Education, Development, and Change
Email Dr. Shahid Siddiqui

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Call to end inequalities in education system

By Dawn Reporter
Tuesday, 30 Mar, 2010
ISLAMABAD, March 29: Speakers at a conference held on Monday stressed the need to end inequalities in the education system for developing a peaceful society based on social justice.
The conference on ‘Education and social justice’ was organised by the Strengthening Participatory Organisation (SPO).

Zafar Zeeshan, head of programme SPO, on the occasion said educational problems could be resolved by making social justice an integral part of education.

Dr Shahid Siddiqui in his presentation titled ‘Curriculum and social justice’ said modern hegemonic modes captured minds by dominating the sphere of cultural production.

“The things that cannot be controlled by coercion can be subdued through discourse connected to power,” Dr Siddiqui said. He lamented that the education in Pakistan only focused on economic dimension and not on social development. He also highlighted the changed role of education in human history and types of education systems in Pakistan.

Harris Khalique explored the relationship between language, education and social justice. “For a proper language policy, we need to correct history,” Mr Khalique said, and referred to various signposts regarding medium of instruction in the history of Pakistan.

Renowned historian Dr Mubarak Ali gave an overview of historical background of education in East and West. “Traditionally, education was not a responsibility of state. But, with French revolution the domain of education came under the purview of state providing an effective tool to control the populace,” Dr Ali said.

“Our education system was ruined by the ideological nature of our state that not only distorted minds but also our education system. Social justice could not prevail unless we get rid of the existing system,” he asserted.

Mukhtar Ali, executive director of Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives, said education was not a priority in the development fund.

“In the absence of monitoring system, statistics are not reliable,” he said, adding that private elite schools got grants, but the condition of government schools was deplorable.