So how many of you sat down with your children and listened to Malala’s speech? Yeah she’s the girl who won the Nobel freaking prize.  Why, you ask? Is that, why she won it? Or why should you have listened? Or a little bit of both? Too bad, I am not dignifying that with an explanation. Google it for crying out loud.

Yes, Google is an American company. What are you getting at? Ok, I see it now, Malala is an American agent who was shot by other American agents in the guise of the Taliban (because let’s face it the Taliban cannot be expected to shoot school girls). And now she is being paraded around the world so they can justify the drone attacks and all the other meddling Uncle Sam does in our land. Now that this theory is out in the open, step back and take a look at the land we live in. Take a hard look at the mentality of each and every one of us, look no further than your own family and tell this scribe if we really need outside forces to destroy us. We are doing a darn good job of it ourselves. No help required thank you very much.

My point today is not to straighten out your warped minds and make you look in the mirror. I have given up on that front. The highlight of Malala’s speech was not the fact that she read it with a grace that belied her age. It wasn’t that she talked like a sage as well as a teenager all rolled into one. It was not even the fact that she talked more about the suffering of all rather than what she underwent. And it wasn’t that there was not a single dry eye when she thanked her father for not clipping her wings and letting her soar.

The highlight was the fact that she underlined the importance of education for what it is. Not the ‘basic’ education that we keep throwing at the underpriviledged of this country. We need to educate them thoroughly. Teaching them to sign their name and total the grocery bill is not enough. The quality of education needs to be the same for all. This got one thinking about how lucky city kids are to have the schools that they do. But then are these so called ‘good’ schools educating their ‘customers?’

Forget the underprivileged for a second - well we hardly think about them much anyways. The education given to the children going to private schools in our cities is deplorable. It is a mix of this and that and as a result the kids end up learning a little of everything but nothing completely. There is promise of a well rounded personality but in the end we create confused individuals and unlearned brats. Schools have become playgrounds for elders. The right kind of school allows them invitations to the right kind of morning breakfast dates and brunches. It is a social meeting fest for the mummies who have nothing else to talk about in life other than their latest gadgets and get-ups. The minds of parents are so consumed by commercialism these days that they have no sight of what education really entails. As long as the school ‘claims’ to take their children to the right clubs and immerse them in music and drama they are willing to throw oodles of money in the name of good schooling.

The children are not taught anything  during these ‘extra curricular’ activities. If they promise to teach your child music, they let them beat on drums and the keys of expensive keyboards without adding a dot to their musical knowledge. That is not enlightenment. If they claim to teach your child golf, he/she will get to hold the club and walk around the park a few times a term. That is not training. If your child is said to be ‘swimming’ each week, one would suggest you get a club membership because by the end of the year he/she will still be paddling in the shallow end. As far as the curriculum goes, if you are lucky to have your child in a class with a good teacher that was surprisingly hired, by the school, after proper HR screening, they might learn a thing or two, otherwise please wait patiently for the following year.

We are in an age where ‘who cares what they learn’ as long as saying the school’s name in public gains the envy of your neighbour. Therefore owners of these ‘prestigious’ institutions are taking a back seat to responsibility and without an iota of guilt to pester them they continue to hike the price of education by the quarter. Teachers are hired by the whim of the head of the school. Usually if the teacher is qualified they are lured by the school with the promise to waive their children’s fee in lieu of their services. So basically you are ensnared for life to give your blood and sweat in exchange for your child’s education. Unfortunately your sacrifice is for naught because the school is nothing but a fashionable name and you were hoping to broaden your child’s mind and not your social circle. If you are good to look at, you are in luck because you will be hired for the ‘playgroup’ end of the school in order to attract yuppy parents eager to post pictures of their kids and their attractive teachers on social media sites.

Mediocrity reigns supreme in our neck of the woods so in fifteen years there will be mediocre professionals, running mediocre companies, producing mediocre products. Below par schools produce below par students and no matter how many ‘modules’ you claim to expose children to, you need the right teachers to impart education whether it is pottery or Pak Studies.

Sam has been in the practice of moulding young minds for over seven years. She has written freelance for over ten years about topics she cared about, but mostly those that she couldn't care less for