| ]

Pakistan is a country that has a very diverse education system. Various systems educating the people of Pakistan emerged either due to historical (colonial and indigenous) circumstances or because of a necessity. In the first category we have the private schools which prepare students according to the western education system. These schools are in turn further differentiated on the basis of modernity, economic resources or state sponsorship. Here we have the provincial educational system, the federal educational system, British educational system, Feudal educational system and local private schools which employ western methods of education. On the other hand, we have religious Madrassas as the indigenous educational systems found as thousands in numbers in mostly rural areas of all the four Provinces of Pakistan. In the second category we have the Cadet colleges and military colleges which are mostly state sponsored and emerged because the State felt their necessity. The aim of this paper is to show how this highly diversified educational system contributes towards a ill-integrated political structure. Here we should assume some basic conditions as constant so as to have a good grasp of what we are focusing on. The first assumption is that the diversity in educational system is not the only factor determining the whole political structure because there are many factors contributing to the whole system. Secondly, I will be focusing more on Cadet Colleges with provincial educational system and the British educational system as sources of comparison. Moreover, I will only include the politicians and bureaucracy in the political structure. For this essay I will employ the works of Pierre Bordieau, C.Wright Mills, Tariq Rehman, Bettina Larson,Michael E. Milakovich, Nosheen Alio understand these different institutions and their graduates is to understand how polarized the Pakistani society is, which hampers the social cohesion and the commitment to a unified policy.
‘Nation-building is to be encouraged by suppressing ethnicity through ignoring the hetero-lingual and hetero-cultural nature of Pakistani Society. Islam has been considered to be the unifying factor against both ethnicity and ‘India’. Security paradigm is considered of having the greatest importance and military is glorified and sanctified in the name of Islam and nationalism .Both of these elements are given importance towards nation building in textbooks’ ( Rehman 2004, 215). With the passage of time they proved to be obsolete as government was not providing the necessary funds and guidance. People with higher incomes jumped to private institutions in which British education system was followed while lower income groups remained to benefit from the same government schools.
British education system which is followed not only in Pakistan but also in other developing countries provides education to the students who belong to upper middle or middle class. As an example I have chosen Karachi Grammar School which was established as an Anglo-Indian school in 1847 by the first Mayor of Karachi, Reverend Henry Brereton. It further evolved as time passed through guidance in syllabus and management, from England. Apart from Karachi Grammar many more schools have emerged who prepare local students for the competitive exams which are taken all over the world. Its primary objective was to educate English and Anglo-Indo children. Many politicians and bureaucrats who made their name appear in the history of Pakistan e.g. Benazir Bhutto was educated in this institution. Students who study here get the higher quality education which they use to get better jobs both in the commercial and non-commercial sector (). For more information on the history and future of British education system, Examination Debate Has Turned Full Circle' is a good read. Apart from these schools the state needed some other institutions which could provide officers for the Pakistani Army and bureaucracy (mostly police and foreign Office). For that purpose Cadet Colleges and military colleges were established in Ayub Khan’s regime. They were established in many regions especially where there were cantonments such as Kohat, Hasan Abdal, Petaro and Jehlum. Cadet colleges were funded by military but gradually funds were restricted to very low amounts keeping in view the economic conditions of the Alumni of these Cadet colleges (Interview, 2011). For more information on the history and statistics of education system of Pakistan, ‘Denizens of Alien Worlds: a Survey of Students and Teachers in Pakistan’s Urdu and English Medium Schools and Madrassas’ from ‘the Journal of Contemporary South Asia’ is also a good read.
