While the pandemic and the economic situation in the country may have dimmed the supposedly bright light at the end of a dark tunnel, sometimes a glimmer of hope is all we need to keep on pushing forward; a hope that is attached to the possibility of unity, not only amongst governments but also with regard to fractured systems. At present, such possibility has emerged after a collective decision was made to reopen educational institutions across the country.
In a rare occurrence, both federal and Sindh education ministers have come together to take measures aimed at improving the quality of education in the country after Prime Minister Imran Khan recently declared that a uniform education system will be implemented by 2021 in order to get rid of the current “apartheid education system” and promote equal educational opportunities for all. However, we must be careful as to not conflate uniformity with equality. Apart from the division between educational mediums, the concerned officials must be aware of social divide. While both the rich and the poor may be given equal opportunity to participate in the same race, one cannot simply ignore the fact that the starting line for both is drastically different.
However, putting these drawbacks aside, citizens should remain hopeful that the government has finally realised that such sanguine expectations cannot be reached without collective support and will therefore consult all other provinces on the matter before moving forward. But even after a joint decision is reached, the formal implementation would be up to the provinces themselves, owing to the 18th Amendment that allows autonomy to the federating units in a number of sectors, including education. Only if provinces are able to overcome their difference and bury their egos will such reforms help in cultivating a future generation that is more united, since education is the only effective tool that can blur the multiple lines that divide our citizens.
In the end, we all should aim and hope for more united and tolerant Pakistan.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 14th, 2020.