11 Apr 2018
The culture of the educational system of Pakistan is comprised of a variety of local culture, social, political, economic factors, and factors from the broader global context. This system has been influenced by the many eras of numerous philosophies and worldviews. The Eastern ideas tend to highlight faith, responsibility towards one’s family and community, and the respect of elders (Gupta, 2007) as being the foundational aspects to education. Yet, it has been the western influences that greatly affected Pakistan educational culture. These Western influences emphasized the importance of education to every individual but they excluded religion and morality from academics. They also shift towards making education a fundamental right to all citizens and standardized curricula and assessments.
Nonetheless, because Pakistan communities are mostly traditional, the education of females are dominated by cultural and religious values therefore obtaining an academic education is not perceived as greatly important to a female’s educational development. On the other hand the males are encouraged to obtain a solid education. Although the country’s constitutions eliminates gender inequality for education allowing and encouraging both male and females to attend schools, traditional practices are still being strongly upheld. Society perceives females as having a productive role within the confines of the home. They restrict the females to informal education such as the learning and teaching of home management and child rearing or specializing in domestic skills to be good mothers and wives. In contrast the males are strongly encouraged to attend school. They are taught that the male is the sole breadwinner of the home and he is supposed to dominate the world outside the home therefore it is imperative that he is equipped with the educational skills to compete for resources in the public arena.
Recently, despite the government attempt to alleviate the gender gap in education by providing more schools and educational services for females, the rate of literacy in females when compared to males are still extremely low. Generally patriarchal values governs the social structures in Pakistan and the female gender is seen as properties to the males instead of individuals. So too, the culture of the educational system of Pakistan follows, where the male is in control and dominate over the females.
In relation to the culture of educational system of America; for females, formal education was discouraged and mostly prohibited, it was seen by society as being unnatural for a woman to obtain any form of higher education. Females who venture into achieving education mostly learned forms of traditional domestic skills such as sewing, cooking and cleaning. Much like the female Pakistanis who were taught to take care of the home and trained to be good mothers and wife so too were the females of America.
However, the societies have changed and the culture of education has drastically changed through the eras of females and feminist activists fighting for the right to equality in education amongst gender. Now both males and females are free to attend single sex or co-sex schools. The current societies of America strongly and equally encourages both males and females to achieve the highest forms of education in any field they desire. Society places great emphasis on obtaining solid academic education because they see education as a way of betterment to an individual’s life. Through accomplishing success in education society portrays that an individual will have all the convenience of the materialistic world. Therefore, parents and adults compel and sympathizes with the younger generations to attend school. Some children embrace this encouragement and try to achieve educational success. Although the elders see education in this light, some of the younger generations do not appreciate the value of being formally educated. There are children who go through the system because they are forced by both the laws and their parent to be formally educated. The influence of their elders are ineffective in their educational decision in whether they choose to embrace or reject education.
The government has a major role in the education system of America. Education whether privately or publicly is mandated by the laws of states to be compulsory, where all children must attend school between an average ages of five to sixteen. The government sector is primary responsible for the education system of America. They set the standards, create the curricula and assessment, provide some of the additional recourses free such as transport and lunch to all students in the public schools. The government also provides means in which children with disabilities can still attend school and achieve a degree of formal education. All these aspect are provided in an attempt to make education a successful part of human development.
In America the history of education started with, what is known as “dame schools” in the 1700s; it is where older females would teach their children basic knowledge preparing their boys for town schools, back then only the boys were allowed to attend town schools. Whereas, the girls were thought only to the point of dame school and then thought skills at home, such as cooking, sewing, washing etc. However, in the 19th century some girls began attending town school, they were only allowed to go to school at times where boys were not at school and if there were space in classes after all boys were accommodated. Soon after the wave of feminism began, when women started fighting for their rights. They fought that they should gain rights to educate themselves by attending public schools and argued that the only difference between man and women were socially created differences. After battling against the gender oppression, women finally gained rights to attend public school due to government acts and conventions.
In Cambridge, Massachusetts, Radcliffe College which is a woman’s liberated Arts College was established, which functioned as a female coordinate institute for the all-male Harvard College. The Harvard Annex, which is a private program for women created by Harvard, was found in 1879 after women determinedly try to become a part of Harvard educational program. Arthur Gilman, was the founder of The Annex/Radcliffe, at that time women education was unacceptable. Gilman was a Cambridge resident who wanted to sustain a tertiary educational opportunity for his daughter that was more than what was available in female educational opportunities; the new women's colleges. He discussed it with the chair of Harvard's department, he showed a plan to have Harvard facilitate a small group of Cambridge and Boston women, and he presented his idea to Harvard President Charles William Eliot. Which was then approved; Gilman and Eliot gathered a group of well-connected Cambridge women to help facilitate the plan. 44 members of the Harvard faculty were then convinced to give lectures to female students for extra income which would be paid by the committee. The program is known as "The Harvard Annex." The courses of study were 51 courses which were in 13 subject areas in the first year. Courses which were offered are in Greek, English, Latin, French, Italian, German and Spanish. Also in music, mathematics physics, natural history, philosophy and political economy. This movement was the beginning of the equality of education for both gender.
In Pakistan through the eras of history education was perceived from a traditional and cultural stand point. The traditional educational system, which focuses on Islam, experienced an exponential growth since the 1970s, influenced by the wave of Islamic fundamentalism from Iran. The woman was the care takers of the home, while the men dominate by going out and working. History shows that education was always a priority to for the male, because they would have to go out into the world and work and provide for their families. But the society frowned upon women educating themselves because they were taught from their ancestors to specialize in domestic skills and take the roll of mother and wife, staying at home and providing for the family needs. However, this inequality is based strictly on the thoughts of society. As the government of Pakistan is working towards providing equality in the educating system for both male and female. The only problem they face is funding institutes to educate girls. Since most girls who are educated come from wealthy families, feminist believes that helping to educate all girls, even from rural areas would help with the upbringing of the country, and increasing the funding towards educating girls would help in that aspect. It would allow girls to gain higher education, therefore relate to higher paying jobs. This would help with the uplifting of families and the country.
The government of Pakistan does not stop anyone from receiving education in the country, whether it’s a girl or boy they are all allowed to receive equal education. However, it is society that places the inequality in education amongst boys and girls; it is based on certain beliefs in gender, separating their roles, causing bias in genders. Approximately twice as many boys receive academic education as girls in the country of Pakistan. But as of the year 2000-2007 the government have been taking a toll of this bias and looking to improve the inequalities that the females face as a result of gender. The Pakistani people follow traditions of their ancestors rather than what is believed by others, they see the males as the breadwinners and believe that that is the way it should be. But between the years 2000-2004 the country had a dramatic improvement in education, having a higher percentage of graduates every year, improving the countries status, however, Pakistan still has one of the highest illiteracy rates in the world.
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