Self reliance or western reliance?

By Ihtisham Ur Rehman

As a former colonized nation, we are so much dependent on foreign textbooks, teachers, experts and trainings that we feel ashamed of local languages, experts, textbooks and trainers.

While having my term paper on post-colonialism, I came across a research essay by Phillip. G. Altbach, ‘Education and Neocolonialism’ where he argues that although colonialism has ended but it is quite open and obvious, such as the distribution of foreign texts and experts in the schools of a developing country. It is, however, generally more subtle and includes the use of foreign technical advisors on the policy of administrative models and curricular patterns. They rely on foreign teachers in their colleges and schools who inculcate foreign/Western values in children.

While thinking about it, some questions arise in my mind. Some of them include: 1. Do we really rely on foreign experts and their services? 2. Are the locals capable of doing something productive or not? 3. Do the foreigners inculcate foreign/western values among the students? 4. Do these foreign experts, as they claim to be, produce experts in different fields who inherit those traits and credentials which these foreigners posses?

In the first place, according to my humble opinion, we don’t need foreign services, though we need foreign textbooks. Let’s take Chitral as an area of analysis.

We have two major schools in Chitral – The Langland School and College and the Aga Khan Higher Secondary School. The former established by a foreigner, Mr. Langlands and the latter by the self-help of the locals using the funds allocated by AKDN.

When we compare the achievements of both the schools, we see the Aga Khan Higher Secondary School has achieved much more than The Langlands School and College in terms of medical seats, engineering, foreign alumni and other programs, etc. To the second question, ‘yes’ the locals are capable of doing anything.

The Aga Khan Higher Secondary School is a community-based school and hasn’t been in any problem till its establishment. While being a foreign funded school, The Langlands School and College has been in constant problems and controversies for the last decade. Why? The establishment and the survival (in positive way) depend on the head of an institution. And having a local as well as an honest head is a luxury and has its own positive ends. And besides all this, the locals can understand their problems better than a foreigner.

When Ms. Carey Schofield took over the office as the principal of The Langlands School, she was very optimistic and positive in making the school a perfect one. She increased the salaries of the teachers (on the expanse of increase in the school fee) and promised a reliable future in the form of proper education to the students. So she hired foreign teachers as well to teach in the school. These teachers, according to sources, were all below 25 years and had completed their schools recently in European academies. Two of them were teenagers.

They came here to teach! But what? English language! But none of them was teachers of English language or literature. Teaching English as a language is a different approach while being a native speaker is a different thing. The native speakers who have full command over English when the pursue English Language Teaching (ELT) or Teaching of English as Foreign Language (TEFL), they spend years to accomplish the field of language teaching. But does it make sense recruiting ‘tender and delicate’ students of different disciplines to teach English in Pakistan? Same is the case with Carey Schofield. Wikipedia gives a brief introduction of Ms. Carey, which is: “Carey Schofield, British newspaper correspondent and military writer, author of Inside the Soviet Army and The Russian Elite, and current head of Langland’s School and College in northern Pakistan.” It doesn’t mention that she is an educationist though a writer or an expert on war, and being writer and an expert on war is quite different thing than being an expert of education.

To the third question, Philip. G Altbach in his essay claims that ‘yes they do inculcate foreign values’. Chitral is full with local folklores and they are as powerful and inspirational as the western literature or folklores. Last year, in the school they performed a play, named, Peter Pan, by J.M. Barrie, in spite of the handiness of Chitrali folklores. It can be claimed that the purpose of performing an English play might be the improvement of English language. But, can English language be improved by performing an English play?

According to the process of language acquisition the natural process of acquiring a second language is Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing. But we can’t surely say that while performing a play this process can be followed. Because the main focus, while performing a play, is the performance. But when we compare Aga Khan Higher Secondary School with The Langlands School and College we can see a clear difference.

They try to inculcate local values and traditions among the students. So far, as language, both spoken and written, is concerned the students of former mentioned school is much better than those of the later one. The interesting and humorous as well as serious part of that play was that it was performed before an audience who don’t understand English language at all. Grasping the theme and the message of the play is far beyond expectations. Because majority of the mothers were illiterate and those who were literate they can hardly understand English at all. So far as the production of leaders is concerned, the locals have produced more leaders as compared to foreigners. Langland spent decades in Chitral as the principal of the school, but when he left there wasn’t anyone to run the school.

