Another alarm blares 6:00AM as I lay in bed, over the constant ringing, I will myself into not indulging in the guilty pleasure provided by the snooze button. Yet again, I feel my motivation stutter a bit, while I brush my teeth for another day’s grind. I am a young graduate, and sadly I am not alone. I don’t love what I do, but neither does anyone else who isn’t filthy rich.
This isn’t a case of the whole young generation being lazy or entitled, it’s just another reality of living in a country which spends only 2% of its GDP on education. Pakistan happens to have a lot of population that lives below the poverty line and education isn’t a right, it is a privilege only afforded to the rich.
Parents who have suffered in life due to a lack of education are gradually realizing the importance of education. They slave away all their lives just to get their child into a ‘good’ school which will help them achieve a happier life. As I said education isn’t for the poor in Pakistan. It usually involves a lot of sacrifice and money for the family, and following your dream isn’t a priority. Money is always the priority. Each year many students are only allowed to choose between the two prime professions.
“Doctor or Engineer?” is the usual question.
While it is easy to blame the parents on it, it isn’t their fault. Going through a pricey investment of education for 16-17 years, costs more than a fortune. While these ‘good’ schools excel at flashy events, concerts and activities, career counseling is easily swept under the rug or barely acknowledged.
As Abraham Maslow puts it, “It isn’t normal to know what we want. It is a rare and difficult psychological achievement.”
This leads to the extreme stress for students who have no idea what they really want to do in life. Ultimately causing countless hoards of students into MCAT and ECAT exams, which is a faulty measure of their intelligence. The backdrop of all the expensive CIE O&A-levels, extravagant tuitions lead to countless doctorate rejects, trying to find ‘something else’ that won’t lead to a poverty filled life. While millions try to find ways to subvert this deprivation, the bleak realization that it won’t be enough for a professionally driven future takes some time to sink in.
If one doesn’t make the cut, multiple universities which have sprung up all around, offering a false sense of security for the parents by awarding degrees at the cost of a few million rupees. While doing a substandard job of actually preparing the students to be able to afford their own housing, health and improve the quality of their lives. A graduation cap awarded four or five years after, still resembles a clown cap in the mind of the graduate.
Holding an HEC recognized degree, the graduates still lack real world skills or in formal terms job-embedded learning. Even though one may have an excellent 3.5 GPA, he is still ignorant to the real life needs. This strips them of the prospects provided by other universities around the globe.
The rapidly growing population and our median age being 24, the demand for jobs is far higher than the job opportunities themselves. While, the rich who do not need to work can afford an education from the better ‘pricier’ universities, all those who don’t make the cut are just not educated properly.
Even though Pakistan has a vast pool of human resources, harnessing this advantage requires policies that actually work, more regulation and a budget increase for education. The whole education sector requires drastic structural changes to save the Pakistani dream, if it hasn’t already been shattered.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of THE ACE NEWS. Assumptions made in the analysis are not reflective of the position of any entity other than the author.
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