Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has inaugurated a Danish School in Hasilpur, District Bahawalpur, where he has said that such schools should be opened across the country to end the deprivation of the poor. By bringing the government sector into imparting English-medium education, Punjab has met a longstanding demand of parents, who want to equip their children for the workplace in which they will function, and who have found that while the English-medium schools in the private sector may provide superior education, they do not provide the ideological content that is also desired.Combining the two would be a sure-shot formula, but the intrusion of non-merit considerations, mainly political, into appointments, transfers and postings, has resulted in government schools not providing the desired quality of education. Mian Shahbaz has already declared his commitment to appointing teachers in the schools on merit; if this can be maintained, the Danish schools will produce the results they are expected to. However, if they too are looked on as another source of jobs for the boys they will be converted into mere empty shells.
However, the new schools being set up should not mean a neglect of the old schools. The purpose of public-sector education must be to provide a minimum standard based on expectations of the needs of the future, because if this goal is not met, the public education sector, which has by far the biggest budget of any government department, would be a waste of resources and nothing else. The goal should not be limited to Danish schools, but the uplift and improvement of all other schools as well, both primary and secondary. They have already received stepmotherly treatment all along, and the Danish schools should not become an excuse for more. The Punjab Chief Minister should also devote attention to the technical education sector, and should take steps to highlight its importance, especially in the crowded workplace of tomorrow, when technical skills will be more important than ever – The Nation