The value of western universities

Pakistan is the land of many languages; Urdu, Punjabi, balochi, sindhi, Bengali and pushtoo. We have hardly stated the list. Many of them have no great literature except some old romances and meditative works, and some have a limited vocabulary. Urdu, Bengali are the languages which are universally agreed to be the most suitable for all Pakistan but careful preparation, translation and original works in Urdu and Bengali are necessary before they can be adopted as the medium of instruction for university education. English is a foreign tongue, say some, but at the time it is an international language spoken widely over half the world. So it is easily the best second language for Pakistan and has served to bridge the gap and unite the people until such time as the vernaculars may be fit for university teaching. They can come, in certain subjects lay history and mathematics very soon. Modern science and especially subjects like medicine, engineering must be taught in English for a considerable time. It is rewarding to note that adoption of Urdu for these subjects is being seriously considered.

Since English is a foreign tongue and only our second language, it follows that young men and women joining the universities for the first time, have not a complete knowledge of English. That means that their progress is expected or inevitable slowed down and restricted. So the standard of instruction in science, mathematics, economics and all the main subjects is not as high as it would be if the students were all fluent English speakers. Thus a pass degree even an honors degree of Pakistani Universities is still something behind the efficiency and high standards of European and American degrees. It is desirable for our best students to complete their education when possible by a course in one of the universities of the west.

Many have done so with credit and honor. The names of Pakistanis are inscribed on the rolls of those who have gained distinction in Oxford, Cambridge, London and Edinburgh Universities. They returned to prove the value of their training by great service. In future this may be no longer necessary but that time is not yet. Moreover university education is not only a matter of subjects studied and degrees successfully obtained. There is the great and mind broadening influence of foreign travel the rubbing of shoulders with students from all over the world, the gift of beginning to understand what others think of us and why. We can see the best of western institutions select from them what will benefit us and reject what is suitable. There is something in the mature environment of Oxford which influences the character and moulds the personality of its students. They are as it were, being shaped by the past teachers and students of the last thousand years. Emphatically to have a period in a western university is a great crown to a liberal education.

By Rehana khan(111/10)


Leave a Reply