FSc. The Reason Why We Lag Behind
I always wanted to be a doctor. Dean of Medicine, to be specific. The dream of being a specialist, walking around the hospital with confidence like Hugh Laurie was utter ecstasy to me. It was all I ever wanted. There were no doubts of another career, as it had become a universal statement that I’ll one day put on my white coat and go out to work.
In my FSc Part 1 result, I scored extremely poor marks. Alas, no dream no more.
The biggest regret in my life? I chose FSc over A levels.
FSc in Pakistan is generally extremely corrupted at the core level, where the purpose of obtaining the degree is not to groom the mind, but to obtain the highest marks possible-be it via cheating or cramming the substandard books.
The Government of Pakistan has prescribed cheap books so that the general public (that is mostly poor in Pakistan) can easily afford education. The intention is commendable. However, the implementation is seriously flawed. While the bad binding or cheap paper quality is an acceptable compromise, the books themselves haven’t been edited for a very long time. Take a look at the 2016 version of English Book:
For 16 years, none of the editors cared to remove the old and outdated article. The prescribed reference storybook, Goodbye Mr. Chips, has been around for an incredibly long time. Even my parents, who are more than 30 years older than me, had the same book as a reference.
These complaints are just the tip of the iceberg.
Aside from that, incorrect information with wrong factual data is recurrent, with grammatical errors, spelling mistakes and blank pages occurring every now and then.
Ignoring the errors, the writing itself is very poor indeed. There is no provocative or innovative method of teaching, with the writers usually thinking that adding difficult vocabulary automatically makes the writing professional. The case is the quite the opposite, with good books generally investing more on easy yet associative writing along with examples that readers can relate to. But these books are made on the ground principle that they’ll only be used for cramming.
However, books that do try to explain, try and fail miserably. Take the Physics books, for example. For the sake of making a good impression, everything that is written, is off topic. The solutions are extremely complicated and an article is explained in such a way that the reader has to skim the whole page to find one important point from all the irrelevant data.
Frankly, I wouldn’t mind half of the issues as long as the writers tried their best. Anyone who has read these books will agree with me that they don’t.
I always felt pity for the invigilators. Hard working class people who sign up for invigilation to make extra money, to make ends meet. It’s a hard job. They’re vigilant and have to walk around for 3 hours in a hall full of humidity and no air conditioning.
Until one day, one of the invigilators came towards me when I was giving my Chemistry exam, he asked me whether I had finished up my MCQs and upon the nod of my head, took my paper and gave it to another guy just a few tables ahead of me. Another time, another invigilator came to me and ordered me to write all the mcqs on a piece of paper and give it to him. Of course, I wrote the wrong answers, but that’s certainly not the point. Cheating is a tradition here at FSc, something that is widely and strictly condemned everywhere and it’s truly infuriating to see that Board Examinations have a reputation for cheating.
Do I strike to you as a guy with no backed up evidence?
Institutions and Learning:
There was a time when going to a tuition academy was a little embarrassing. Only the dumbest of us had to go.
Right now, these academies are trampled by a hoard of students. Institutions like Unique and KIPS convert them into an army of crammers. Whose fault is it?
It’s everyone’s actually.
FSc institutions first of all take large sums of fees from students, and then employ mediocre teachers who say “You don’t need tuition if you study what I teach you”, and then remain absent for half of the year. They then teach inadequately and quickly when they realize that they have to finish the course. Students don’t even bother asking questions then, since they know that they’ll eventually just learn the topic without having a remote idea of the concept. Academies aid them in doing so.
In short, these colleges just take fees from students and in return give them the degree. There is no actual learning process. The course itself is too much for anyone who learns everything conceptually. Six subjects. Students have to literally learn a dozen things per page. That eventually winds up to a huge course that is way too much.
I think it’s safe to say that people who have completed their schooling should look into their prospects and what they want to do in their life. This is done by choosing the subjects they are interested in and actually learn something so that they can build themselves for a professional life. Instead, they rather are forced to go to academies that help them decipher whatever the hell Ghalib said.
It’s completely preposterous that people are forced to study Urdu to become a doctor. It’s good for people who are interested in languages and/or who intend to become teachers. But what concern is it of a chemical engineer about when did (spoiler alert!) Katherine die? Does it help in his ability to process or inspect chemicals? No! Though the government thinks so.
The subjects of languages are the worst subjects taught at FSc. The worst institution is the one that says you have to learn languages. For English, forget grammar. Tell us all about Brookfield. I am interested in learning Spanish. I guess instead of learning how to read, write or speak in Spanish, I should just memorize when did the Colombian Pablo Escobar died. While on the other hand, all the international examinations of English request you to read a comprehension or simply write an essay. They then evaluate you on the basis of how good your writing is.
Urdu’s subject is even worse. In essays, you have to write at least 8 pages to get decent marks. 8 pages. Those 8 pages are filled up with big handwriting, stanzas and just plain trash. Instead of just giving a comprehension, they’ll give you a ghazal (poem) and you’ll have to decide who wrote it. I have literally seen people memorizing the names of writers written vertically on the book during the last minutes before exams. Is this what the Urdu language is limited to? Memorizing writers and topic names?
I’m sure the reason behind Bill Gates success was not that he gave the general public a software that allowed them to easily use a computer-it was just because he wrote well. He wrote beautifully. Not quite sure about everyone else but our Government thinks so. In order to get good marks, students have to write beautifully. They have to buy cut nib markers, fountain pens (ball pens are condemned) and also have to learn how to write beautifully with headings by markers. To add insult to injury, they have to draw margin lines with a marker too just so that the page looks even more ‘beautiful’. Well, can’t the Board just give pages with printed margins? I’d rather give an extra 1000 PKR for one of those. Why is it that students have to write like Picasso and spend the first 10 minutes drawing lines in the exams?
One word reply: Examiners
People who don’t have enough qualifications to be appointed by any academy just volunteer to check the papers. They are the reason the whole system is corrupted. They get some rupees per paper, so they have to rush and skim so that they can check as many papers as they can before going home and all of this checking has to happen in the summers.
Pakistan is generally known for its extreme temperatures. This is the reason many of our dear examiners are always in an irritable mood as they just want to go home. They check as fast as possible, and that results in them generally favoring a paper with good handwriting. Someone who has written pure baloney in an extremely beautiful handwriting will obviously get full marks in FSc. What’s extremely frustrating is that the Board of Education is so stupid; they don’t even send a marking scheme. This results in every examiner judging every paper differently. Some, admittedly are good checkers, others (I’m not joking) measure the writing with their palm and give 1 mark per palm. I’ve heard many people pray and ask me to wish them luck on their result day. What’s revolting is that they say, “Pray that I get a good examiner”.
Is there any need for an overview after all that I just wrote?
To all those who feel depressed after reading this, don’t worry. The Government has announced that the Orange Train’s coming very soon!
P.S my buddy Abdul Sami actualy did write how we can improve the educational system. Give it a read here!