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Women Empowerment And Higher Education In Pakistan

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Pakistan is a country faced with a plethora of problems; corruption, a defunct education system, lawlessness, terrorism, abuse of the rights of women, the list is an endless one. However, the issue that I feel needs the most attention is higher education in Pakistan for women.

While the average middle class and lower-class citizen is more than happy to send a son to school and then off to college, it is the girls who must suffer facing various limitations to their education; with their inability to attend college because of out-dated and preconceived notions of parents who acting out of fear refuse to send their daughters to college fearing that foreign ideas will corrupt their minds.

I, however, believe as Napoleon said, “Give me good mothers and I shall give you a good nation”. For women empowerment in this country, they firstly need access to good education as it is only good educated mothers who will stress upon the education of their children, thus starting a chain reaction that shall snowball hopefully into something big enough to create real and meaningful change in the country.

Source: TechJuice

It will also help close the gap between the rich and the poor of this country and the graduation of more students from trade schools as well as universities will mean a better workforce and thus the ability to create better jobs. What I propose is something on the lines of the “Mahathir formula”; Mahathir Muhammad the head of state in Malaysia believed that if he could bring in good teachers; merely a handful of good teachers at the higher education level they would be able to create a dozen students who would then go on to become teachers creating more students and thus literacy would spread like wildfire as the chain continued.

Source: United News Pakistan

My plan is a little more humble and slightly more realistic; what I propose is an online common application system that is a consolidated database of all universities in Pakistan that caters to everyone. At the time of writing, Pakistan has 143 Universities recognized by the higher education commission, out of those only 32 have an online admissions process the rest still require students to stand in long queues, purchase admission application forms, attach their documents and then submit them for consideration.

Source: Public Radio International

While this is a fairly straightforward and easy process for boys it becomes a living nightmare for girls; who are already discouraged from going out of the house, let alone to university and they require a male guardian to go with them to these universities to apply there. An online solution something like the common application system of the United States would mean that girls and boys, as well as transvestites who are a shunned and outcast segment of society, would all be able to join universities and apply to colleges of their choice from the comfort of their homes.

The second solution I propose to the problem is the opening up of good quality virtual universities. Nowadays, virtual universities and degree programs are all the buzzword across the US; every website you visit tends to have an advert for doing an online MBA on it. I propose that alongside a common application system, Pakistan open up more virtual universities with good degree programs that allow students to get certified and dignified graduate degrees from the comfort of their homes.

The University of Arizona Phoenix has done an amazing job in this regard and I believe the opening of such universities in Pakistan, so long as there are proper checks and balances in place to ensure they are not simply handing out degrees but actually teaching their students something, would open up educational opportunities to a huge segment of society who currently has little or no access to higher education in Pakistan.


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