I have often argued that the root cause of the problems we are facing in Pakistan is the lack of education. Without proper education, we are unable to elect competent leaders or make any rational decisions as a nation. If almost half of our population is unable to read and write a single word, extremism easily flourishes and there is no way we can have a stable and performing economy.
This already desperate situation was dealt another blow this week after the government announced its plans to dissolve the HEC or Higher Education Commission. This federal body was one of the best performing organizations in the country (until its funding was drastically slashed) and oversaw some of Pakistan’s universities rise to worldwide prominence.
It’s hard to imagine what logical reasoning could have driven our glorious leaders to take such a catastrophic step. It makes no sense to hand over such a critical role to the corrupt and incompetent provinces. On this issue, I’d have to agree with the conspiracy theorists and also add a few theories of my own.
The HEC takes a strong stand against fake degrees and has had an exceptionally clean record. Once disbanded, our dirty politicians, many of whom hold fake degrees, would be completely free to run amock. Most likely, this was the main motivation behind the move.
It could also be a conspiracy to ensure that our future will remain in the hands of the corrupt few while most of our populations remains illiterate and powerless. How medieval is that?
Here is a message from Dr. Atta-ur-Rahman, one of the most respected men in the country and the man who can be credited with jump-starting the IT and Telecom sector in Pakistan. He had been heading the HEC during its best performing years.
A demonstration in protest of the dissolution of HEC is being held tomorrow (Tuesday, April 5th). You can join in through the Facebook event Defending HEC.