While heterogeneity have helped many countries to industrialize and develop, Pakistan’s political structure is considered to be failing due to the diversified education system. Academics talk about the reasons behind the failure of the political structure of Pakistan i.e. the four military coups which suspended constitution each time and took control of all the political power. Military is still influencing government policies. The situation in Pakistan in which military holds the upper hand can be seen according to C.Wright Mill’s concept of the ‘Power Elite’. In his book ‘The Power Elite’, he describes his concept of ‘power elites’ as the relationship between the political, military, and economic elite noting that these people share a common world view. These elites in the "big three" institutional orders have an "uneasy" alliance based upon their "community of interests" driven by the "military metaphysic," which has transformed the economy into a 'permanent war economy' (Mills 1956, 234). Moreover, he argues that the military possesses class identity, recognizing itself separate and superior to the rest of society and have interchangeability or ‘horizontal mobility’ - they move within and between the three institutional structures and hold interlocking directorates (Mills 1956, 246). According to him socialization of new members who want to participate in power sharing, is done on the basis of how well they clone themselves socially as these elites. According to Mills these individuals can be categorized as the ‘top social stratum’. They have the same social class backgrounds, they study in similar institutions and they interact heavily with each other in the work context. This common background ensures their unity and exclusivity and the perseverance of their status-quo. Mills observation about military was that it is a sole possessor of power and that the bureaucratic, politic and the commercial elites accept its influence in policy making procedures whether it be the foreign policy or the budget policy (Mills 1956, 260). One thinks of the perpetual failure of the political structure to be substantially connected to education system and to what Mills is arguing about.
The Power elites in Pakistan come from the same economic backgrounds. Since inequality in Pakistan is higher, people on the upper strata go to study in same education institutions such as the ‘Branded’ education institutions. Because they know that if they are educated in these Cadet Colleges or Karachi Grammar Schools they will have better future lives. Also they are able to get the high quality education since they have the ability to pay higher fees for getting that education. This attitude of getting higher quality education leads them to study in same institutions and they interact in their classes to a very high degree. Then they interact again when they are about to graduate to apply for jobs. The senior alumni of the institutions are always ready to help their new graduating colleagues. For instance, Cadet Colleges and Grammar schools have Alumni organizations which guide them to pursue their careers in well organized way and in some cases they help them out ‘practically’. Hence we see that this may also be regarded as a very significant reason behind rent-seeking behavior in both the commercial and non-commercial sectors. Moreover as these alumni are having big posts in government and bureaucracy they provide funds to their alma mater. For example notable alumni of Cadet College Kohat include Minister of finance who visits the campus on every Parent’s Day and announces funds for his college amounting to Tens of millions of rupees (Interview, 2011). The students of Cadet College apply mostly for armed forces and public service competitive exams and because of their good education they mostly get themselves into these services. They interact in the military and Bureaucratic academies with their seniors and there they evolve into different groups. For example Kohatians, Abdalian and Alamgerians who compete with one another in these academies. In one sense they increase competition but on the other hand they are mostly involved in rent seeking. For example, a cadet from Cadet College Kohat was an Academy commander who was protecting his Kohatian junior from punishment. Hence these groupings in return do not take advantage of the training what the academies want to provide them. When these cadets graduate from these academies they get higher ranks. When there is a chance of promotion they approach their higher ranked seniors who prefer them instead of others who may be better than them. For example, the present Deputy Chief of Navy is a Kohatian; hence it is highly probable that he will promote those who are Kohatians. This shows how the power is dishonestly distributed among minority of the members of society which leads to further rent-seeking and the decreasing of people having greater power in their hands. This is how we have a ‘minority elites’ influencing all the policies of the government. These groupings also leads to detrimental effects when the people belonging to these groups approach to higher power echelons such as Inspector General of Police or Chief of the Army Staff etc. Just like how Pervez Musharraf did with the help of his colleagues was successful to dismiss the democratically elected government of Nawaz Sharif in October, 1999.
Compared to the Cadet colleges the students from the provincial education system have no guidance or approach to go forward. Cadet colleges dominate the main stream of power holders in national and provincial Assemblies, in armed forces and bureaucracies. Grammar school students mostly dominate the commercial and industrial arena in the urban cities. On the other hand the students of provincial education system are unable to progress because of low quality education. They simply either stop studying or study in government universities which increase their economic burden. Hence it leads Pakistan to have a very polarized society with a minority of oppressive elites on the top with greater power while poor people who are millions in number are at the bottom of the social strata.
