Choose the Correct Answer..


Choose the Correct Answer..

“Write the name of the prophet who came after the Prophet Essa (Jesus)?”

 

Two of the four options: Hazrat Abrahim; Hazrat Mohammad.

 

I’ve jumped the gun again. Let me begin from the beginning, or as stupid as that sound, from the media report on one of the channels, which revealed the ‘state of education’ in this country.

 

Last week, according to a TV channel news report; during the board exams held recently for the ninth grade, students in Lahore were making history of probably giving the most ingenious answers ever. According to the report, in one paper, the students were asked about the coastline of Pakistan, and two options were provided to the examiners – between 800 and 700 km – so the students had a wide window to get marks in this paper, by marking either answer. The students can be forgiven in this case, since considering the dismal condition of our curriculum, it could be possible that certain books contained one and others had the other. But the teachers can’t be forgiven for being confused on the facts that they teach to their students, these people should be at the top of their game. They are teachers! But we can forgive them, considering the lack of proper teaching and other things that eat at the neglected educational system of the country.

 

But one can’t forgive the next incident that occurred in the recently held board exam in Lahore, were class ninth students were asked: “What is the name of the prophet who came after the Prophet Jesus?” The students were given four options out which two were “Hazrat Abrahim; Hazrat Mohammad.” The majority of the students marked Hazrat Abrahim as the answer. But the agony didn’t stop there, according to the investigative report, the examiners were given the same option in the tally answer sheet they are provided when marking papers. Therefore, those who had given this answer instead of Prophet Mohammad got marks, those who didn’t select this option failed!

 

We don’t tire telling everyone that we are Muslims, and we can’t stop harping that Pakistan is an Islamic country. We are killing each other in the name of religion, and react violently if someone says something that is against our knowledge of religion – which every sect, every ‘religious’ leader and every person believes is the final word. Anyone who says anything contrary should be put in their place by any means. We are intolerant towards minorities, and allow minor girls from other religions to be forced into converting to Islam and then threatened them and their families.

 

Then how does it happen in this Islamic country, with a majority of Muslim making up the population that Muslim students and examiners ‘forgot’ or were ‘not taught’, or whatever excuse they have for this error, the answer to the most basic question that any student of Islam should know because they are being taught this from childhood. Is it because they lack knowledge or even common sense? Probably both.

 

Remember when a Christian student of class eighth near Abbottabad was accused of blasphemy, expelled from school and activated the local religious leaders. The poor student who was writing in Urdu place a dot in the wrong place, which caused a word to spell something derogatory while writing about the Prophet Mohammad. This is an error that any one can make, while writing in Urdu – children usually have dots and slashes used in Urdu all over the place but teachers let them go. Was the uproar following this mistake because the child was a non-Muslim?

 

This child was not only scolded by her teacher, but was beaten as well and then informed the principal and the school management and soon the whole area was brimming with anger and calls for punishment for the eight grader, a mere child. The child’s whole family was under threat, as the local prayers took this up and tried to stir the masses through their sermons. Her mother was transferred to another area. The child and her mother apologized for this error, which they said wasn’t deliberate or based on malice.

 

Common sense would reveal that a non-Muslim family living in a predominately Muslim area could only be on a death wish to attempt anything like this, in a country where minorities are always living in threat of being accused for blasphemy.

 

But if this eighth grader could be punished for her error, how come the teachers who are responsible for teaching wrong facts and making an exam paper based on this are not reprimanded. Doesn’t this merit some action?

 

This incident reveals that our educational sector is dying, if not already dead. No one knows what is being taught in educational institutions, and if this issue hadn’t been highlighted by the media, no one would have even known.

 

But before I go further I must elaborate two or three incidents that I love to narrate. Before that I want to elaborate that there are more and more master degree holders in Pakistan. That is good news. The bad news is that with quantity, we have lost quality. The majority of these degree holders are not educated – which reflects badly on their teachers, who also came from the same system and are teaching them the same rubbish. For such people I say there is the internet, if you abhor books, which can provide you facts at a single click. I pity these so-called educated people, who are filling in all professional fields and messing them up….

 

Ok first incident. My friend, who I will call OZ, is a highly intelligent man, with an almost photographic memory. He related a story that needs to be shared here:

 

While working at a media organization, Dr OZ was busy working when a ‘celebrity’ of the channel came to him, all flustered and agitated. The ‘celebrity’ pleaded my friend Dr OZ to help him with a story he had been asked to work on. OZ asked on what, to which the ‘celebrity’ replied, “Who is Shakespeare?” Need I elaborate..

