Monitoring system in education

The provincial government of the PTI has introduced a ‘Monitoring system’ in the education department. This term was known to us as early as when we were in class one. An active, brilliant student of good physique amongst the students of a class used to be class monitor with power to control class discipline in the absence of the teacher and assist him in collection of fines, keeping sherclassroom’s requirements in order and playing as a channel of communication between the teacher and the taught etc. Classmates respected and obeyed their monitor except for some mischief. Thus the monitor of a class played an important role in teaching and learning process and training of our future leadership. However, with the introduction of the monitoring work of schoolteachers, the teachers became subject to some kind of ridicule as ‘youngsters of schools’. The most undesirable action of the government which badly affected the self-respect and ego of our honest senior teachers was the induction of young graduates with no experience in the monitoring team. This step of the education department discouraged the hard-working, honest and dutiful senior teachers. However, this poor community of teachers could not resist or at least express their disapproval of this action and sheepishly followed the orders with aching hearts and humiliation. Here, I do not mean to challenge the competency of the monitoring teams as their selection has been done through the Public Service Commission, KPK. But the golden statement of the famous historian and educationist, Ibn-e-Khaldoon: “Knowledge is treasure but experience is the key to it,” can’t be rejected either. Degree and theoretical knowledge is nothing more than a treasure with no key to open the door. For the time being, the effect of this new experiment is seen in the regularities of teaching staff who otherwise remained absent for months. This kind of discipline is called ‘negative discipline’ and is not long-lasting. Now, we are to see how the degraded and deteriorated standard of education is improved. We are to wait and see the holding of the SSC exams and their results (subject to fair conduct in the exam halls). This kind of experiments with zero result has been common in our education department. Our policymakers have been shortsighted, only attending to minor things/issues, while speculating evolutionary changes. Like changing and rechanging the nomenclatures of the department’s officers and teachers, bifurcating primary and secondary departments and then merging them again, dividing teaching and administration cadres, etc. These exercises have brought no change after wasting time and money. During the MMA government in the erstwhile NWFP, the education department decided to bifurcate the teaching and administration groups. The document laid down new conditions for administration group or cadre i.e. appearing of the already commission passed officer before the Provincial Service Commission for the posts of Eros, DEDOs, ADOS, etc. This decision of the department was opposed by the Senior Staff Association and finally the then chief secretary conceded to the arguments of the representatives of the association and withdrew the decision (this scribe was representing the district of Mardan at that time). After the retirement of some senior officers of the department, the ANP government enforced the pending decision and there was no one to oppose it. As such, young, inexperienced officers took over the education administration, directing their seniors. Do we see any positive result of this experiment of the government? The answer is a big NO. These unfounded actions thickened the clouds of mistrust over the respectable teachers, headmasters and principals who had given their whole life to this field. Every new step of the government adds to the notion that they have no confidence in the teachers and no regard for their profession. Ceasing of confidence amongst the stakeholders of an organization is a very dangerous situation and it can lead to a disaster, ultimately. We have failed to address the fundamental issues curbing our efforts in improving the educational standard. All the aids and assistance of the UNO and other foreign agencies have been wasted by the incompetent favorites of our political parties, acting as policy makers. We have been trying to erect strong durable buildings upon poor and defective foundations. We are attempting to grow healthy plants out of unhealthy nursery siblings, nurtured by a gardener with little knowledge of gardening. The Foundation Stone of education of an individual is laid from age group IV to X in a primary school, and a Primary School is the very nursery where we develop  our children for secondary , higher secondary and university education. This is the period of molding, shaping and designing of an individual’s personality, character, habits, skills and future career. The most important segment of human society is its children and therefore, a child is considered to be the central figure in the teaching and learning process. The grading of importance should be not from top to bottom, rather from minors to the grown up youth. If proper educational facilities are provided at primary level, I bet that no other measure shall be required to raise the standard and literacy rate in our country. At present we have two class rooms, at most, and two teachers for six classes in primary schools. Our criterion is one teacher for 40 students. Can a teacher give individual attention to each student when he is compelled to teach three classes at the same period of 30-35 minutes, seated in a single room? We should not expect proper education and training of the students at this early stage, without having an experienced and learned tutor present all the time for individual guidance and help, in a spacious and comfortable class room to experiment and learn.  Unless we address this basic issue, we should not be optimistic of improvement through experiments like monitoring, etc.]]>

5 Replies to “Monitoring system in education”

  1. With all due respect to Mr. Aseer’s views, I solemnly disagree with his very idea about the Independent Monitoring Unit. The purpose of monitoring and evaluation is not to tell teachers about how to teach, it is rather of administrative nature keeping check and balance on their attendance in the schools. On the terms of references (ToRs) and standard operating procedures (SoP) of monitors, they collect, physically verify and send immediately data on the attendance of teachers, enrolment/dropout rate of students, needs and deficiencies of teachers and other school paraphernalia etc. Here, it is being difficult to identify the nature of humiliation teachers’ face, if their attendance is monitored. The positive outcomes of this program, which started in Punjab in 2003, are also very well known. A clear drop in the absenteeism of the teachers was witnessed followed by the fall in the absenteeism rate among the students. As a society with low literacy and education standards, we should appreciate such efforts that contribute in the improvement of education standards, instead of criticizing them.