Another detrimental effect of this process can be found in the bureaucratic circle. Bettina Larson and Michael E. Milakovich argued in their ‘Citizen Relationship Management and E-Government’ that in United States people at the higher posts in bureaucracy tend to keep lower ranked officials as consultants who implement the orders of the higher ranked officials. He called these interactions as Linkages or ‘issue Networks’ (Michael, 2005). If we compare our bureaucratic system even we can see that behavior in the historical events in the colonial era where the indigenous landlords used to carry out orders of their colonial masters. But after the partition these linkages cannot be seen because of the rent seeking behavior which prevails because of the different groupings both in the military and political structure. For our convenience we give these linkages between higher ranked officials and lower ranked officials a different name i.e. ‘Forward Linkages’ while the linkages between the lower ranked officials and the common public can be termed as ‘backward linkages’. In the Pakistani case both of these linkages are negligible as we see that even rent seeking can be found to a higher extent in backward linkage procedures. Common public can use their approach to the higher ranked officials to get their jobs done. The absence of these forward and backward linkages also leads to the ill-integration of bureaucracy and the separation of public from power sharing and the inefficient distribution of resources in society. This separation of political forces can also be accounted for the inability of Pakistan to evolve into a democratic nation as Max Weber argued in his book ‘Protestant Work Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism that efficient Bureaucracy is necessary for an evolving democracy (Weber 1902, 153). Peter Evans in his book ‘Embedded Autonomy’ defined ‘Embedded Autonomy’ as the capacity of a country to drive its bureaucracy and private institutions mostly business community hand in hand for policy objectives. He gives the example of Ministry of Industry and Trading of Japan to have that ‘Embedded Autonomy’ which was responsible for its industrialization (Evans 1991, 18). That Embedded Autonomy is almost absent in Pakistan because of which Pakistan in spite of big tariffs is unable to export its products to other countries and hence is unable to industrialize. The rent seeking behavior which stems from the diversity in education system hence leads to greater problems which the state has not been able to address since its inception.
A good way to ensure that the diversity of education helps to improve instead of harming the political structure is to consider the concept of ‘social capital’. Social capital does not have a clear, undisputed meaning, for substantive and ideological reasons. Many Academics have defined it keeping in mind various circumstances. Three definitions seem relevant here. Social capital is about the value of social networks, bonding similar people and bridging between diverse people, with norms of reciprocity or 'a resource that actors derive from specific social structures and then use to pursue their interests; it is created by changes in the relationship among actors'; (Becker 1964, 184). Or ‘it is made up of social obligations ('connections'), which is convertible, in certain conditions, into economic capital and may be institutionalized in the form of a title of nobility' (Bourdieu 1986,64). Becker and Bourdieu both worked on the concept of ‘Social Capital’. Becker in his article ‘Inequality in Social Capital’ described the concept. He argued that we emphasize more on the economic productivity of education while we ignore the social benefits which in turn can benefit not only the individual but also the whole society. ‘We let slip the most important determinant of educational investment namely the domestic transmission of cultural capital. The particular academic ability and talents in every individual are the result of social and time investment in that individual by his family and society’. (Becker 1964, 256). The accumulation of social capital can vary based on the time period, social structure and the social structure and the particular social class in which the individual presides. The same concept has been argued by Bourdieu in his book ‘Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgment of Taste’ as ‘The social and economic yields of academically qualified individuals certainly manifests the family investment not only in economic terms but in the social terms i.e. the transmission and investment of hereditary social capital’.( Bourdieu 1986, 33). If we assess the case of Pakistani students we see that the regular students have the least exposure to society because even though they are extremely exposed to their family they are unable to learn the norms and values needed to enter the power structure. While those students who spend five years of their lives in the boarding houses of Cadet Colleges find the necessary time and exposure to enter the power structure with least effort. This can lead us to conclude that Cadet College students are better equipped with social capital which can reinforce a better political structure. Then why has it not worked in the past? The answer is that when these students enter into bureaucratic system or armed forces they are not guided by the state to a common objective point. Also because the diversity in education is at work here therefore all the students can be very difficultly coerced towards a common productive point. This also helps us to understand that a well educated man not having the necessary ‘social capital’ can prove to be either very detrimental to society by using his agency or will be totally on the mercy of social structure.
