Learning is lost in rat race for grades

Blog by Atoofa Siddiqui


Education is what fills and trains one’s mind from emptiness to the exploration of world. And, a quality education develops nations in all the spheres of life. However, it is rather unfortunate that the education system and its applications in Pakistan are completely altered from what it supposed to be.

“Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think” is a quote that justifies that only getting a degree with good academic records doesn’t make you educated at all.

Pakistan, a country with 59% literacy rate is failed to impart practical skills as well as life skills in people with education and to produce some skilled men to step in the market.

The reason is people here tag education with grades and job only. “Get a high grade, get a good job” is what commonly believed here. This mindset has explicitly destroyed the actual essence of being truly educated and made education wholly unproductive.

Moreover, the unemployment rate among the graduated ones is three times as much as the rate in common people out here. If we see around, we will have the answer to the question that why the majority of our graduated youngsters are still unemployed even if they are educated?

This education-skill gap is becoming wider with time because the fresher do not possess the skills required for a particular responsibility but just a degree. According to Graduate Employability; Employer’s Perception Survey Report (2018), 78% of the Pakistan’s employers are not satisfied with the quality of fresh graduates.

On all hands, the flaws and loopholes in educational structure are disturbing the overall country’s development. The traditional and directionless education system, age-old teaching techniques, outdated curriculum, no career counseling and the memory-testing examination method are the main contributors to produce the unskilled but job-ready so-called educated graduates.

This unemployment has made many students to take their lives after spending half of their life in educational institutes but not became capable of finding job. Aizaz is the case in point. Even the degree of Mechanical Engineering from NUST couldn’t help him finding a relevant job and he ended being suicidal in 2016.

This competition of grades creates pressure around students and some of them can’t stand it. Muzammil, a higher secondary standard student chose to commit suicide for not securing good grades in October, 2019 in Punjab. Shahnawaz, a third-year student of QAMC, Islamabad ended his life because of getting failed in 2 paper and recently Tariq, a MBBS student took his life in April, 2021 in Sukkur for failing one paper just when he was about to finish his final year.

Why we fail to understand that education has nothing to do with grades and memorization? How long will it take to realize that your skills make you productive and raise the overall efficacy and not grades? We must accept that just degrees and GPAs do not help in getting a person good and handsome-paid job.

The prevailing education system of Ratta just makes the learned ones no different in their doctrines, level of thinking and mindset apart from skills. That is the main reason why we are left behind in all the major sectors of development.

Abjectly, there is no difference one can see in between the educated and the illiterate one while having opinions on some on-going scenarios. Even the people, considered literate, are not capable of doing a healthy debate on issues. Critical thinking is something that is rare. Reasoning and problem-solving expertise are hardly found.

While talking to students about their field of study, I found many students who compromised their areas of interest because they can’t wait a whole year for readmission.

Namely, Falak Hafsa, a final year student of Mass Communication, Sindh in light of this issue told me that she was miscounselled about the versity course selection and decided to move on with Mass communication- the field she got selected in instead of wait and getting readmitted in LLB- the domain of her interest. The reason was the diversity of media field which will lead her to find field job easily.

It provides us a clear vindication of why we observe instability, hatred, rage, intolerance, lack of responsibility, absence of realization in local society and synthetic-educated rigid personalities everywhere, the failure of educational institutes.

A clear cut example of this failed education is Lawyers of the country. Lawyers that are supposed to provide legal interpretation of laws and regulations were seemed to be a band of lawless desperadoes when they attacked the hospital over a dispute with doctors in Lahore in December, 2019. Rather clearing the things legally, their preferred illicit ruthless behavior took a few innocent lives too.

Generally colleges usually pass instructions in the form of lectures etc, while universities prepare students for critical thinking, innovation and through research introduce new products. But this is not happening.

All in all, a country with sound system of education holds a sound and stable society, politically, economically and socially. But when education, a main pillar of well-built society comes out defective, then the outcomes can be audibly observed in a nation’s slow or no development. In short, without shaping this system, we can’t shape the progress of our country.

The writer is student of Media & Communication Studies, University of Sindh.