 

Second case: While I was in college, we were studying the works of one of the greatest poets of the subcontinent, Ghalib, like Shakespeare he needs no introduction. One of my class mates turned to me one day and said, “Hey did you watch the drama of Naseeruddin Shah in which he plays a poet…I think it is the same poet Ghalib, who’s the poems we are studying!”

 

Third case: While working for a channel, I was introduced to the ‘intellectuals’ that comprise the media – all masters in something or the other. I was impressed thinking at least the content will improve. These youngsters introduced me to intellectual dimensions I would never have gone to. While discussing some topics for stories they were doing, they revealed that the ancient pyramids of Egypt – one of the most interesting ancient civilizations in the world – were constructed by Muslims. When I dared to point (scared that I might be classified as a infidel) that the pyramids were built more than two thousand or more years before the advent of Islam, they went away disgusted with my ignorance.

 

My other encounter with them was when again discussing something in a historical perspective, and these sages revealed that the mother of Jesus Christ founder of Christianity, Mary was a Muslim. When I said that but are you talking about Prophet Jesus’ Mary? If looks could kill, I wouldn’t have lived to tell this tale. But after that I think they wrote me off as an infidel and never discussed anything with me, mainly because their ‘broadmindedness’ didn’t allow them to assimilate new information. Although I did offer that I could be wrong, and if they liked they could check on the net or go to a library.

 

Such illiteracy and narrow mindedness, not to mention lack of general knowledge is probably the bane of this country and a product of learning by rote and sticking to an archaic syllabus that was made in the 40s, which in some cases like science subjects needs to be revised annually. This is a wakeup call to the people dealing with education – religious and mainstream – in the country and they need to really revamp the whole sector. During a discussion with some doctors and government servants during an event, this point kept coming up that the quality of education in Pakistan is horrendous, especially in the government sector and in private schools, springing up in all the nooks and crannies of the country churning out illiterate masses. The government servant explained the dismal situation of our educational system aptly. He said that his father was a bureaucrat as well and he sent his children to the best schools of the country, similarly he had sent his children to the best schools in the country, so people like him would have no idea what the quality of the education was in the government run schools. He further said this was why the state of the education was what it was, because those who mattered were not affected by it and made no effort to try and improve it. And I believe he is right. Until those who matter don’t experience such situations they cannot make a difference.



Lubna Jerar Naqvi

The writer is a senior journalist and writes regularly on human rights and women issues with special focus on social media. She tweets @raiseqalam

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  • Sohail Ahmed

    Good. Thought provoking, hair-raising at the same time. But we can imagine the state of affairs; where money minting is policy, quality vanishes. We have to start afresh, from square one. Perhaps some of us old fellows are among the spoilers. Allah help us rebuild this nation.

  • Anonymous

    VERY WELL WRITTEN – HIGHLIGHTING THE TRUE PICTURE OF OUR EDUCATION SYSTEM.
    WHAT ELSE CAN YOU EXPECT IN A COUNTRY WHERE THE BULK OF THE BUDGET IS SPENT ON INSTITUTIONS WHO HAVE NEVER BEEN ABLE TO DEFEND THE COUNTRY – WHERE FILMI HEROES AND SPORTSMEN ARE GIVEN MORE RESPECT AND ACKNOWLEDGEMENT THAN AN EDUCATIONIST OR PEOPLE EXCELLING IN FIELDS OF RESEARCH AND TECHNOLOGY.
    HAVE WE FORGOTTEN WHAT HONORS AND PRAISES WE BESTOWED ON DR. SALAM?

    • guest

      Simonbig , your last wrods touched my heart Dude . The Only Noble prize winner In Physics , The so called Muslim Ummah , could point out in 450+ years. he was a born Muslim but ZAB and his Mullah cronies made him a minority in 1974 , he lived and died in exile No One In This Land Of Pures ,even remembers his deeds and who he was … This is the honor we the hypocrites of 180 millions , bestowed on that Brilliant mind and a man with humble begining ( from Jhang ). may his soul rest in eternal hevenly peace

  • Sok

    “He further said this was why the state of the education was what it was, because those who mattered were not affected by it and made no effort to try and improve it. And I believe he is right. ” The writer has herself summarized the whole article in one sentence.

  • Ashar

    You have criticised others, while your own knowledge is debatable. Jesus Christ was not the founder of Christianity. He was truly a Muslim as was Ibrahim AS. His mother Mary was therefore surely a Muslim. Christianity was founded by Paul rather, Saul of Tarsus, who had deep rooted connections with the pagans and who never met Jesus in his lifetime. Besides, there is a lot to comment on your self generated opinion, however the above mentioned facts seems to be enough for you and other readers of this blog. In a nutshell, you need to spend your time in a good library.

    • A. Ali

      Ashar you are right good to know ppl knows about these things also. Saint Paul was the founder of Christianity who was a Jew.