  2. I fully agree with Sir Aseer and many of my friends also are of the opinion that monitoring teachers is an insult with the noble community of teachers especially when the monitors have no track record of education. they can be best regarded as parallel employees inducted by the govt to harass the teachers on political grounds. if not what changes have been made after the monitoring system. the faults mentioned by some of the commentators are still there and I feel no difference in the education system after the coming of the monitors except a sense of let-down by the teachers.

  3. Mr Aseer nice write up, but i beg to differ with your views. I know many teachers from Yarkhun valley who are staying in Karachi or working with NGOs while hiring other youngsters as their replacements to fill in the blanks. Others are fond of hashish and addicted to Opium, point is, we should be wary of the black sheeps in the education sector. There are others who are part and parcel of political parties and are found in every other corner meetings of the poltical parties. You might be knowing much about the educational system but you should be careful of the criticism of the policies. Most of the educational reforms have been very useful and there may be flaws but we cannot altogether reject the reforms.

  4. It is quite surprising to see such a comment from an educationist like Mr Aseer. In a sense he has discouraged the youngsters who have come by qualifying the provincial management service. The mindset which is gives experience a priority to education needs to be changed rather eradicated. let us suppose if only an experienced man and woman can manage things then the young commissioned officers should be replaced with a fifty years old subidar, a young SP who comes after qualifying the competitive exam of central superior service should work under a corrupt SHO, Thanedar, etc. A fresh MBBS doctors should work under a thirty years old compounder and the fifty years old midwives should replace the nurses in hospitals. Knowledge is knowledge no matter how young you are. The days are gone when a teacher holding a big ‘hinju or shatelik baan (stick) at his hand controlling the students. Though I am an independent man and have nothing to do with IMU, yet I take strong exception to whatever you have said about the monitoring unit which has tighten the noose around “malang teachers’ who have a track record of doing their own by ignoring their official duty. The education department is full of black sheeps which can only be reined in by these young boys like Tariq Mehmood and others as some big names in the past have failed to ensure their attendance as some of them take refuge under the platform of religious political parties while other giving priority to prayers than taking class. I am sure you will recall of dealing with such ‘kaam chor’ teachers during your stay at Drosh and as district education officer Chitral. Stay blessed, sir!

  5. Introduction of young monitors to oversee the educational department is by no means an insult or disrespect, whatsoever to the honest senior teachers. It is rather an endeavor to do do away with the unquestioned, unchecked habit of regular and prolonged absenteeism on part of the dishonest teachers. it does not aim at belittling the stature or traditional respect of the teachers, rather it is an attempt to trace out those black sheep in their rank- who have been tarnishing this noble profession. there is no blinking the fact that our teachers do not adhere to the principles which they used to few decades back. late arrivals, early departures, absenteeism and proxies have become the orders of the day. School duty has come down in their priority lists. Respected teachers do not hesitate to stay at home for petty domestic issues. Some of them have only considered it their leisurely activity, they always remain in search of one excuse or the other to remain absent from school.
    In this scenario the apathy, inactivity or lethargy of the DEOs, DDEOs, SDEOs and ADEOs adds fuel to the fire devouring our educational system. These officers never fulfill their duties, they even do not reach out at every school once in their whole tenure. they never bother to negotiate with the rugged mountanious terrains of chitral and such other districts of it’s like. What can they do is sit in a school and make the teachers collect all the lock-books from the surrounding schools and jot down their comments as if they have actually been to all those schools. Through this malpractice they get away with their TA/DAs. This corrupt practice makes the teachers fearless of any check and balance, thus enabling them play with our future at their whims. With this background in mind the introduction of young and agile monitors should be considered a blessing in disguise. These monitors go to every nook and corner of the district. they have ensured punctuality across the board in the province. it is only due to their restless strive that we can find a regular teacher as far away as in boroghel, Neuk and several other far flung areas. Secondly these young monitors report what they see, they never fabricate things, never fall prey to petty affiliations. There is no doubt that our primary education is in dire need of class-rooms and additional teachers, but it is also a reality that our meager economy ca not afford much spending as to build five to six rooms for each primary school across the province at one go. things of similar nature are said to be in the pipeline. This type of criticism is synonymous to an insult to the sacrifices of our young monitors which they are rendering selflessly for the betterment of education. it is further feared that such unfounded censures might not lessen their resolve, and force them to go corrupt with the threadbare old system. It is also a reality that all those honest and punctual teachers-who are teachers in the truest sense are very much happy with these minitors. I myself have heard a good applause from all those honest teachers in favour of these young monitors. Our intellectuals need to be careful in their criticism, lest it could play a havoc in shattering the hopes of these young aspirants of educational reforms. Their misbehaviour should be condemned and pointed out, but mere criticism for criticism is never just. there is no point in criticising them for their age nor their experience for they are only data collectors, not policy makers that hey should be a lot experienced.

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