Black smoke billows from where sit the students

in their lines, row upon row, machines in a system

Invigilators mask their rudeness with prudence

An Overseer roams about; a face void of wisdom

“You! Don’t look around and keep to yourself!

A shout echoes gooseflesh across a dozen skins

A man in the corner stacks papers in a shelf

Another man notes the sinners and their sins

A child faints of heat, another dies of defeat

A child cries a bleat, another gets up to fleet

They will realize they are not clogs but human beings

Not trapped prisoners; observers reporting their seeings

~

Pakistan’s education system, excluding those pish posh ~fancay~ schools, is a laughable affair where teachers are child beaters and students are the bullied as well as the bullies. Where money inks the pen that signs the diplomas, where chauvinism gears in favor of the timid acting and not the actually timid.

I’ve been through school, college, and now through a university, and its the same account everywhere: violence–as in physical and mental, and done by the teachers! racism–the elders in charge of imparting knowledge resorting to dimwitted humor to lighten the mood of a room. Extortion–give me money and I’ll pass you in the exam you’re sitting in. 490,000 rupees and the answer key to the upcoming MCAT is yours, I shit you not. Sexism–male teachers flirting with women and currying favors to those who flirt back and disdainfully rejecting those who don’t. Sex. Sex in abandoned rooms. There was a chemistry teacher in my 10th grade who used to sneak off with a couple of kids from my class behind the canteen to smoke weed. He’d smell dank for the 40 minutes of class and so’d the other students who accompanied him.

Invigilators and university/college/school peons are conceited assholes who see everyone, other than those who put them there, beneath them and politeness is a term alien to them. They get beaten up after school by masked men who’re actually students they misbehaved with. Serves them right?

My personal account: I once literally left an entire final examination paper blank in one of the summer semester classes that I took last year. No answer. No nothing. I passed with a C+. Why? Because the teacher wanted a favor from me and he passed me first so he may ask me the favor later. I declined, though. You are not graded based on your actual effort, or lack thereof, unless its the O’levels, the A’levels, the American High School diplomas (but only 1-10% of the total students in the country get to do the aforementioned degrees; maybe a little less than that, maybe a little more, I don’t have an exact number). The local examinations, the Matriculation, the Intermediate Exams, the local government Universities… they’re another story entirely. And a fucked up one.

Where go the ones who crave education for its sake? Where go the ones who want to learn for learning’s delight? Do they trudge through the sludge of the monotonous and shambled education system that’s handed to them? Or do they quit or seek a new way? I don’t know. I’ve been trudging, though. 16 years of it. 16 years! *Cries in Sirius Black’s maniacal tone*.

Pardon the flimsy attempt at poetry– I’m unschooled and unlearned in literature other than what I read and taught myself or what my mother imparted to me. I was just trying to get across the message. I hope I’ve done that.

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