Health and education

  •  Right kind of change, please

For Prime Minister Imran Khan, two decades have almost gone by during which time all he could do was unveil his agenda and policies. Though his focus occasionally shifted, however, the broader aspects of his policy remained the same. The greater picture; a change for the nation. A ‘Naya Pakistan’, which, as promised, would be far more prosperous than the old one.

A crux of the past 30 years gives us policies concerning infrastructure development including highways, motorways, bridges, public transport and others. All this while fighting an on-going internal war. War with the unknown enemies. Nevertheless, the armed forces of our country got the better of them and successfully managed to put the country back to a sense of security that is essential for the citizenry.

In this backdrop, Khan is heard mentioning education and healthcare. In fact, these are the only two things he bases his credibility on. Namal and Shaukat Khanum. He believes, or at least he says he does, that with proper education and provision of good quality healthcare, the living standard of the citizens of our country can be improvised. A noble though, to be honest. But, far from materialising into reality.

It is one thing to talk about policy initiatives but a far more arduous job to actually implement them. The prelude to his days in power saw IK focused on corruption and accountability. Health and education were present, but on the sidelines. Looted wealth of the nation over shadowed everything. And by the looks of it, continues to do so. With the Panama Papers success, the PTI has expanded its accountability drive and is persistently focused on the same.

I am not saying accountability shouldn’t be a priority, but the problem is, in a country with a crushing economy, negligible education and substandard healthcare, talk of accountability only gives rise to matters of priority.

Rooting out corruption is going to be a starter. But it isn’t the only thing which would help this country recover to its full esteem. What the government needs to realise is that they have to simultaneously take up matters and execute them accordingly. Mere talk isn’t going to help too.

Every government in power has a set variation of agendas that it looks to advance during its tenure. Some have pre-set motives whereas the others unveil their policies within the first few days of taking charge.

A principled policy in regards to health and education is of the utmost importance. It is vital that we focus on educating the upcoming generations. And this won’t just be possible by announcing the conversion of the governor house or any other government installation into a university. A clear cut policy which is implemented uniformly should be brought forward.

Along with the revamping of the existing educational system of the country, a focus on what is being taught is fundamental. The syllabus should be re-evaluated. Quality education, scholarships and incentives should be unveiled. Little help from the private sector wouldn’t do much harm either.

An educated generation might stay away from corrupt practices. At least the majority would. If Imran Khan and the PTI actually are keen on changing the course of this country then they might as well keep education on the top of their priorities. Tree plantations and environmental awareness is also the need of the hour but the same can be undertaken alongside education initiatives. School children can be and should be taught about the importance of environmental protection and how any damage to the environment is detrimental to all of us. Merely focusing on trees isn’t enough either.

Coupled with education the foremost duty of a state is to provide its citizens with healthcare. Unlike the one that is currently available. And not only in urban cities but also in rural areas of the country. Let us not forget that the tanker explosion victims didn’t have a burns unit available in the vicinity to be provided medical aid. Talks volumes about the predecessor government’s priorities and willingness to work. Shahbaz Sharif wearing his boots and swaying his finger in the air, turns out, was of no use to the common man. No lasting relief has been provided to the citizens. Even the metro bus that they proudly boast about runs on subsidy. Subsidy, which the government might not be able to afford in the near future.

Therefore, PM Khan needs to focus his energies on unveiling a system of education and healthcare. Both these facilities should be provided in rural areas first. This would solve even other problems too. Rural populous wouldn’t flock to urban cities if they had all the facilities present in their respective areas. Educational universities can be set up district wise with special quotas for residents. Such installations along with being a service for the common man are also likely to create jobs for the people.

The secret to spin the tide for our country lies inside the essence of health and education. The more important part is, IK and his cabinet are quite capable of providing both these things. All they need is a bit of focus in their priorities.

Even with the right set of initiatives, Pakistani doctors working abroad can be incentivised into coming back and serving their country. Their expertise, which the western world bears fruit from can be used to channelise progress in our country. If it comes to a choice of subsidy between medical facilities and metro bus, then unfortunately at the moment the former should be given precedence over the latter. Public transport is equally important but not more than health and education.

These two are the pillars upon which a state stands and governs. This is the very least a common man deserves. The poor common man to whom IK has promised a change. Education for his future generations and healthcare for all is the change that poor man deserves and nothing less.