Then he hired Ms. Carey as the principal, but after two years of her career her visa was not extended, so she couldn’t come. Now the teachers are craving for her return (for personal benefits) but they look divided in the struggle. To suffice it we can say that, if Langland or Carey had been sincere and potential to give in return they would have produced people like themselves who can run the school. But unfortunately, they couldn’t. Now the teachers (residues) are fighting for the control of the school on the expanse of the future of our Children. While the administration of Aga Khan Higher Secondary School can be seen ready for any worse situation. The principal or any administrative of the institution tries his/her best to inculcate leadership qualities in their subordinates, who whenever needed can fill their vacant situations, whether it be the post of principal, teacher, or any kind of administrative position.

7 Replies to “Self reliance or western reliance?”

  1. What a pity! We the chitralis are so shameless people that today we see our children at high posts and smile with pride ..but made all our efforts to push back the teachers who made it possible… If Abdul wali advocate proceeds to swat to defend the case against those who made his son PMS officer..then he had no right to be called a custodian of law ..those teachers were not corrupt ..the pay package was no more than 30000 at that time…what was there to eat ..eating agents are eating it now with pay packages in lakhs…!!!!the old teachers are struggling for their struggle of survival and the golden tongued admirers are making it harder for them…who cares for them ! No one ! The whole society has turned purple for them…!DrGulzar sneers ,chuckles,laughs and celebrate his victory with Carey ! He had no financial problems! His villa stands magneficiently at the river side ,money waves flow each day like torrents of prosperity .he has no problems! Why should he care for those whose life has turned pathetic and helpless…!!!At least he must remember to have some guts to see at others with sympathy… If one can not be a part of solution one must not be among those who create problems….

  2. What a cheap and dirty modus operendi the immature and novice writer has opted for to advertise AKHS by trying to marginalize the Langlands School and College.It is yet another attempt to turnish the image of TLSC.I am pretty sure that even AKHS management would be appalled at such a trash produced by the writer as these sort of attempts tend to create the impression that AKHS administration has become obsessed(fearful) with the growing popularity of TLSC.As recently many a teachers have left AKHS and joined TLSC and in the recent past it used to be the other way round; all this has got the balance tilted in favour of TLSC.These recent developments clearly show and imply that TLSC is on the mend rather galloping on the right brass and in the right direction thanks to the efforts of incumbent management.I would like to make it clear that I am not at all trying to lower the role and services of AKHS.Its role is equally important as that of TLSC.Both institutions are the real asset and guarantor of a very bright future of our young generation.Healthy competition is good but a juxtapositional analysis at the expense of each other may prove to be futile for both the institutions and whoever does so ,will only do a disservice.

  3. The author has pointed out a major flaw with our current education system. He is right the teachers of the school against whom alot had already been written still busy in pretending as they are ready to die for the cause of education in Chitral. In fact they die for lucrative package the foreign lady is offering to them. Now she has also announced an insurance policy for the employees.
    As pointed out through this platform, the foreign principal is working on the dictate of some opportunists especially.
    The land of the school has been made controversial by handing it over to a society against which the District Council passed a unanimous resolution demanding that it should be registered in the name of government and not some individuals.

  4. Langland Schools System serving Chitral from decades and has been productive.
    it,s admitted that all of it’s student after completing their education serving chitral in different area and attained great situations in chitral. we cannot under estimate and criticize the services and production of Langland Schools System because it has played exigent role to educate chitral. Yes! AKHSS is also a big institution but any of it’s student is not involved in professional practice in chitral , all students are in the field of education because AKHSS has started schools system too late than Langland. It’s too early to decide.

  5. very poor writing, lacks comparison. AKESP is a big and international organisation ,has a proper system but Langlands is a schools system runned by Langlands for 24 years. As he reached the old age, the corrupts, dishonest started to eat whatever remaining there. It remained a moth-eaten building only , when She came to run it. Now she has worked on it, and improving it.
    It is pathetic that a writer also became part of the mechanization of the people who play their game and politic on this school. Now they used you for this purpose, but you are also part of the party after all.
    You party and group have made a very bad image of yourself in Chitral, everyone now knows who are doing and why doing these games, and exploiting this school. You few people are responsible playing politics with an educational institution, and playing with the future of thousands of children.
    Everyone knows where this reaction start, actually it starts from an article, the schemer to change the tone of the article reaction, making this institution political like his poor political image in society. It will not give him , but makes his image to become weak more. We know who how reached this party man writer to write this article criticizing this school, and point his scores.
    Please atleast dont play politics on institutions, if you are controversial by your works learn know why you are, because of your schemetic deeds.

  6. We are having pathetic condition in the school…! No doubt there are people who can manage the affairs there..but the greedy teachers , the Up hotel owners and parents especially those whose children are there on scholarships they made all their possible efforts to bring her back..and when she came back entered the fold again to face the torrents of her harsh and cruel torrents!

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