I completed my high school from one of Karachi's most prestigious institutes. Soon after I had given my Advanced Level examinations, I started considering the university options that I had.
Karachi University (KU), Pakistan's largest university, opens its admissions late in October every year. Out of the 52 different departments the university has, I opted for the department of Mass Communication.
Having heard about the gruesome tales about the bad state in which Pakistan's government owned institutions are, I always wanted to find out the real condition of these state run educational institutes rather than believing what others had to say about them.
Quite optimistic to start university at a department where people from all parts of Pakistan apply in great numbers and seats being limited, I was lucky enough to save a spot for myself in the merit list.
At a place where students are taught about all the happenings in the media world and the technology associated with it, it was shocking (since the first day I stepped into the building till today) to find out that there was not even a functional computer lab!
It is certainly hard to believe, but yes desktop PC's are there, out of which only a few are in working condition (if the PC is working, you can't be ascertained that the keyboard or the mouse attached to it will be functional or not).
In a world of handheld gadgets being ruled by Android and Apple, a global platform where software's are being upgraded at an unfathomable speed, places like KU and hundreds of government run institutes around the country are deprived of technology that was developed years back.
During the first few months at KU, I was in deep shock at the state of affairs of state owned institutes. Having to face the music with the true colors uncovering in front of me, I was uncertain if I was lucky to study at a non-government high school or am I guilty of remaining deaf to the actual side of Pakistan's frail education system.
Not to be missed is the fact that the department of Mass Communication has been recently built.
Education is a brick in the society on which a state's pillars rest, paving way for development. Through education only can the wrongs of a society be eradicated and this has been proved time and again by various nations who splurged on their weak education system to strengthen it, thus development followed.
Awareness is what is brought about by education amongst the multitudes. If we ignore this basic notion only, how can we expect to thrive in a world which is growing in every way at a never expected rate.
Pakistan is a nation, where unfortunately the sector which needs the utmost attention has been ignored by the corrupt hierarchy which controls it.
The budget of 2013- 2014 allocated about 4 percent of the nation's GDP for the education sector.
A nation that has about 64 percent of its population residing in the rural areas, where most of the families do not send their offspring to school and make them work for a livelihood. The main reason being the level of contentment these members live with as this is the way of living that has been passed on to them by their forefathers.
What role can the government play to improve the literacy rate of the rural areas? The answer lies in sending out teams who can spread awareness and highlight the importance of education to those living in the villages.
With the country encircled by terrorism, a majority that is well educated can definitely bring about drastic drop in the rates of terrorism strikes, if only they can think for themselves and stop falling for the ideas of the un-fits of the society.
Let's put into consideration the remaining 36 percent population of Pakistan that resides in the urban centres. Members of the society belonging to the upper middle and the elite classes get a chance to send their children to the nation's privately owned institutes.
There is no doubt about the well run administration of Pakistan's top private universities, but the fee that students have to pay is absolutely out of reach for members belonging to the lower and middle strata.
Mostly students belonging to families with a sound financial standing, go abroad for acquiring higher education. It is often seen that these students prefer staying abroad permanently, thus failing to return and serve their mother country and help remove the corruption prevailing in almost every state run department.
A number of ghost schools are in the country where hefty amounts of salaries are being given to teachers every month who are not even fulfilling their duties.
According to one analysis, about 82 percent of the educational budget is spent on salaries for teachers and maintenance of facilities, whereas the remaining 18 percent is used for developing new facilities.
However, a positive aspect that is on the rise, which is motivating the public to take up education, are programs such as the USEFP and Fulbright scholarship program offered by the US for students of developing countries around the world.
Pakistan is one such nation where one of the largest Fulbright program is being run, which assists hundreds of students every year to pursue their dreams in universities present in the U.S.
Pakistan certainly will not be able to achieve universal primary education for all as stated in the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), now what is to be seen is, if this goal can be accomplished in the upcoming years.
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