US & Pakistan Education: Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world, said Nelson Mandela. Aspiring for personal growth and success without the acquisition of education is like chasing a mirage.
However, the main purpose of education is not merely learning to read and write but to be able to learn to think and understand oneself and the world around you and communicate ideas and opinions effectively and persuasively.
A good education system not only makes one an expert in a subject but also opens up the mind, enabling a person to find creative solutions to problems from all spheres of life be it professional, philosophical, or personal. The advancement of human civilization from the Stone Age to today’s digital age is the outcome of an insatiable quest for education that pushes humans to always strive for the better, think outside of the box, and be not hesitant to aim to reach the celestial spheres and beyond.
Additionally, education trains individuals to have a high level of emotional intelligence that fosters values of empathy, tolerance, inclusivity, compassion, and respect which are necessary elements of a civilized and harmonious society. Most importantly, education is an absolute necessity for the economic growth of a country.
It equips individuals with the skillset and mindset that drives innovation and creativity thus bringing economic prosperity and technological advancements in a country.
Education Policy of the US:
The education system of the US is one of the best education systems in the world as reflected by its dominance and influence on the world. The US recognizes education as the principal component of a nation’s progress.
The education system of any nation is the outcome of a unique blend of education policies and practices at the local, federal, and state levels. Here, we will look briefly at some of the key aspects of US education policy.
The US education system comprises two main parts: K-12 education and higher education. K-12 education is mandatory and typically stretches over 13 years (Kindergarten to grade 12).
Funding for this level of education is retrieved from local property taxes which often results in finance disparity between wealthy and underprivileged school districts.
The US is well known for its diverse, dynamic, and excellent higher education system. There are a huge number of schools, colleges, and universities that offer degrees in diverse programs.
Higher education is funded via subsidized student loans and financial aid programs by the federal government such as Pell Grants.
Challenges and Reforms:
Despite the giant strides made by the US education system, certain issues like education inequality based on income, race, and geography continue to be a challenge. The educational reforms primarily focus on areas like:
Teachers are the pillars on which the building of education stands. Improvement of training programs for teachers and the struggle to attract and retain effective teachers has always been a fundamental feature of US educational reforms.
Enhancing the standard, quality, and access to early childhood education programs is always the most important consideration of US education policymakers.
The effectiveness of standardized testing strategies to analyze teacher and student performance is a subject of constant debate. Further, US education policymakers always aim to modify and optimize testing strategies so that students with varying educational backgrounds and capabilities would be assessed according to their unique talents and experiences.
How can Pakistan Improve its Education System:
Like many other developing nations, the education system of Pakistan is not up to par with international education standards and practices. To improve its education system, Pakistan needs to bring several reforms which may include:
Unfortunately, the curriculum taught in Pakistani schools is decades old. Upgrading the curriculum according to contemporary standards and introducing subjects like vocational and technology skills, artificial intelligence, and the use of social media for business is a need of the day.
In Addition, special attention must be paid to the personal growth and moral grooming of children starting from early childhood education programs to college and university levels. This can be actualized by making Quran and Seerat Nabi SAW studies a mandatory part of education and by teaching subjects related to health and personal growth like personal hygiene, secrets of a healthy life, and how to think, speak, and write, etc.
Access and Quality:
Educational inequality is an issue of serious concern in Pakistan. Making equal and quality education accessible across the country, especially to marginalized communities like women education and rural areas is a prerequisite of progress which can be actualized by making education free, providing monthly stipends to students with poor backgrounds, investing in infrastructure, and launching teacher training programs.
Moreover, policies must be introduced that would inspire inclusivity, making education accessible and easy for children with disabilities.
A single well-trained and effective teacher can transform the lives of thousands of students. The role of teachers in national development is the same as that of a mother in the growth and development of children. Therefore, investment in the professional development of a teacher is a must.
A teacher who can understand his/her students at a psychological level and bring to the surface their unique talents and capabilities can produce individuals who can become leaders, inventors, artists, and scientists of tomorrow who would change the fate of their nation.
Strict rules and regulations must be established in order to evaluate the performance of teachers and educational institutes. This would help figure out and address problems swiftly and effectively.
Furthermore, performance based on allowances, and awards must be announced for teachers as well as students that would inspire them to perform better.
Partnerships between government and public educational institutes can play an instrumental role in improving quality education and growing chances for all segments of society.
The challenges like lack of resources and foundation and failure to get in sync with original teaching methods could be worked around well by such a united partnership between government and private institutes.