25 February 2013
Photo by Flickr member ©Hashoo Foundation USA - Houston, TX
Author: Amna Ansari
Publication Date: February 2013
Pakistan is currently home to three parallel yet starkly unequal systems of education – the dominantly privately owned English medium, the state run vernacular Urdu medium and religious seminaries or Madrassah education systems. This paper demonstrates how socioeconomic class as a set of social relations permeates education provision in Pakistan to promote a passive and exclusionary form of citizenship by resulting in the current three-tier, apartheid-like structure. Establishing the links between education, capabilities and citizenship, the paper develops three evaluative criteria- individuation, socialization and qualification – to apply to key instruments- medium of instruction, curriculum content and styles of teaching and learning- across the three systems of education and show how each produces a distinct cohort of individuals with varying economic, social and political opportunities. Based on the findings, the paper proposes the development of an equal, unified system of education, the procedural implications of which are addressed using the Web of Institutionalization. While sustaining change at scale is never easy, this study demonstrates how enforcing a horizontal view of citizenship i.e. influencing and bringing about change through new forms of organization and active involvement amongst citizens in the Citizen, Policy, Organizational and Delivery Spheres of the Web can institutionalize equality for diverse social groups.