I recently heard about Shehzad Roy’s new music video ‘Sirf Bandhi Hai Kamar’ hitting at the education system of Pakistan that is producing followers and not the leaders. While it disappointed me about the authorities putting our youth and new generation’s future at risk, it also gave hope that there are still many who are raising voice against it. Sooner or later, we will succeed in transforming this system by the grace of Almighty.
It is not out of sight that our showbiz celebrities are taking a deep interest in the political, social and educational concerns of Pakistan. One of those is renowned singer Shehzad Roy whose work has been appreciated in this regard. Shahzad Roy, who is also a social worker and humanitarian, is known for producing many social, educational and political songs, including the most popular 2008 album Qismat Apne Haath Mein.
This time, Roy has highlighted a serious matter which needs everyone’s attention. He posted on social media: “Over 90% of questions in the Matric examination are based on rote memorisation! Now is the time to build critical thinking in our students with a #reformmatricboard” with a video which has got 500k views and over 13,000 shares in just 20 hours.
The thought provoking video puts emphasis on the need to question and think critically instead of blindly following what teachers, politicians, and authoritarians say. While it demands reforms in metric and intermediate examination system and encourages people to question, it ends with a very powerful message: “Instead of resorting to bullets or physical violence, resolve issues with dialogues, win by reasoning, not by intimidating.”
For this initiative, Shehzad Roy has gained support from millions of Pakistanis on social media including Hamza Ali Abbasi and Ali Zafar among others.
“Please join Shehzad Roy in raising voice against the “Ratta” system which has destroyed our education system. This plague of “Ratta” is killing the thinking ability of our students and render them incapable of asking questions and actually learn something instead of pointless memorization of books. #reformmatricboard” Hamza Ali Abbasi wrote on Facebook.
“Was just taking about this in my interview last night. This is commendable,” Ali Zafar wrote on Twitter.
Malala Yousafzai’s father Ziauddin Yousafzai tweeted: “Quality education is giving children the right to question and the right to think critically. Well done
Journalist and Program anchor at ARY News Kashif Abbasi wrote, “
@ShehzadRoy root cause of our education system is the ratta system.will have to fix it.”
Roy is also the president and founder of Zindagi Trust that strives to improve the quality of education delivered to the underprivileged Pakistanis. He also produced two documentary series, Chal Parha, about the current situation of the education sector, and Wasu Aur Mein, which follows travel of Roy and a villager to underline poverty, progress, and patriotism in Pakistan.
In 2005, Roy was rewarded with the Sitara-i-Imtiaz for his public services.In 2006, he again received the honor for his organization’s rehabilitation work after 2005 Kashmir earthquake.
50 percent of primary students can neither read nor write
Shehzad Roy’s efforts for society and education sector are undoubtedly commendable, but there is still a long way to go. It is pertinent to mention here that almost 40 percent to 50 percent of primary students can neither read nor write a sentence in Urdu and English, credit goes to the rote learning system.
Unfortunately, the rulers and authorities are not ready to admit that the ultimate enemy of the state is the rotten education system instead of terrorism. The government has put the education on lowest on the priority list, and it is proven from the budget. This year, the government allocated Rs.84.19 billion for education affairs and services which merely becomes 2.83 percent of the GDP.
Apart from the rotten education system and low budgetary allocation, the education sector of Pakistan has been fronting defective and disoriented policies, lack of quality teachers, outdated curriculum, clumsy management, directionless education priorities, poor research, lack of uniformity, and government’s disinterest.