The Sindh government is going to have to pay Waqar Zaka for not changing its school syllabi, especially for computer classes. If he gets his way, the price tag will be Rs20 billion.
He is suing the Sindh education department (notably its education ministers, past and present) as well as federal education officials for ignoring his advice and using outdated syllabi.
Zaka, a social worker, TV show host, social media star and engineering graduate, told SAMAA TV that all the education ministers in Sindh from 1997 to 2019 will be sent notices from the Sindh High Court in a case he plans to file against the education system.
Speaking on Naya Din on Thursday, he said he wants the properties of all these ministers to be sold and that money, which he estimates to be around Rs20 billion, to be used to better Pakistan’s education system.
Zaka says he tried to contact incumbent Education Minister Sardar Ali Shah, Federal Secretary for Federal Education and Professional Training Arshad Mirza, Director Sumbal Riaz and Minister for Federal Education and Professional Training Shafqat Mahmood but he didn’t get any response.
“I will file a case against these officials if they still fail to respond and contact me,” he warned. He says they need to work together to reform the education system because students in 10th grade are still learning about floppy disks and the DOS system, something he called “very problematic”.
Zaka has lots of ideas for Sindh’s education system such as including social media education for sixth graders. “It should be made compulsory to learn how to use and generate money through social media, especially Facebook and YouTube,” he said. He says with his 200,000 Snapchat and 133,000 Instagram followers, he makes the big bucks for his posts. He told SAMAA Digital he gets $500 for Snapchat stories and $300 for Instagram stories. Apart from that, he makes $1,500 for Instagram and Facebook posts.
He also wants the study of space technology to be made compulsory for ninth graders.
The social media phenomenon believes young people need to learn how to make money because that’s a key reason why they don’t want to go to school — there’s no money in it for them. “Rote learning culture should stop and marks should be given to students on the basis of how much a student earns through social media,” said Zaka in his proposal. He wants the examination system to be done away with and students to be given marks on their research and development skills.
“The chief justice should take suo motu notice and [Prime Minister] Imran Khan should take action against the faulty education standard of Pakistan.”
The introspection does not end there. In fact, Zaka has been quite reflective of the influence he wields. On May 25, he took to his Facebook account to apologize for “destroying young minds” on Living on the Edge, a 2010 reality show he hosted.
“Roasting was part of the format of Living on the Edge but I also screamed at contestants and called them out on their personal flaws,” he said. He has since embarked on a journey of self-realization and asked God for forgiveness for being “too harsh” with contestants on the show.
He said he apologised for not using his youth fan following to speak up about important issues like education. “I am ashamed of directing youth to pull pranks on people,” he said.
“Still, many brands are approaching me to produce a similar kind of reality show, however, now I have realized with the passage of time that there is no purpose creating such content,” he said, adding that there is no point in doing shows that serve no good for society. He clarified that he didn’t apologise for what he did, but rather for not using his position to encourage good behaviour.
Zaka launched an ambitious movement called ‘Tehreek-i-Tech’ to pay Pakistan’s debts in April. The movement has three aims, the first being to launch Pakistan’s first cryptocurrency, the second to revolutionise madrassas in Pakistan and the last to fix Pakistan Space Programme. As part of this movement, he made some suggestions to the federal science minister, two of which have been adopted.
He said that he is grateful to minister Fawad Chaudhry for acting on his suggestions to launch an Islamic calendar and a mobile payment system. He told SAMAA Digital that he has said he will be providing a mobile payment system called www.tenup.io to Chaudhry’s ministry free of charge.