government school teachers have no knowledge whatsoever of their assigned subjects.

One of my class fellows, Ahmed*, from a rural area and little educational background, told me that he studied in the government school up till 10th grade. The teachers there were extremely inept and had zero knowledge about their subjects. He was a sharp student so he would study the topics himself and his teacher would ask him to teach the class while he himself enjoyed snacks with his colleagues. At our university though, Ahmed faces many problems because of his weak English, communication and writing skills. Despite being the topper of his district, Ahmed is now finding it hard to survive in the competitive environment of our university where most of the students have come from private schools and colleges. This depicts the standard of education that BISE provides. On the contrary, GCE teachers are proficient individuals with vast knowledge of their subjects. Their focus is on conceptual clarity, and they use various techniques to develop critical thinking skills in students to enhance their learning which subsequently helps them in higher education and their professional careers as well.

The acute difference in the two education systems not only develops disparity among the students based upon their knowledge and skills but also upon their level of confidence, which in today’s world is vital for success. An encounter between these two singular species results negatively for both of them. The students from Alevels develop a false sense of superiority being among the Intermediate pass-outs, who in turn feel mediocre because of their shoddier communication and miscellaneous skills. This does not mean that one is indeed better than the other, but these complexes are only the result of a misplaced sense of condescension.

What should we do in such a predicament? We should learn from educational policies of developing countries like India and China where a single academic system prevails in the whole country. Their student body is not bifurcated into two distinct groups, but is homogeneous in nature. Rather than allowing schools to provide a foreign system of education, they enforce their own, keeping it updated with the technological advancements and providing quality education. With a single unbiased academic system, the educational standard will rise in due course as there will be little room for discrimination, resulting in a uniform allocation of opportunities based on merit. This can be the radical change that our society needs with a proficient operational force working towards the development of the country and its economy.

The Author

i am a BS economics student with a passion for reading and a newly discovered one in writing as well. i have a keen interest in social and economic issues of Pakistan and a quest for finding answers for our current socio-economic crises of the country. apart from it, i am a great aficionado of literature, philosophy and history. oh and i love music, which i truly believe is a food for soul.

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2 Comments + Add Comment

  • Although i have people coming up to me declaring how they have seen Gce students with incorrect grammar etc but i strongly believe this system literally changes you on your aspects on things.Couldn’t agree more.Nice article

  • i am at a complete loss as to the opinion of the author.i mean what are you trying to say? the seniors were justified in ignoring the freshmen from intermediate background? “An encounter between these two singular species results negatively for both of them.” so is the rest of the article an explanation of their action?

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