Manufacturing educated vegetables


We don’t need no education,
we don’t need no thought control,
no dark sarcasm in the classroom,
teachers leave them kids alone
Roger Waters wrote the famous lyrics for the world acclaimed Pink Floyd song, another brick in the wall. Selling more than four million copies world wide, the single over the years developed a cult like following. The lyrics seemed to have stuck a chord with the people many of whom adopted it as an anarchistic hymn against educational oppression. Very few however understood the underlying implications of this educational paradigm. In modern times, with the world fast becoming a globalised community, the cultural, social, geographical and technological boundaries are being redefined at an ever increasing pace. This presents economies all across the world with the challenge of trying to educate their children to take their place in the 21st century. However, given the volatile nature of economies and markets, if analysts cannot anticipate how things will unfold in the coming week, can they really prepare our children for the uncertain times ahead?
Unfortunately the quest for clichéd traditional excellence is resulting in the alienation of millions of children around the globe. This leads one to question our priorities for the coming generations? There happens to be great emphasis on getting a degree after which it is assumed that the graduate will automatically be absorbed into the labour force when nothing could be farther from the truth. With leading multi-national and transnational corporations cutting down on jobs, and in the face of a fast shrinking job market, are we really telling our children to get a degree so that they could get a job that does not exist?
The present system, it needs to be understood, was developed and designed for a different age; an age with different preferences, different economic circumstances and different social structures. By teaching our children conformity and rigidity, we are ensuring that they are effectively handicapped by circumstance. Instead of relying on their own dreams and ambitions they are fed by what traditional reasoning dictates. This reasoning is not devoid of its flaws.
In order to get our children through their education we are anaesthetising them, shutting off their senses and reasoning. If a terrorist is being bred in a country, it is because he is being educated to become a terrorist. If the Oslo bomber perpetrated an act of terror against his own people, it was because he was nurtured into becoming one. I came across a booklet being taught to children in madrassah’s of Pakistan and Afghanistan during the years of the Soviet war, and they were being taught in the urdu language the equivalent of, ‘R for revolution, J for Jihad and M for Martyrdom’, etc. The booklet itself was printed in the University of Nebraska.
Modern day education is being used as a tool for manipulating traditional studies modeled around the interests of industrialisation. The segmentation of genders, of subjects, of batches is carried out just like commodity churning factories with the date of manufacturing holding prime importance in the job market. The patrons of education need to realise that an education model based on the production line mentality is in effect a flawed one.
When creativity is suppressed, when collaboration is discouraged, when human capacity is disregarded, then the manufactured product is in effect a vegetable devoid of reason and logic. What educational institutions are now successfully doing is the mass production of individuals who know how to read but are unable to distinguish what is worth reading. If the production of such batches continues, then one can only fear for the future of our coming generations who will have inherited the legacy of conformity and stupidity.

The writer is Sub-Editor, Profit


  1. It was Iqbal i believe who said "Hum un kitaabon ko qabil-e-khabti samajhtay hain, Jin ko parh kar bachay baap ko khabti samajhtay hain"
    I agree with the writer when he's talking about manufacturing what we call in the street language "Parhay Likhay Jahil". The fault in addition to the institution lies in the methods of teaching. Where becoming a manager of a multinational is preached rather than becoming an entrepreneur. And where the mettle of a student is gauged by the gpa they hold.
    I remember reading an urdu magazine when i was little titled 'Taleem o Tarbiat'. What we need is the latter half in an age of information overdoze.

    This is a crucial topic. And it needs not only research but also intensive remodeling if we want the new generation of Pakistani's to be thinkers and not just good workers.

  2. This is an amazing Article.

    I also suggest adding in a few more points on politics role on education. However, very well written and I see big things for you.

  3. For decades, there have been problems of students in many countries (of which Egypt was an extreme example) of large numbers of students receiving, but not earning, university degrees. Such students would demand government jobs because little was expected other than appearing at work for a brief time, drinking tea, and going home. In America, we have thousands of universities. It is possible for even the weakest students to receive unearned university degrees from the paper mills generating worthless university degrees. In important subjects, such as computer science, American universities have had to rely upon students from other countries to enter the programs. The same is true with Ph.D. programs. In my field of Accounting, American universities are relying upon students from other countries to enter Ph.D. programs and to become professors in American universities. As a professor for more than 30 years, I have observed a decline in scores on Accounting examinations. This is the result of social passing of all students at lower levels in the education system. Many of our students do not know how to study because they have never had prior courses requiring them to learn how to study any subject to pass the examinations.

  4. "I never let my schooling interfere with my education" Mark Twain. Our economic indicators that measure quality of life account for things like education levels. If what the author says holds merit, then everything we use to subscribe or describe life may be slanted as well. Interesting and provocative thoughts

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