            Now one is puzzled when he observes that how most of these diversified actors in the complex social structure end to prevent the society from changing? Or in other worlds how they end to preserve the status quo? This question can be answered by Pierre Burdieau in his article ‘Language and symbolic power. He explained symbolic power or symbolic violence as the self-interested capacity to ensure that the arbitrariness of the social order is either ignored, or posited as natural, thereby justifying the legitimacy of existing social structures ( Bourdieu 1991,86). It is quite possible that the groupings of the Cadet College and Grammar school students may make their members totally selfish and self interested and that they do not think about society. In that case they are preserving what the bureaucracy was doing say, a decade ago even though they may not be consciously acting to preserve the status quo. The symbolic violence concept is extremely against rational choice theory which argues that every agent of the society always acts rationally. For example, a girl when brings her boy friend to her house can make her parents angry. They will make expressions which will indicate to their daughter that what she had done by bringing her boy friend to her home is against the norms of the society. Here in this case her parents are exercising symbolic violence against their daughter to preserve the status quo. Though they are not aware of the hidden perseverance of the status-quo still that they think they should do that if they want their child from bad norms.
            Apart from the classification mentioned in the start of the paper there is another very special case of diversity in educational curriculum which may cause serious disruptions in the society. As Nosheen Ali in her article ‘Outrageous State Sectarianized Citizens: Deconstructing the ‘Textbook Controversy’ in the Northern Areas, Pakistan’ from ‘South Asia Multidisciplinary Academic Journal’ argues about a textbook controversy (2000-2005) that arose when the Pakistan state introduced new, overtly Sunni textbooks in the Northern Areas, and the local Shia population began to agitate for a more balanced curriculum (Ali 2008, 9). The conflict reached an acute stage during 2004-2005, as violent confrontations took place between Shia and Sunni communities, and a constant curfew paralyzed daily life in Gilgit for eleven months. According to Nosheen Ali, the state was making the Shia community to learn from the Islamic Studies books which contained the dogma of Sunni interpretation. Now this event is differentiated from what we were discussing before because it is dangerous in the sense that the education system produces conflict between two communities. This conflict not only prevents students from getting education but also it creates long run problems for both the communities. It should be kept in mind that events like these used to occur frequently but because Shia population is proportionally very less as compared to Sunni population, they didn’t get much notice; but this event got coverage and various academic articles have been written on this event. This is another evidence of how the education system can become important to our social and political structure.
            The works of the authors may be limited in the sense that most of these authors wrote about the concepts like ‘Embedded Autonomy’ and ‘Social capital’ assuming a more complex and developed society with more responsible and developed institutions of western societies. Academics, who have written on the subject of Pakistan and its history, cannot be found in great numbers as a very little work can be found on the subject with these particular assumptions. Their analysis and case studies are very much related to the western societies. Moreover, as Mills have regarded the commercial elites as one of the Power elites, he was assuming the commercial elites of United States. The commercial elites in Pakistan are not so evolved as compared to United States commercial elites who influence most of the policies in their own interest and they also influence the economies and political systems on the international level. Beaurdieu was highly critical of the rational choice theory while we know that in realist terms in most cases people act very rationally and symbolic violence very less observed in normal life.
            The case studies of Cadet Colleges, Grammar Schools and Provincial government system were seen very useful in trying to answer the question of how the diversity of education system in Post-Independence Pakistan has been responsible for the ill-integrated political structure. Pakistani political structure is not necessarily solely determined by the education system, but it is true that because the structure consists of groupings from different local institutions and various highly educated people who reinforce an ill-integrated political structure. This systemic fragmentation can also be seen in armed forces, police and bureaucracy and assemblies. This in turn, influences the power and resource distribution which increases the chances of rent seeking and corruption. The students from lower strata continue to study in the same circle and we see that they either end up in a non commissioned carrier or go abroad and work for foreign governments where their greater numbers manifest that they have fled their country because of the constant progress of the alumni of Cadet Colleges or Grammar Schools.  
Written By: Asif Bahadur ( LUMS )

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...