  • Mubasshar

    (and allow minor girls from other religions to be forced into converting to Islam and then threatened them and their families.) if you are mentioning the latest story about that hindu girl converted to muslim and got married. what is the wrong in this.

    i don’t understand why we are not accepting that they become muslim by their will not by force. but still we are blaming them. aaaaaaaah in stead of protecting them we are making them feel as they have done a big mistake by changing their religion. comon and first think before writing any thing.

  • M_tahir2k

    Just to keep the history right, I advise the writer to read the Quran. The Quran says about Prophet Ibrahim as Muslim.So whoever follows Prophet Ibrahim is a Muslim. From that perspective Hazrat MAryam (Mary) was from the generation of the Prophet Ibrahim and related to HAzrah Zakria (Read Sura Maryam) and they were following the Islam in their belief. They believed in one God and never associated partners with him. So I advise the writer to keep her history correct.

    I agree with most things of the writer but the as far as the history of Hazrat Maryam (Peace be Upon her) is concerned she was a Muslim.

    Thanks Muhammad Tahir

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_YFY2EF75XVYRLAO6XXOYCT5III Tron

    Well actually literal meaning of Muslim is:
    “Somebody who surrenders (to God)”. (origin: Arabic)
    So in that sense anyone who is a follower of God, may he be Jew or Christian can be a Muslim, but due to passage of time and not knowing the actual meaning of so many Arabic terms, we came to this conclusion that only people related to “religion” Islam can be Muslims.

    On the topic i must say “WOWWW”!!! I watched a clip called something like “stupid/dumb Americans” on youtube in which host was asking all these questions like what is the name of British currency,–which country is the the largest in terms of population etc etc and the people didn’t know the answers and i was thinking at that time that Its a good thing our people are much smarter than that. But now it like everything is going to gutter (sorry but its true). Democracy, Judiciary, our departments and Military (talk about setting a precedent by taking an extension). We are our own worst enemies, period.
    Thank God I finished my Matriculation a decade ago from Government School, when a person teaches there deserved to be called THE TEACHER.

  • Muhammad

    Well, sadly it is true. Reasons are plenty.

    All children are born muslim, it is his parents who make him jew or christan(Sahih Muslim). Hence, Maryam AS was a muslim. Isa AS was a muslim.

    A wee point worth mentioning is the fact that what people call Islam is actually Shariyat-e-Muhammadi SAW. Muhammadans was archaic for Muslims in the olden days. Makes sense?

    I think good parenting and teaching are the keys to success. I consider myself to be extremely lucky in both. Had the best parents and teachers, who actually wanted us to get a grasp on the subject rather than just get an A so that they could get a bloddy bonus. People of the sort that Tron mentioned.

  • fanziii

    I am amazed that this article has paved its way to be posted publically on the blog, becaused it has several mistakes. The writer is just, so much wrong and ill-informed. Specially the part where the writer is talking about the Religion of Mary not being islam, and then just like a “Parha Likha Jahil” she sarcasticlly regards the other party as being narrow-minded when clearly she is wrong herself to argue at the first place.

    The writer shouldnt be sarcastic if someone doesnt know about shakespare. That celebrity could be from a time and a place where there was only urdu medium of education. I am pretty sure that the writer wont blame the education system of UK if some britisher came to her and asked “Who is Mirza Ghalib ?” And Yes, Naseeruddin Shah DID play a part in a TV Drama which was proclaimed to be about Mirza Ghalib the poet (An indian perespective though)

    Please dont write stuff just because you HAVE to write it in support of your argument. Kindly be logical and thorough in your research.

  • Lawrence Papabenji

    Lubna:I feel sorry for you to be a Muslim;You happen to be too bright and not so prejudiced.You can never have PEACE,PROGRESS AND PROPERITY with ISLAM.Islam does not allow you to look at its ideogy critically.Mustafa Kemal of Turkey called Islam as the absurd theology of an Immoral Beduoin.Read Holy Terror by Amer Tahiri page 187.

  • Farooq M.Hashmi

    The dismal picture of the standard of education in Pakistan,you have drawn in your article,did not arouse a modicum of my surprise.While all other institutions of Pakistan______political,economic,social,religious and cultural,etc.,_____are ablaze with corruption,no wonder,the institution of education could not escape its torrefying heat.Since,making of money,by fair or foul means,has assumed the form of Pakistan’s national ethos,abetted cheating in examination-halls,pre-examination outages of the question-papers and fallacious over-grading of the answer-sheets are viewed as the natural phenomena.Whereas,the politicians and the bureaucrats have the political and the bureaucratic tools for indulging in corruption,the people related to the fields of education,finance,religion and culture,etc.,have their own tactics,specific for their respective fields,to help them practice corruption.The bottom-line is that today’s Pakistani society is Mechiavellian in the real sense of the word.People’s conscious is stone-dead,and their hands are smeared with putrefyiing corruption.Religious impostors have sneaked into T.V channels as well.A month ago,I had felt as if my head had been struck with a bludgeon when a so-called “religious scholar” had wrongly been reciting Qalima Tayyaba asking a non-Muslim to follow him in the course of proselytizing him.

