Home » News and Events » 'Our children deserve more': Shehzad Roy recalls struggles with education reform in Pakistan
Although Shehzad Roy is widely recognized as a musician, his involvement in reshaping public-sector institutions has been equally noteworthy. Over the years, he has embarked on remarkable endeavors, particularly in government schools, from which he has garnered valuable insights.
One of my long-time associates, Imran Akhoond, has been accompanying me on the guitar for years and has now become a prominent performer on various top televised musical shows. Coming from a Gujrati family background, Imran grew up communicating primarily in his mother tongue.
During his school days, Imran's teacher encouraged him to converse in Urdu, a challenge he faced due to his background. As he matured, Imran pursued job opportunities that necessitated applications in English, a language he found challenging. His late father would suggest praying in Arabic to secure job positions.
While learning different languages is advantageous, relying solely on them for determining one's fate can be problematic.
It's often said that only the most exceptional and intellectually capable individuals, considered the elite of society, succeed in the Central Superior Service (CSS) exams conducted by the Public Service Commission. These successful candidates go on to become bureaucrats.
The CSS exam mandates a compulsory written essay in English. Failing this English essay component results in overall exam failure. However, beyond the elite, there are potentially brilliant minds within the general population who might stumble in CSS exams due to limitations in their English writing skills.
This scenario holds true for numerous prime positions within Pakistan. Hence, the "cream" we obtain is processed and not necessarily beneficial for the well-being of society.
Reflecting on Imran's journey, I am relieved that he didn't secure the jobs he initially pursued. Instead, he emerged as one of Pakistan's top guitarists. However, Imran's fortunate outcome isn't the reality for everyone.
Recent contemplation of Imran's experience has spurred thoughts about my own path in education reform. This journey was one I stumbled upon, and I've learned more from my missteps and errors than from anything else.
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