Sunday, February 21, 2010

Did I Take This Too Seriously?

Yesterday's panel "Governance in Transition: Pakistan and Bangladesh" discussed - among other topics - education in Pakistan. There was a presentation of facts on enrollment; spending; literacy and all the factors that one usually uses to measure performance. But Dr. Perez Hoodbhoy wanted to go deeper than these statistics. He wants to steer you away from just throwing money at this problem.

After all, that's our first response, isn't it? For as long as I can remember, anyone discussing education wants more money. I have never subscribed to this theory because I know that money isn't the answer. My personal experience in Catholic schools showed my over and over that more can be done with discipline and dedication on the part of teachers. this is not to say there aren't dedicated public school teachers. I'm sure there are, but I attended Catholic schools, so that's my frame of reference.

Dr. Hoodbhoy wanted to highlight what money can't fix. He talked about teacher literacy rates. He talked about schools whose budgets have to accommodate bribing local officials. He talked about children who must work to help their families survive.

Then he showed us a reading primer.

"A" is for "Allah"
"B" is for the Urdu word for gun - complete with picture.

And the the letter "T" for "takrao" the urdu word for "collision".

My heart skipped a beat and my eyes stung. The illustration was a crude cartoon of planes crashing into the World trade Centers on 9/11.

What good would all the money in the world do?

Did I take it too seriously? Because around me there was shocked laughter. I felt completely all alone and isolated? Was I the only person in the room who felt that like a physical blow? The bulk of the audience were young people under 25. They were students, but well educated students. Laughter?


Guard Wife said...

I don't think you took it too seriously at all. And, "well educated" is relative. All the book smarts on the PLANET simply doesn't qualify in my world. Those are the people I'll be stepping over when things go down.

Would people just after WWII have laughed if there had been a primer for children in the Third Reich showing crude depictions of concentration camps, etc? My guess would be a great big NO.

Miss Ladybug said...

It's indoctrination, pure & simple. When that is what they teach, the attitudes about violent jihad will never change.

capo del fuoco said...

I don't think that you took it too seriously. At least it was "shocked laughter" versus the other kind. I suspect that they were uncomfortable as well but lacked the maturity to express their feelings.

As far as "well educated" goes, see Thomas Sowell on that issue. It does not mean what it used to.

The Dr. made a very important is not going to fix this condition.

It sounds like you had a good time and I missed you over at Midrats chat! E1 was working the Corps business over amphib ops. We need a Marine on that show.