Fri. Jun 14th, 2024
Darvesh Karim

There is a saying that “It is, the ‘thinking’ of man that grooms ignorance or illumination in a society”. If an individual fosters a sense of feelings, affection, and the universal brotherhood to others in society, then this sense causes peace and prosperity in the social order. If one sows the seeds of grudges, narrow minding, and disunity, then there will be ignorance with the consequence of destruction in society. I heard that at United Nation’s building entrance the following poetry ‘Bani Adam’ by Maulana Rumi in Persian is engraved, which became the motto of the UN:

The inference of this poetry is: “The sons of Adam are limbs of each other, having been created of one essence. When the calamity of time affects one limb, the other limbs cannot remain at rest. If you have no sympathy for the troubles of others, you are unworthy to be called by the name of a Human”. It is also believed that this world is like a human body, while countries and societies are like the different parts of it. If there is pain somewhere in an organ the whole of the body feels pain. To get rid of this pain the patient takes different precautions. He/she uses a prescribed medicine and food. By the virtue of acting upon the instructions of the physician, the patient gets rid of the disease.   Likewise, if there is any disturbance and annoyance in any society this should pain the whole world, as the world has become a global village now. It has been unanimously agreed that the disturbance and disorder in a society are the results of ignorance. The lack of knowledge and information or simply being unaware of important information or facts of the world. The prescription to overcome disturbance and annoyance is educating society.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), also known as the Global Goals, were adopted by the United Nations in 2015 as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that by 2030 all people enjoy peace and prosperity. We all know the fact that to overcome or cure ignorance and poverty, societies need to equip with knowledge, skills, and positive attitudes. This can be done through investing in education and declaring an emergency in the education sector, especially in third world countries. SDGs 4th goal also advocates ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all. However, all the 17 goals of SDGs are interconnected and can be achieved by a deliberate focus on 4th goal, which will be instrumental to reducing/ending poverty & hunger, promoting well-being, gender equality, sustainable management of water & sanitation, access to energy, promote economic growth, build resilient infrastructure, foster innovation and so on. For societies, education is more important because that is the only means through which they will gain knowledge of socio-economic factors, healthy living, how to free the nation from poverty, and inequality and raise women for a better tomorrow.

To promote education and ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities in Gilgit-Baltistan, Aga Khan Development Network’s institutions like Aga Khan Foundation, Aga Khan University and Aga Khan Education Services have been very much instrumental to implement various educational projects in different districts of Gilgit-Baltistan for last many years. AKDN has been designing and implementing a variety of activities to improve female education, community mobilization and social advocacy to bring-in out-of-school children to schools, and to improve student retention and quality of education in marginalized communities through improvement in schools’ physical and learning conditions.

Gilgit-Baltistan is famous for its natural beauty, selfless hospitality, peace, and rich cultural heritage.  It is also known as the cradle of peace and the queen of beauty.  Thousands of domestic and foreign tourists visit Gilgit-Baltistan annually. To preserve and enhance the peace, its natural beauty, and the rich culture of hospitality further, provision and access to quality education is the extreme need of the time in this region. We live in third world countries, which are currently facing corruption, poverty, hunger, poor healthcare, and educational facilities. These are only a few of the problems faced by people in developing countries. Many of these problems are caused by exclusion, fear, intimidation, broken infrastructure, and lack of money, resources, access to information, and tools. I believe that the developed world is well acquainted with this situation of third world countries and they are supporting the countries in need. However, being within limited resources, Gilgit-Baltistan is doing its best in the education sector, and it may become the torchbearer and a landmark to spread the message of peace and prosperity not only in Pakistan but in the whole world. To bring this dream into reality, it needs more attention and support especially in the Education sector by UN agencies and other philanthropic entities of the world to help Gilgit-Baltistan scale the peak of brilliance. Just like a slight patting of a teacher increases the motivation and fondness to learn of a student, a small contribution and support can enhance the motivation to learn and to educate the society of Gilgit-Baltistan which has the potential to emerge as a model society for the developing countries of the world.

By Darvesh Karim

The author is an educationist and working as a Senior Instructor at the Aga Khan Univeristy.

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