How to eradicate Poverty from our Country? And can our Education sector make any Progress if we just Increase Education Budget?
Posted by khuram on December 18, 2006
Mahatir Muhammad’s “Case of Asia” is a good book to understand how practically poverty can be eradicated within few decades from a poor country. Although he expressed his concerns about the setbacks to the Economies of East Asian Countries in late 1990s, but on the whole, he showed his satisfaction over the achievements of his government. Malaysia was a poor country in early 1960’s when Mahatir assumed power. He has discussed his long term planning aimed at how to eradicate poverty from the country. His people were mostly uneducated and did not know even how to do small businesses. His government first tried to understand the composition of country’s society with respect to their economic activities and level of incomes. They found that there was vast disparity in the type of Economic activities and distribution of Income. A sizable population of Malaysia consisted of alien people. Indigenous Malaysian people were in majority however but most Economic resources were in the hands of alien people. Mahatir discusses that his government could adopt such policies as to just re-distribute the economic resources among population through various indirect means such as through progressive taxation etc. But they thought it was wrong to deprive wealthy people off their hard earned resources. They realized that actual problem was not to just redistribute the resources. The issue was to generate new resources. The majority poor population was so ignorant and didn’t even know how to start a small business. Then Mahatir discusses how his government endeavored to introduce business culture in the society. In fact, his strategy was to introduce entrepreneurial culture in the society. His government first encouraged small enterprises through small loan schemes. His government launched a campaign to promote awareness among small business owners about the adoptation and utilization of modern techniques of Accounting and Finance. In this way, at first his government successfully made a sizable number of people the owner of their own businesses. All the economic activities boosted with increased business activities. Secondly his government did concrete efforts for the promotion of Foreign Investment in his country.
The difference between such a strategy and our policy is something like that we also study Accounting and Finance. But in our country, these subject are taught with the view to enable the students to find some clerical or so called Managerial job. Whereas Mahatir’s government launched campaign to make these modern techniques of doing business as part of business culture of country.
And I do not think that education sector can make progress only with the help of additional finance. We are having far more Economic resources than our own ancient ancestors. If they could make many achievements in educational, intellectual and scientific fields, then why we have been unable to do the same things while having far more Economic resources than our those ancestors could have? Dr. Pervez Hoodbhoy considers it just a baseless excuse that we are backward in education sector just because of lack of some Economic resources. The question is, after all what we shall do of additional money if we double or triple our Education budget? Obviously we shall open some new substandard schools and universities. As a result, there shall be some more addition of half educated unemployed or under-employed degree-holder youth. There is actually need of many qualitative type reforms in our education system. Dr. Hoodhbhoy says ok that many types of Scientific research studies do require expensive laboratory equipment, but he says that laboratory equipment is not the necessary condition for all types of scientific research. For example, he has classified science into (i) Practical Sciences and; (ii) Theoretical Sciences. He tells us that research work in theoretical sciences do not require the usage of any expensive laboratory equipment. So we would rightfully blame our so called poverty only if we have shown any positive achievement in the area of at least theoretical sciences.
Furthermore, neither our education system is aware of any utility of theoretical sciences, nor our university syllabi include any theoretical science at all. Only emphasis is on just a minor aspect of practical sciences. My friend who did Masters in Botany told me that once university imported some expensive lab equipment from Japan. But that equipment was never used because if during its application some fault comes, it could only be removed by Japanese. So University management thought it better to not use that equipment at all…!!!
So how our education sector can make any progress if we successfully find many oil wells in our country but pay no attention to the qualitative aspects of education system?