My grandfather often tells me stories of his early days. In those times, believe it or not, Pakistan was actually considered a tolerant and peaceful place. Foreigners weren’t murdered, kidnapped or robbed the moment they landed in the country. Therefore, my grandpa had quite a few foreign professors, most of them Americans. My grandpa was part of something like the very first Bachelor in Education (B Ed.) batch in the Punjab. Anyway, he sometimes narrates the difficulties he faced in studying the newly-imported subject.
Considering how the field was only recently introduced in the country, there weren’t a lot of books and resources available in those times. Luckily, one of the American professors had brought two text-books with him. These served as the only written resource the entire batch had for the entire program. So, making the best of it, the batch made an hourly schedule for the books. My grandpa was only allowed a total of two hours daily to read the two books, which were then passed on to the next scholar, who passed it on to the next guy after his allotted time ended, and so on.
Hence, the only thing that stopped my grandpa and the other students in his batch from achieving their full potential was a lack of resources, a lack of opportunities, a lack of facilities. Truly, a tragedy. However, an even bigger tragedy is the fact that the story of my grandpa’s B Ed. batch is neither rare nor exceptional. Millions of students in developing countries, from schools and universities alike, struggle to break away from the chains of mediocrity and elevate themselves. Sadly, most of them fail and are forced to resign themselves and simply cram the inaccurate notes concocted by their teachers, without comprehending even the simplest of concepts.
In recent years, a small ray of hope has gradually started penetrating the darkness caused by ignorance and incompetence. These guys…
They offer free, high-quality education to everyone. It’s a bit amazing when you think about it. Now everyone with a decent internet connection (and a proxy because of the Pakistani government’s smart decision to block youtube) can get educated for free. Perhaps the best among them is the third guy from the left, Salman Khan. As I’ve mentioned before, Sal has set up an organization called the Khan Academy which is committed to standardizing education, and making it free and easily accessible for everyone. Here is a kind of mixed sample of some interesting videos: