Quaid-e-Azam was a visionary leader having a deep insight and unrivalled vision for Pakistan on many fronts. He had a clear vision as to what sort of educational system we should have developed in our country. The Quaid believed that education was the key factor in safeguarding the national independence and moulding the character of a people. The system of education must be truly national in order to meet the needs and aspirations of the people in national education and here lies the only sure and permanent guarantee of national defence and national strength.
“You must concentrate on gaining knowledge and education. It is your foremost responsibility. Political awareness of the era is also part of your education. You must be aware of international events and environment. Education is a matter of life and death for our country.”
— Quaid-e-Azam Muahmmad Ali Jinnah
Quaid-i-Azam Muahmmad Ali Jinnah attached great importance to education. He was convinced that education was the only effective means to liberate the masses and weld them into a strong nation and also to bring about social, political and economic development in the country. He was aware that under the political subjugation and servitude of the British, the character of the Muslims as a nation had been completely destroyed. They had lost respect for character, for knowledge and even for wealth, and were taught to respect nothing but power. Following is a brief analysis of Quaid’s vision on education:
Purpose of Education
Several countries of the world have achieved socioeconomic development by using education as an economic driver. Quaid’s vision in respect of using education as an economic driver was contained in his several speeches, two being the most prominent of them. The first one is his message to the All Pakistan Educational Conference, Karachi on November 27, 1947 wherein he emphasised on the purpose of education and laid stress on technical and vocational education and on character-building. He said:
“We must earnestly bring our educational policy and programme on the lines suited to the genius of our people, consonant with our history and culture, with regard to the modern conditions and vast developments that have taken place all over the world. There is an immediate and urgent need for training our people in scientific and technical education in order to build up our future economic life and we should see that our people undertake science, commerce, trade and particularly well-planned industries. But do not forget that we have to compete with the world which is moving very fast in this direction.”
Emphasis on Specialised Education
On April 18, 1948, he emphasised on specialised education in his reply to the welcome address at Edwards College, Peshawar. He said:
“That instead of turning more clerks and government servants, your college is now offering suitable subjects for students, which would enable them to take their place in commerce, trade, industry, banking and insurance business. It should be the aim of our colleges to produce first-class experts in agriculture, engineering, medicine, zoology and other specialised subjects. Only thus shall we be able to come to grips with the problems that are now facing us in the task of raising the standard of living, especially of the common man.”
Human Resources for Economic Development
Human resource development is considered a prerequisite for economic development. It is firmly believed that the man behind the machine is very important. Nations who invest in HR continue to develop and exploit the resource to their advantage. The Quaid had visualised these aspects. In a speech, delivered on September 26, 1947, the Quaid said:
“Funds are, no doubt, necessary for development but, at the same time, national growth and regeneration do not depend on funds alone. It is human toil that makes for the prosperity of a people and I have no doubt that we have in Pakistan, a nation of industrious and determined people whose past traditions have already distinguished them in the field of human achievement.”
Quaid’s vision on HR was absolutely clear. He had visualised the use of HR for the increase in prosperity of the people. Events which globally followed showed that the world famous scholars namely, Harbison and Meyers, acknowledged and celebrated educationist and economists, declared human capital during 1970s as vital for economic development.
Advice to Students
The education system has a dominating emphasis in the development of students so that their qualities of head and heart are developed for utilising the same for socioeconomic and cultural development of a country. In his address to a public meeting in Dhaka on March 21, 1948, he offered the following advice to students:
“My young friends, students who are present here, let me tell you as one who has always had love and affection for you, who has served you for ten years faithfully and loyally, let me give you this word of warning; you will be making the greatest mistake if you allow yourself to be exploited by one political party or another … Your main occupation should be – in fairness to yourself, in fairness to your presents, in fairness to the State – to devote your attention to your studies.”
Quran: A General Code for the Muslims
In his Eid message in September 1945, the Quaid urged upon Muslims to adopt the Holy Quran as a general code of life. It is the basis for the development for a positive role of all stakeholders in general and the generation in particular to study the Quran, to follow its principles and be the beneficiaries out of it. In this respect, an excerpt from his above message is quoted below:
“Everyone, except those who are ignorant, knows that the Quran is the general code of the Muslims. A religious, social, civil, commercial, military, judicial, criminal, penal code, it regulates everything from the ceremonies of religion to those of daily life; from the salvation of the soul to the health of the body; from the rights of all to those of each individual; from morality to crime, from punishment here to that in the life to come, and our Prophet has enjoined on us that every Mussalman should possess a copy of the Quran and be his own priest. Therefore Islam is not merely confined to the spiritual tenets and doctrines or rituals and ceremonies. It is a complete code regulating the whole Muslim society, every department of life, collectively and individually.”
The crying need of today is to study the foregoing advice by the Quaid and reform our educational system, which eventually will result in widespread prosperity in Pakistan. As the democratic government of Pakistan may be developing productive thoughts at the federal level and at the provincial levels, this piece can give to-the-point and crisp guidelines for re-orientating our educational system to our advantage. Let us be committed to accomplishing this mission and revisiting our educational system and reform it in the light of his guidance as explained above.