Educational reforms are a significant reference point in the educational history of Pakistan in terms of their scale, the amount of money invested in them, the order of their urgency and their official/political ownership.
The reforms are also important as their need was felt by the donor country (the US), and the contours of the implementation process were drawn up by consultants who came as part of the grant package.
Before we look at the politics of these educational reforms we need to understand that historically dominant groups have always used terms like ‘reforms’, ‘development’, ‘civilisation’, ‘emancipation’, and ‘peace’ for their hegemonic purpose. Many imperialist powers annexed other countries ostensibly to civilise them, to develop them, to liberate their people, and to bring peace to the colonies.
The important point to note here is that hegemonic powers first turn development into ‘undevelopment’ and then offer reforms for their own version of development. For instance, when the British came to India the country was doing fine economically. Michael Parenti in Against Empire writes, “In 1810, India was exporting more textiles to England than England was exporting to India. By 1830, the trade flow was reversed. The British had put up prohibitive tariff barriers to shut out Indian finished goods and were dumping their commodities in India, a practice backed by British gunboats and military force. Within a matter of years, the great textile centres of Dacca and Madras were turned into ghost towns.”
This rather long quote refers to a typical pattern of hegemonic designs of development, ‘undevelopment’ and one’s own version of development. In India, after turning development into ‘undevelopment’, the British claimed to bring development through the construction of roads, railway tracks, buildings etc.
This view of development is purely physical. This interesting pattern is also shared by military governments. It is claimed that most...
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