Miftah Gets Slammed For Controversial Take On Education

Miftah Gets Slammed For Controversial Take On Education
Former finance minister Dr. Miftah Ismail's proposal of paying parents - instead of schools - to educate their children has been the topic of intense debate online. Miftah said that instead of Pakistan's provincial governments spending nearly a trillion rupees on formal education - but being able to enroll only a quarter children and failing the average child in both mathematics and science - an amount of Rs. 3000 per child per month could be "given to the family to educate their own kids".


As Miftah's proposal went viral, social media users offered a diversity of opinions and points of view. Some were positive:




Many were harsh or mostly unfavourable:







Rooh Gulzari shared a study on a educational voucher program from Chile, which showed that there was no significant improvement in schooling outcomes.



However, according to Asad Ali Shah, the system that Miftah Ismail proposed was already working to a degree in Punjab and Sindh.


Later, Miftah took to Twitter to respond to comments from what he called "many thoughtful people" online.


As some had called it a “neo-liberal” proposal, Miftah clarified that he was not interested in ideology, but was more interested in what worked. "We know that our education system is failing our kids... We are wasting these children’s future and with it our country’s future," Miftah wrote.

Miftah clarified that his scheme was "to give parents vouchers to send their kids to any school of their choice". He explained that as per his proposal, a minimum of Rs. 3000 per child per month could be given, with families having income less than Rs 100,000 qualifying for the vouchers.

"Let them choose the schools for their kids. Give parents the choice. And if they wish to continue in government schools let that be an option as well," Miftah wrote.

Miftah also proposed that accountability of the education system be ensured by a parent-teacher-government committee which should be out in charge of deciding all matters at each government-run school. "In government schools there should be a board composed of government officials, private citizens and parents". He clarified that the government should pay for teacher salaries and other expenses in the government schools. "The government can pay a little more for girls, especially for girls going to secondary schools," Miftah added.

Miftah asked "why are we insisting on a system that doesn’t work, is failing our kids, wastes money and is prone to corruption?" "Let’s leave ideology aside and opt for what works," he concluded.