We frequently lament the precarious condition of educational institutes in Pakistan, be it commercialism, lack of checks and controls or dearth of trained resources. So the natural and logical move for many, who aspire for excellence in academics and whose income also supports their dreams, is usually to pursue their ambitions in the USA.
It all began, when I stumbled across a write-up about modern America’s present educational system, the ills plaguing it and the crumbling family unit in the backdrop of it all.
That write-up emphasized the significance of practicing the correct principles today in the American society. To change inside-out: initiating change by changing self, rather than trying to change others. Why? This is because times have changed dramatically. In the past, it was easier to raise a successful family outside-in, because society was an ally, a resource. People were surrounded by role-models, examples and mass media messages. Family-friendly laws and support systems helped sustain marriages and consequently created strong families.
Even when a family was facing troubles, there was still this supreme reinforcement of the whole idea of successful marriage and family life. Thus, you could essentially raise your family outside-in: influenced more by external surroundings than internal commitments. You were simply going with the tide that was backed by the values around you.
Today, in America, the stream has changed beyond expectations. The popular notion is family-fatal. The trends in the wider society over the past fifty to thirty years have shifted from pro-family to anti-family.
To understand the gravity of the situation, let’s take a look at the top disciplinary problems, according to public school teachers in America:
|Problems in 1940||Problems in 1990|
|Talking out of turn||Drug abuse|
|Chewing gum||Alcohol abuse|
|Running in the halls||Suicide|
|Cutting in line||Rape|
|Dress code infractions||Robbery|
How the situation for American families has altered powerfully over the past thirty years:
- Illegitimate birth rates have increased more than 400%.
- The percentage of families headed by single parents has more than tripled.
- The divorce rate has more than doubled.
- Teenage suicide rate has increased more than 300%.
- SAT scores among all students have dropped by 73 points.
- Four million women are beaten each year by their partners.
- ¼ of all adolescents contract a sexually transmitted disease, before they graduate from high school.
Sadly, one can clearly see that the age of innocence has long departed. My earnest plea to all parents in light of this rude awakening is that before you pack your kids off to the promised land for higher education, please think deeply what is at stake. If, today, an average school in America faces such serious behavioural challenges, one can only presume that universities must be providing a more liberal ground for further moral degradation. Academic achievements are not up for discussion here.
A career minus a character is just not worth anything. And if your character is what is in jeopardy, then your whole self-esteem is in danger. The grass used to be greener on the other side once. Now, it is famine stricken.
Great thinkers and counsellors are helping America re-discover the family values and basic human goodness by teaching them what has been revealed to Muslims 1400 years ago. How blessed we are to have the Quran in our hands. All we need to do is place it in our hearts. Then, Insha’Allah, maybe one day we can invite the Americans to learn from us and salvage their future generations, too.