By Hammal Baloch, Islamabad
Transparency is considered to be a main tenet of democratic process and in Pakistan we can only dream of such miracles. Alongside with many obstacles, exploitation of one’s power has been a major hurdle in the progress of democratic process. This misuse of power has been practiced since the inception of the state itself. From the top brass of a military core to a junior clerk serving in a public office had been the defaulters, and the common people as usual had been at the receiving hand. This Virus has almost effected the various institution and sectors of the state, and we have even not speared the Education sector which is considered to play a spinal role and is the outermost face of a society.
Apart from the administrative works students and teachers are considered to be the main actors in the educational system, and both are involved in exploitation at their concerned levels. The exploitation of one’s authority initiates from the bottom where a Class representative marks proxies (a common analogy for marking the absentees as present) to a higher level of secretaries and board directors. The education system has been attacked by many hazardous viruses of cheating, favoritism, illegal admission, corruption, victimization of competent students, ghost teachers, educational business, course differences, and the ill situation of government sector institutions. All these viruses are not limited to a specific level but could be witnessed from primary level to the university level.
A student enters in a precious university with a dream to gain a quality education to serve his/her society but gets discouraged after encountering with certain viruses and ill behavior of the teachers. Teachers are considered to be the most respectable and honest beings of the society and students always idealize them but what if the teacher himself exploits his/her authority. A teacher at a university level has the authority to grade the students according to their capabilities but it has been witnessed in many outclass universities of Pakistan that teachers have violated their authorities by using immoral tactics even gaining sexual benefits from the students by marking them higher grades for example as cases of sexual harassment in Karachi university in 2012, and Quaid-a-Azam university in June 2014, (both being top ranked universities). This has been the most unfortunate part but along with sexual benefits other things also play a defining role. A student has to portray an image of a prophet to achieve a good position in the teachers eyes, he and she always have to agree with the opinion of the teacher as very few teachers would like to be questioned on their narratives and students had to follow that one. Few of teachers would like to be flattered as always and need appreciation for even their dresses apart from these frequent visits of their offices would further enhances the chances of getting good grades. If fortunately you are from elite class having political affiliations, then it would increase your chances for scoring an A+.
Gender discrimination has always been a topic on the behalf of women but in the university life you would face it although being a man. Male teachers have been found guilty by grading the female students more than they actually deserve and the most of female teachers show their actual strength of feminism at the class by grading them better. Although it’s an agreed notion that we must encourage the female students, but not by violating man’s right nevertheless the whole blame could not be on the teacher’s shoulder students also share the burden.
Apart from these activities, ghost teacher is another phenomenon which has further destructed the educational sector at a primary level. Balochistan is considered to have more than 5000 such teachers whom are only busy in drawing handful salaries. Apart from this, they have also been involved in bribing the concerned authorities for not taking actions against them. They also share their salaries with the school authorities to show their presence. This practice is not only confined to Balochistan but the state’s major rural areas have witnessed such practices.
All these ill reaction discourage students and finally it reacts on their studies and distracts them from the quest of knowledge.
A highly mechanized system has to be initiated for grading and the whole authority must not be in teacher’s hand alone, Even HEC should introduce a systematic process for grading and it must be followed by its own observation. The concern authority of universities must have a sharp eye on the grading system and the teachers and student activities. HEC must establish an observing unit on provincial basis for keeping a keen eye on ghost teachers and must have harsh reactions for such guiltiness. This problem needs quick reactions and if ignored then this culture would have dramatic consequences.