Education, like many topics in this textbook, can mean different things to different people. For some people, education is a way to escape poverty or violent crime; for others, it is something that every person has a right to receive. A “life education” (experiences received “on the street,” traveling or working) may be just as valuable as an academic one.
Where one is born and raised also influences how education is viewed. In some communities, high academic credentials, such as master degrees (MA, MEd, MSc) and doctoral degrees (PhD, PsyD, EdD), are recognized and celebrated, while in other areas, such as poor and rural areas, vocational training may provide stable long-term income, and therefore be seen as more valuable. All training and experiences are important, and no one can say that a person with a PhD is more or less important than someone who has trained to be an electrician.
Think about the area or community where you were born and raised. What types of education are available, who are they available to, and how are graduates viewed by the people in that community? For example, there might be a dental school in your area, but the tuition is expensive and there are limited scholarships, so most of the students are from the middle-class; graduates from this school may be able to get the best jobs in the area or have the opportunity to move to a larger city, so they earn respect from the community. What about your area or community? Describe three types of educational institutions below.
My Area/Community: ____________________________________________________
Types of Education
Who can go?
How are graduates viewed?
After you have finished your chart, share your responses with a partner or small group. Are there any areas of the world that are similar? What are the main differences?
Pakistan has a long, rich history that dates back thousands of years. The country has gone through many dynasties, empires, invasions, and even a period of colonization by the British. Pakistan became independent tin 1947, and since then there have been many difficulties, including difficulties with their education system. Peter Blood (1994) wrote, “At independence, Pakistan had a poorly educated population and few schools or universities. Although the education system has expanded greatly since then, debate continues about the curriculum, and, except in a few elite institutions, quality remained a crucial concern of educators.” Adult literacy is low, the government does not invest a lot of money in education, and certain groups hinder the efforts of some who are trying to get an education.
Traditionally, in many areas of the world, education was given to boys, while the girls were prepared for a life taking care of the home and raising children. Times have changed, and globalization has impacted even rural villages across the world. Pakistan is in crisis right now for many reasons, but one may be that times are moving too quickly, and change is not easily accepted. Naviwala (2017) writes,
Foreign donors also want Pakistanis to send their girls to schools, but a 2014 Pew survey found that 86 percent of Pakistanis believe that education is equally important for boys and girls, while another 5 percent said it was more important for girls. Even in the northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa — where Malala Yousafzai is from — government high schools for girls are enrolled beyond their capacity.
Malala. You’ve probably heard of her from the news a few years ago, or maybe you’ve even read her book. Malala stood up for her belief in education for women and children, and in return received death threats from the Taliban who were ruling the area at that time, culminating in a failed assassination attempt. Not only did Malala recovery from the bullet that entered her head, but she became even stronger and vocal about women’s rights.
Besides the radical changes that Malala’s brave story have inspired, more positive news is coming out of Pakistan, with organizations like USAID (2019) building or rehabilitating 946 schools (including the Women’s College in Orakzai) and supported reading programs for over 658,500 students in the Tribal Districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (where Malala is from).
With a partner or small group, read the following quote:
“When the whole world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful.”
First, discuss the meaning of this quote. Next, answer this quick survey:
From 1st grade to now, how satisfied are you with your education? (circle one)
Not at all satisfied
If you answered between “Neutral” and “Not at all Satisfied,” how hard would you fight to change and improve your education? If you answered “Very” or “Extremely Satisfied,” how hard would you fight to keep it (assuming someone is trying to take it away)? Share your answers with a small group. Be sure to discuss details—what exactly is not satisfying or extremely satisfying about your education?