by Shah N. Khan
When we talk about modernizing education we look towards West
where serious thinkers themselves are not satisfied with their own
methods and are constantly looking for improvements. Generally
people in the West educate their children as they build their houses, according to some plan they think beautiful, according to their own cultural values and background which may not be considered suitable for our children except in the advanced studies of science and technology. Problems in Pakistan are different: Nearly 50% of boys and 70% of girls do not go to schools even though education has been made free.
1. We have several types of educational systems from Madarssahs to British courses. Syllabus in different provinces differ vastly.
2. There is general impression out side Pakistan that 'madarsahs' brainwash children to become jihadis and militants.
There have been some bad fish but overwhelming majority of such madaris are doing a great social service. Let us hope that this
misunderstanding and bad fish are removed.
4. Pathetic condition of Government schools which are ill equipped. Many teachers at village schools do not show regular attendance. That forces middle class and affluent people to send their children to private schools who charge exorbitant fee and good education is thus becoming out of reach of middle class. Thus society is being fragmented with class discrimination. In most Western countries 99% children to go to the same public schools.
National and Provincial Educational Budget must be at least tripled.
|5. Copy culture is rampant and attempt to stop cheating at
examinations must continue and efforts redoubled.
6. Corruption in Educational institutions and issue of fake degrees must be punished more severely.
7. Syllabus for different schools in different provinces need to be
standardized and greater attention on Teachers Training must be given.
10. A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.
But it is so distressing to find that corruption and copy-culture has crept in many educational instituitions in Sind as well as other remote areas. In interior Sind hate and prjudices are damaging not only the national unity but also standard of education. I find many first class MA and MBA are not able to write correct English and fail miserably in test or interviews for jobs in good commercial concerns.
11. Some time ago daily Dawn had editorially commented: "The news that the Higher Education Commission has recruited 67 foreign-based teachers - mostly overseas Pakistanis - and inducted them in some local universities is welcome. It is expected that those hired will help in raising teaching standards in our universities.
12. Equally important, if not more, is the need for reforms in teaching methods and standards at primary and school level. Government schools are so poorly maintained that one feels ashamed. Meager budget allocations for education hampers social development,
13. Poor standards of instruction have been one of the major complaints from students in recent times. Some students say that the mode of instruction is outdated and needs to be changed along with the curricula in a number of disciplines.
14. There are also complaints from students who go abroad for higher studies that they find it difficult to cope with the level of studies at foreign universities. These are areas where the newly inducted teachers could make a vital contribution.
16. An important aspect of the induction of foreign academics would be the interaction between them and the students and teachers in Pakistan. That should prove helpful in bringing new ideas and approaches at the level of higher education. It would also raise the level of academic discourse at our universities which is lacking at the moment.
17. Despite its obvious advantages, there are some factors that the government would have to take into account to make this scheme a success. For one, the HEC should ensure that academics of equivalent qualification, whether working in Pakistan or abroad, should be offered similar remuneration packages.
18. Also, the mode of selection of these academics needs to be impartial and transparent. This would make the best and the brightest of them to want to come to Pakistan. The government should also be aware of the resentment the arrival of foreign teachers may generate amongst local academics.
19. This issue needs to be tactfully handled for the program to be successful. Finally, this scheme should be part of a larger program to address the problem of the decline in the standards and quality of higher education in Pakistan. Or else the program would be of limited worth. "
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