“Education has always been subjected to political intervention.”
It seems to be a global phenomenon that the politics of a country impacts education. Irrespective of a country's level of development or prosperity, political intervention in the education sector can be observed as a continuous pattern across several countries in the world. It can be a good impact when the state has chosen to invest in education and improve it. But we also see interventions that harm and threaten education, its quality, access, availability, and consequences.
In Pakistan’s context, we see a negative role of the state that can be attributed as the reason for an inferior education system compared to many other countries. SNC (Single National Curriculum) shows the state’s obsession with deciding what to teach and what to not, as has been going on for decades. History has been taught with significant biases, and many aspects and events, like the 1971 partition with Bangladesh, have not been taught in line with the reality of those events. The censorship and limited freedom of academic speech demonstrate the entanglement of education with state interests. Zia ul Haq’s contribution of infusing education with morality and Pakistan Studies and promoting a conservative political ideology is one of the ways politics has influenced education.
Moreover, the state’s inability to provide primary and quality education to everyone in Pakistan despite it being stated in the Constitution as a right has left millions of Pakistanis illiterate, unemployed, depressed, with no good/sustainable means of earning, causing them to opt for illegal/harmful activities. The crime rates would have been much lower if the state had put enough effort into education. The social, economic, and political situation would have been much better. But instead, the way state institutions have been operating has led terrorist organizations to target schools/colleges/universities, students, and teachers. This can be seen in the Karachi university blast in which Chinese teachers were killed or TTP targetting education institutions and actors in different regions of Pakistan. And then there is also the targetting of Pakhtun or Baloch students by a state institution.
These few examples, out of several others, show the deep influence of political/state affairs on education in Pakistan.