Political Will Stands In the Way of the Future

I have been impressed with the president’s continued call for education reform that improves the opportunities for the young people. Perhaps Mosharraf Zaidi is not impressed with such reminders of the importance of keeping education at the front of policy discussions, but let’s face it – we have a real problem in education that needs to be addressed. But we also live in a political democracy, not a dictatorship. The president can talk all he wants about reforms to improve the lot of the people, but until the middle class makes it a priority – and communicates to the parliament that this is a priority – how can anything happen? The missing element is political will.

This was the message of an address by MNA Ahsan Iqbal (PML-N). According to his speech, “Implementation [of education reform] is not present due to lack of political will and political instability.”

While there seems to be plenty of political interest in where MNAs received their degrees, nobody seems to be paying attention to the fact that the degree controversy is the natural result of a failed education policy left over from the past. What will parliament look like in 25 or 30 years when our young people today are asked to stand for election? Will they be again hounded for lack of prestigious education opportunities, or will we implement the reforms discussed by the president and Mr Ahsan Iqbal and invest in the future of our youth?

Mr Ahsan Iqbal had other important comments such as, “…in order to become an agent of change, our public sector education system must be changed. This change must be accompanied with soft skills such as fairness, piousness, justice, respect and care. By only this we would be able to create a tolerant society.”

Look at what is training our young people now. Screaming matches, false piety, and indignant attitudes on television talk shows. Injustice in the courts where terrorists have more rights than law-abiding citizens. Disrespect by so-called “intellectuals” for democracy and the leaders chosen by the people. If these are the digital classrooms of today’s youth, we will face a dark future indeed.

But that does not have to be our fate. Imagine if we put as much energy behind supporting common sense education reforms as we do behind trying to invent a new scandal each week. We could be the best education nation in the world.

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