Physical Education in Pakistan
By: Hamza Liaquat
The writer is a research associate @ AhleHaram
The education sector of Pakistan has always remained poor in modernising itself with the changing world. A recent list of top universities was issued by Times Higher Education World University Ranking 2020. The list mentioned only one Pakistani university, Quaid-e-Azam University, in its ranking of top 500 universities across the globe. Oxford University secured its status quo by acquiring top-notch in the list, the second place by filled by California Institute of Technology by dropping Cambridge University to third place.
Coming back to Pakistan, the literacy rate in Pakistan is nearly 58 per cent which shows the poor performance of our education sector. While a lot has been said on Media about improving the education standard in Pakistan and making the Universities more dynamic and result oriented. Prime Minister Imran Khan himself vowed to build world-class university and research centre in Islamabad. But there is a missing link in our approach to education. What we are missing is the focus on physical education of students.
It can be rightly argued that a sound body has a sound mind. For the sound mind, we need to improve the environment in our classrooms where children would love to learn and not by force. We need to pay attention to sports as well. Other activities like swimming, playing healthy games, class participation, teamwork and other such activities. All these things are part of Physical education. What we are doing currently is running a factory where same parts are produced by somewhat similar methods. Rote learning has become part of our education system. Creativity is being discouraged. The students are expected to copy-paste what is written in the textbook. This can be proved by analysing the results on Matric and intermediate examinations. The students have secured nearly full marks but when they come in practical life, they are void of the necessary skills that are required in the job market. So instead of becoming fruitful for the national development, he or she becomes a liability.
What we need to do is to impart physical education in our schools as a compulsory subject and must be given equal weightage at par with other subjects if not more. It will help the students to think out of the box and explore more avenues in life rather than just following the trend of wishing to become Doctors or Engineers.
We can see in the Olympic Games that Pakistan has almost never won gold medals in other fields of Physical activities. If we train our students in Physical education, we might become able to turn the table in our favor at Olympics. It will also improve the country’s image which has become hard over time due to the Afghan Jihad and the terrorist incidents in the country. It will project the image of Pakistan as a soft country where people love sports and humanity.
To encourage the students to participate in such activities, there should be a grading mechanism too based on the performance of candidates. This will help them reduce the pressure of studies and help them boost their confidence. It will also improve the mental health of students. Some students took their failure in study seriously which can lead them to commit suicide. Such suicide incidents have also been reported in the past. To curtail such heart-breaking incidents we need to ensure that our education system provides such a learning environment to students that they do not feel helpless before the system. Therefore we must inculcate physical education in our schools, colleges and universities as a compulsory subject.