Farman Ajab (retired principal, education officer)
According to our holy Prophet (peace be upon him), “Seeking of knowledge is obligatory for every Muslim.” This Hadith does not limit gender, age, time, race, language and color but emphasizes everyone to receive knowledge. It is rightly said that only education is a powerful instrument in the world that can change the destiny of a nation. Education plays a fundamental role in developing human resources. Without education, human life is like a barren land that is unable in producing any kind of productions.
It is the prime responsibility of each government to provide educational facilities to its people. Article 25-A of the constitution of Pakistan says to give free education to children from age five to 16 years is the responsibility of the government. It also guarantees that all citizens have equal rights. If this the case why there is no uniformity in the education system of Pakistan? Why there are three different types of curriculum, one for the elite class and the other two for the poor? It is a fact that in the past educational policies in Pakistan were not made in favor of the majority. From this, it is clear the past regimes intentionally did not give attention to this crucial issue and they did not want to develop education in Pakistan. So we are still behind those countries which got independence after us.
Now the Single National Curriculum has been introduced in the primary section from class KG to five in two provinces of Pakistan which was a very long-standing issue and it is hoped that it will help us in controlling balkanization of our country. For this, we are very thankful to the present government for its marvelous achievement. We hope that this process will continue and phase-wise other sections such as middle, high, higher secondary, bachelor and degree level would be brought under the Single National Curriculum.
We also strongly believe that the same will be replicated very soon in other provinces too. This will lead us towards a new era and we achieve our collective goals within a very limited time.
Secondly, in government’s schools, there is well-qualified staff drawing enough salary per month from the government’s treasures being paid by Pakistani people in terms of various taxes. On the other hand, huge amounts are also being paid by us to private schools in terms of monthly tuition fees and annual admission fees. In both cases, money goes from the pocket of our people. So we want relief in one way or the other.
In government schools, there are subject teachers in high and middle levels appointed on a merit base. In the primary section, there is well-qualified staff too. They are performing their jobs in a better way. There are high-profile buildings along with well-equipped laboratories and libraries. There is a regular monitoring system in government schools. Textbooks have been improved and contents in all textbooks are knowledgeable and skillful.
In government schools, free of cost textbooks are being provided to the students from class KG to 10 and female students are also awarded monthly scholarships. Despite this enrollment in government schools is decreasing day by day which is alarming for us. On account of this our schooling system importunes to be shifted into a new paradigm.
I have no rich experience relating to education however I think there is something wrong with the education system. This needs to be addressed and modernized otherwise we cannot achieve the required objectives.
Secondly, our government schools must concentrate their attention on home school relationships to improve students’ learning. Durable and long life learning always depends on the effective and strong home-school relationship.
Thirdly, the existing home works styles need to be readdressed and innovatively must be adopted for it. Fourthly effective external as well as internal monitoring system consists of professionals must be introduced and current external monitoring system to be extended to the classroom level for the sake of better results.
Fifthly, our exams papers must be qualitative rather than quantitative and our current exam system needs to be revisited especially in classes 5 and 8. Papers for home exams in government schools are made centralized based but they also are checked in the same way.
Sixthly, multi-grade situations in the primary section to be replaced per class teacher. Seventhly all the teaching staff should be localized in the public interest. Teachers’ scales should not be a hindrance in the way of localization. For this purpose, all the education departments within a district need strong coordination with each other.
Eighthly all the government’s teachers must be bound to send their children to government’s schools only.
Ninthly, a huge amount must be allocated for school repair and maintenance. These funds should be given to the planning and development department or any other department to repair the concerned schools.
Lastly, as change agents we are more expectation from our teaching community that they will bring educational revolution across the country and InshaAllah we see a visible change very soon in each aspect.