I am afraid of going to school
The teachers may not agree, the parents would consider my stance rebellious and friends would call me a chicken, but the truth is that going to school in Pakistan is more of a nightmare, than a dream come true. The latest case featuring a 13-year old student in Faisalabad is an eye opener as the student (and his parents) claims that he burnt himself after the headmaster refused him an entry in the building. The headmaster on the other hand claims that the father is to blame since the child was absent for nearly a week, and was unable to bring his father to the school to get reinstated as a student.
Whatever the case, I believe schools and education institutions are the villains here because of their rules and regulations. The teachers, supposed to instill confidence at the youngsters whose parents have entrusted their children to them, are to be blamed specifically. I know that for a fact because my Sindhi teacher in school was one of the most loving characters, and that’s why I managed to score 72 out of 75 marks in the board examination, despite never reading Sindhi before Class IX! On the other hand, the Islamiyat teacher was also settling scores with me, because I had done his parody in a function, and thus I didn’t get the marks I was expecting.
It was in the 90s that the Board of Secondary Education decided to hire teachers who have at least done graduation, and that created a stir amongst small schools since they didn’t have teachers with a degree. Most employed former students who had done matriculation from the same institution and were looking for jobs during the intermediate break while others went for those old ladies who had nothing else to do after disposing off their children (read getting their children married). In a renowned school, there was a science teacher who was without doubt born in the days of pre-electric iron, yet she was teaching science, or trying to. I had a Pakistan Studies teacher who spoke so fast that we couldn’t understand anything, yet he was there because he was an experienced teacher (frankly he seemed a distant relative of Quaid-e-Azam!)
Parents believe that by sending their kids to reputable schools, they are doing their part, but that’s totally wrong. Their role in checking on their kids is as important as the teachers’, and they should open themselves to their child(ren) in order to know how he/she feels about going to school. My mother isn’t well versed in English because she hated the subject when in school, yet she always kept a check on me, asking questions and checking my copies, and that’s one of the reasons why I don’t hate the subject at all. I am sure all those reading this would agree that the undivided attention of a parent or both makes a hell of a difference.
Coming back to the case of the kid in Faisalabad, I don’t want to debate whether his father is lying or the headmaster is not telling the truth, but both should be reprimanded – the father for not taking his kid’s plea serious, the headmaster for not showing leniency. In an era when we have telephones everywhere, the headmaster could have called the father and summoned him, and one doesn’t have to be a genius to think of that.
Finally, let me ask you a question: How many of you have visited your school once you were through and busy in your professional lives? I am sure those who reply to it in negative outweigh those who say yes and the reason behind is that we consciously don’t want to relive the haunting memories we have left behind for good. A change must happen on parents’ and teacher’s front otherwise the youth of today will be scared of getting educated at all.