The fate of Pakistan is dependent on the state’s ability to impart education that enlightens students rather than pulling them into the darkness of obscurantism. Just educating children is daunting enough, but there is also the quality of that education. Pakistan has a shortage of qualified teachers, a reluctance in many parts of the country to send girls to school once they’re considered old enough to help their mothers with domestic chores, and a large number of “ghost schools” that exist on paper, are included in official counts, often receive international funding, but don’t, in reality, function as schools. Pakistan’s DAWN newspaper carried a photograph on April 30, 2009 of a “school” that was being used as a barn for animals. According to Pir Mazhar ul Haq, the Education Minister for the province of Sindh, there were 7,700 ghost schools in Sindh alone. But as the textbooks prove, education is not a word bathed in golden light; what and how children learn is at least as important as the fact of learning itself.
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