  • Anonymous

    I HAVE BEEN GOING THROUGH YOUR VARIOUS COMMENTS ON THIS ARTICLE AND I AM SORRY TO SAY THAT I FIND YOUR COMMENTS FULL OF SARCASM – VERY CHILDISH AND GIVE AN IMPRESSION THAT YOU LACK THE BASIC ETIQUETTE OF THE SOCIETY.
    ON THE OTHER HAND IT ALSO SEEMS THAT YOU EITHER DON’T KNOW THE FACTS OR ARE UN-WILLING TO ACCEPT THEM. I WISH TO PUT THE RECORD STRAIGHT.
    I DON’T WANT TO INDULGE IN THE DISCUSSION THAT DR.SALAM WAS A MUSLIM OR NOT – BUT I HOPE YOU AGREE THAT HE WAS A HUMAN BEING AND DURING HIS LIFE HE WORKED FOR THE BEST INTEREST OF PAKISTAN.
    HE WAS FIRST AND FOREMOST A PAKISTANI NATIONAL
    DR SALAM ALWAYS REMAINED PASSIONATELY IN LOVE WITH PAKISTAN
    AFTER RECEIVING THE NOBEL PRIZE ON HIS RETURN TO PAKISTAN – THE UNIVERSITY OF PUNJAB REFUSED TO HONOR HIM WITH DEGREE AND THE GOVERNMENT COLLEGE DID NOT EVEN INVITE HIM
    ON THE OTHER HAND WHEN HE VISITED INDIA IN 1981 – 5 UNIVERSITIES BESTOWED HIM WITH HONORARY DEGREES. Ms INDIRA GANDHI INVITED HIM TO HER RESIDENCE AND MADE COFFEE FOR HIM WITH HER OWN HANDS AND SAT ON THE CARPET THROUGHOUT THE MEETING NEAR DR. SAHIBS FEET SAYING THAT WAS HER WAY TO HONOR A GREAT GUEST.
    ON HIS RETURN TO PAKISTAN – HE WAS RECEIVED AT VARIOUS AIRPORTS BY JUNIOR ARMY OFFICERS – IN COMPARISON WHEN HE VISITED THE SOUTH AMERICAN COUNTRIES – HE WAS RECEIVED BY THE HEAD OF THE STATES.
    THIS ARTICLE WILL GO ON AND ON – IF YOU SURF THE INTERNET AND TYPE THE WORDS ” DR ABDUS SALAM” YOU WILL BE SWAMPED WITH THE WORKS OF THIS AMAZING MAN.
    I CLOSE WITH THESE COMMENTS FROM PEOPLE WHO LOVED AND RESPECTED HIM – BUT I ASSURE YOU THESE PEOPLE ARE NOT AHMADI’S :

    Ghulam Murtaza, a professor of plasma physics at the Government College University and student of Salam has put it:
    “When Dr. Salam was to deliver a lecture, the hall would be packed and although the subject was Particle Physics, his manner and eloquence was such as if he was talking about literature. When he finished his lectures, listeners would often burst into spontaneous applause and give him a standing ovation. People from all parts of the world would come to Imperial College and seek Dr. Salam’s help. He would give a patient hearing to everyone including those who were talking nonsense. He treated everyone with respect and compassion and never belittled or offended anyone. Dr. Salam’s strength was that he could “sift jewels from the sand”.

    Dr. Ishfaq Ahmad, former chairman of the PAEC and a lifelong friend of Salam recalls:
    “Dr. Abdus Salam was responsible for sending about 500 physicists, mathematicians and scientists from Pakistan, for doctorate’s to the best institutions in UK and U.S.”

    During his acceptance speech for the Nobel Prize in Physics, Salam quoted the following verses from the Quran:
    Thou seest not, in the creation of the All-merciful any imperfection, Return thy gaze, seest thou any fissure? Then Return thy gaze, again and again. Thy gaze, Comes back to thee dazzled, aweary.

    He then said:
    This, in effect, is the faith of all physicists; the deeper we seek, the more is our wonder excited, the more is the dazzlement for our gaze.

  • Anonymous

    JUST TO REMIND YOU THIS IS A COMMENT CORNER NOT A SARCASM CORNER

  • Farooq M.Hashmi

    I was unable to make head or tail of your comments. I have no idea what point you wanted to make.