BOOTS OVER BOOKS: 4 REASONS WHY MILITARY EXPENDITURE SURPASSES MONETARY SPENDING ON EDUCATION
In many countries like Pakistan, military spending takes a huge chunk of the national budget that hampers social development like education in the country. Given that Pakistan has been in a state of conflict since its inception, we might look at 4 reasons why military expenditure continues to surpass the money spent on the development of the educational sector.
1. Perceived Enemy
Pakistan and India have had 4 wars since the colonial rule in the region that has helped spin a web around the idea of an enemy. Countries that share the same language, food, culture & history have been made to believe that the other is a definite enemy ready to attack.
2. The Might of the Military
It is no secret that the military has a pivotal role in the politics of Pakistan. The vacuum that existed in the early 1950s has enabled the institution to control the major stakeholders including the public, judiciary & government. A country that has been under military rule for half of its lifetime, it should not come off as a surprise that it continues to dominate the national decisions both within and outside its domain.
Even today, many allotted spaces for government schools are home to millions of livestock since feudal landowners have used their political power to capture such land. Thus, the concept of “ghost schools” is prevalent mostly in rural centers across Pakistan. Moreover, many individuals are listed as government teachers in national records and illegally receive money as pensions/salaries.
4. Not in their Interest
Even today Pakistan’s literacy rate is around 60% which means a big chunk of the population is deemed it's basic right. Considering dynasty politics is still intact, it is not in the political interest of major political players that the nation receives education. A literate nation is aware of its rights with an analytical ability to ask questions which might prove to be a menace to those in power.
With all these factors that hamper social development in the form of education, there is a continuous battle to fight those in power. The best minds of the country have indeed been exported, but there is still a lot of potential amongst the exuberant youth that wants a change. The future is uncertain but baby steps might help 30 crores Pakistanis understand that despite the country being a failed state, one institution and a couple of families continue to grow in power.