Pakistan is a country of 180 million people, that’s a 100 times the size of Northern Ireland. Unlike Ireland, north and south, its never had the infrastructure or the cultural inclination to prioritise mass education. Only half their kids actually go to school.
But like Ireland, again north and south, there is a high reliance on religious schooling to deliver what education actually exists. As Anwar notes in the introduction to this video:
If you walk down any street in Pakistan, you will probably find it easy to distinguish a madrassa student from an English medium school student. Religious and class differences in Muslim society have raised walls between some communities, eroding communication, tolerance and understanding.
This is part of a new programme the RSA have launched this week called Pakistan Calling. In general, it’s an attempt to set up real conversations between an increasingly prosperous and well educated Pakistani diaspora in the UK and the home country.
As Matthew Taylor notes in the introductory video, British politicians have traditionally had a very instrumental relationship with those communities, essentially engaging only with elders in order to garner votes.
Pakistan Calling is an attempt by Anwar Akhtar, Director of The Samosa and Taylor to build a bridge between that diaspora and the home country by charting some of its real world difficulties. It’s a great idea. Well worth keeping an eye, or maybe evening cons
As you can tell from watching the few videos already up they have some incredible human resources that Akhtar has given much of the last four years
to mapping and developing.
It’s well worth tracking (you can register for updates here), not simply out of direct interest, but it strikes me this may be a project well worth replicating elsewhere too. For more information contact Anwar himself: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty