What does it take to create leaders?

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Karachi

What does it take to create inventors, entrepreneurs and social scientists – in short critical thinkers and problem-solving individuals?

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While literacy rates have gone up and enrollment at public and private sector universities have risen over the years, there remains a dearth of leaders and skilled workforce in every field.

The world is flat, or so Thomas Friedman the American journalist writes in his book. “Unfortunately the world has flattened out, those mass production jobs are increasingly being automated or outsourced. There are fewer and fewer decent jobs for those without a lot of knowledge… So a poorly funded and understaffed high school today is a pathway to a dead end.”

No longer is a student sitting in a classroom in Karachi a local citizen, he is now a part of the global world and will compete accordingly.

Tasneem Shabbir, the principal of Al-Murtaza School Network agrees. “Students today are no longer passive learners. They ask questions in the class because textbooks are not their only source [of information]. They go beyond that.”

The only time the country won a Nobel Prize was in 1979, when Dr Abdus Salam brought it home. Since then there have been no major scientific breakthroughs.

Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy brought us an Oscar. And Abdus Sattar Edhi, who never went to school, has been awarded numerous peace prizes. But these achievements are rare. The youth needs more role models.

The country is plagued with escalating intolerance, overpopulation and poverty. What is needed to lead this youth bulge towards a prosperous future? Investment in education is the general consensus.

“Our country is facing with various problems in development and many of these problems will be tackled if we invest in education. Because when people are educated they will find out solutions,” said Nargis Alvi, who heads the Habib Public School.

Pakistan happens to be among the lowest spenders on education. Studies show education quality is directly proportional to economic growth. More than 40 percent of Pakistanis live below the poverty line, states a survey by the Benazir Income Support Programme.

The local education system is not doing any favours. It is creating a lot, where students are graded on the number of pages they produce rather than what they have to say. “Whatever was taught in the eighth grade would go flying out of the window when a student entered the next grade. That was because the rote-learning method was put to test. If, for example, a question was asked to write about the trees of Sindh, a child would write the whole chapter,” said Kirmeen Parekh, the headmistress of the BVS Parsi High School, which has done away with the local education board after viewing its disastrous results in its students.

Betram Dsouza, the principal of St Bonaventure’s High School of Hyderabad, chipped in: “There will be no development in education if public exams are not going to be fair. As I see, and as I have experienced, the exams in the matriculation system are not fair at all.”

For Shahina Ali Raza, the principal of Shahwilayat Public School, the answer to top quality education lies within quality teachers. “To develop quality education we need quality teachers. And for that the teachers’ professional development is very important.”

— The report includes input from an AKU-EB documentary

originally published here http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-4-217118-Quality-education-the-only-way-to-progress

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